Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fight Mosquitoes, Build a Bat House

Bats are the single most important controller of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes. A single brown bat can catch and eat up to 600 mosquitos an hour! And it's fun to watch bats flying around the yard catching bugs. So help prevent West Nile Virus by inviting some bats to police your yard.

You can attact bats to your yard by building them a house on a pole at least 15 feet high in a spot that receives sun most of the day. Bat houses installed on poles are easier for bats to locate, have greater occupancy rates and are chosen two and a half times more often than bat houses mounted in trees. Mama bats like very warm houses to raise their babies, so that's why a sunny location is important. Bat houses have open bottoms to prevent guano from accumulating. Avoid placing your bat house above windows, doors, decks or walkways because guano may accumulate on the ground underneath. A potted plant or tray under a bat house will collect bat guano for use as fertilizer. Use shallow trays or buckets with mesh over them to prevent baby bats who fall out of the bat house from being trapped inside.

Every spring, clean out your bat house and get it ready for summer

Afraid of bats? You shouldn't be. The story that they get stuck in your hair is not true. Bats can catch a mosquito flying in an erratic pattern through the air, so they're unlikely to accidentally collide with a human head.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mosquito Season Has Begun

The 2013 mosquito season began April 16. We'll be spraying larvicide in Highland Park, Ginter Park, Battery Park, Azalea, Westminster, Windsor Farms, the West End, Oregon Hill, Randolph, The Fan, Maymont Park, City Stadium, Fairfield, Mosby, Church Hill, Fulton, Shockoe, Willow Lawn, Northside, and Southside! We move from neighborhood to neighborhood every 30-45 days in that order.

Mosquito season ends Oct. 31. Watch us treat a storm drain!
Focus areas are storm drains, parks and easements where there's standing water where mosquitos leave their eggs. You can help by clearing and emptying all vessels containing standing water from your property.

All mosquitoes must have water in which to complete their life cycle, any kind of water from melted snow to sewage effluent, wherever they can find it. They lay their eggs in tree holes that periodically hold water, tide water pools, sewage effluent ponds, irrigation ditches, rain water ponds, a empty flower pot or upside down trash can lid you might have left in your yard.  

Only the adult females bite humans and animals. The male mosquitoes feed only on plant juices. 
Most female mosquitoes have to get a sufficient blood meal before they can lay eggs. 

Most mosquitoes stay within a mile or two of where they hatched. 
The length of life of the adult mosquito usually depends on several factors: temperature, humidity, sex of the mosquito and time of year. Most males live a very short time, about a week; and females live about a month depending on the above factors.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stormwater Credits! Everything You Need to Know

The Stormwater Utility offers customers the opportunity to receive a reduction in their stormwater fee. Customers who reduce stormwater runoff or who improve the quality of the stormwater runoff from their property to the Richmond stormwater system and/or the surrounding water bodies by installing "green practices" will qualify for the credit.

Get started!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April is Safe Digging Month

April 2013 was the sixth annual National Safe Digging Month, reminding Richmond residents to always call 811 before any digging project.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Miss Utility, the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. 

Did you know every eight minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first calling 811?

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after a call to 811.
The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists.

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities encourages area residents to pledge to call 811 before digging by visiting www.the811promise.com. For more information about 811, visit  www.call811.com.

Fix a Leak Week Winners

DPU employee Lisa Eggleston (right) presents a DPU gift bag to the son of Louise Jasper Johnson who submitted 10 tips for saving water for the Fix a Leak Week contest.

Audrey Freeman Jacobs water conservation tip was to use toilets that flush differently for liquid and solid wastes.