Recent rains have left standing water in yards throughout the county. From empty flower pots to barrels and even children's toys, the standing water can bring about some critters.
County officials take measures to prevent the increase of the mosquito population, and they insist that homeowners have a responsibility to do the same.
"We do not spray chemicals in Columbia County, but instead use an environmentally-friendly larvicide in the county retention ponds and other standing bodies of water where mosquitoes may breed," said Pam Tucker, the county's Emergency and Operations director. "This is a pellet that kills the larvae before mosquitoes (emerge) and is totally safe to the water."
Tucker said county officials recommend that pond owners distribute the pellets, which can be purchased at nurseries, in their ponds to help control the mosquito population.
Though the county can't take control of every mosquito, officials say there are measures that homeowners can take to diminish the bug population, including emptying standing water that has collected in buckets, cans, bottles, wading pools, children's toys, tarps, boats, flower pots, trash cans and rain barrels.
County Environmental Health Specialist Robert Thornhill said mosquito larvae also can breed in wagons, wheelbarrows, tires, tree and root holes, air conditioner drain areas, hubcaps, pet water bowls, blocked gutters and plastic drain pipes.
"These sites are the responsibility of the home/property owners," states a homeowner's guide provided by Thornhill. "Use the 'tip or toss' method. Tip or toss the containers not needed. Be responsible!"
Tom Holloway, the interim Columbia County Roads and Bridges manager, said mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as one-eighth to one-fourth inch of water.
Getting rid of standing water is imperative in preventing the proliferation of mosquitoes. Adult mosquitoes can be controlled by fogging, which is less effective than using larvicide, Holloway said.
Fogging last for only a while, so the best way to reduce mosquitoes is to get rid of standing water where they might breed.
"If standing water stays out there for a few weeks, then it provides the perfect environment for mosquitoes to lay eggs," Holloway said. "Canvass your backyard and around your shop or any area where water might be standing."
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