June 4, 1996
HEAVY RAINS PROVIDE IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR MOSQUITOES
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Heavy rains experienced throughout Illinois this spring
have provided ideal conditions for the breeding of large numbers of vicious
These mosquitoes, commonly called floodwater or temporary pool mosquitoes,
generally are not disease carriers, but can be a nuisance. Large numbers of
floodwater mosquitoes emerge about two weeks after heavy rains and can fly up
to 20 miles from where they hatch, particularly along prevailing winds.
The mosquitoes are attracted to people by carbon dioxide and perspiration.
They have a peak biting time of just after sunset and again just before dawn,
but will feed anytime in or near wooded areas if disturbed.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said the following are
ways people can protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite.
- Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Long-sleeved tops and long pants made of tightly
woven materials keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Be sure, too, that clothing
is light colored. Keep trouser legs tucked into boots and socks.
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure
and to protect small babies.
- Check to see your mosquito repellent contains DEET, a chemical commonly
found in these products. Generally, repellents with about 30 percent DEET work
best for adults; use lower concentrations for children. When outdoors, apply
repellent sparingly to exposed skin or clothing, as indicted on the product's
Dr. Lumpkin also noted the best defense against these pests and other kinds
of mosquitoes is to eliminate places where they breed. He suggested the
- Remove or empty water in old tires, tin cans, buckets or other places where
mosquitoes may breed. Be sure to check clogged gutters and flat roofs that may
have poor drainage.
- Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store inside when not
- Change the water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays at least once a
- Store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly.
- Empty your pet's water bowl daily.
- Level the ground around your home so water can run off and not collect in
low spots. Fill in holes or depressions near your home that accumulate water.
- Clear weeds, branches and other debris from ditches so they drain properly.
- Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.
- If you have an ornamental water garden or pond, stock it with fish, such as
minnows, goldfish or guppies, that eat mosquito larvae.
- Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady
places to rest during the hot daylight hours.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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