Every year from April 15 to Oct. 31, the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) treats storm inlets for mosquito larvae to reduce the number of mosquitoes and prevent the possible spread of West Nile and the Zika virus.
More than 4,000 storm inlets will be tested for mosquito larvae and treated. Follow @UtilityBuddy on Twitter to see where we've been and where we're going next.
The best defense is to protect yourself from mosquito bites and eliminate their breeding areas.
This means turning over or removing any container in your yard where rainwater collects, such as pots, plant trays, buckets, tires, or toys. Eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats, tarps, and lawn furniture.
Empty and refresh bird baths once a week and clean roof gutters and downspots where water might pool.
Clear obstructions in ditches and creeks so they can flow and drain. Fill in puddles with soil, sand or gravel. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a teaspoon of standing water and can detect human breathe from 75 feet away. Only the females bite as they need a blood diet to breed.
Wear long, loose, and light colored clothing and use insect repellent products with at least 50 percent DEET for adults and 30 percent for children. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, but the mosquitoes who carry Zika virus bite during the day.
Bug (yellow) lights do not kill mosquitoes, but mosquitoes are less attracted to yellow light. Fans blowing on you while you are in the yard or deck will keep mosquitoes away as they are weak fliers. Citronella candles offer no more protection than any other candle. Bug zapper lights also make little significant difference. Given the choice between a bug zapper light and a human, the mosquito will always head for the human.
And don’t scare away the bats as they can swallow 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes an hour while in flight.
DPU treats all the storm sewers and catch basins within the city with non-toxic sprays which are safe for humans and pets and have been approved for use in storm sewers by the Virginia Department of Health.