Recent rains have caused grass and weeds to grow fast and have turned some back yard pools into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Code enforcement has received a high volume of complaints, but Community Development Director Jessica Scott said it takes everyone in town working together to keep lawns mowed — thus preventing a breeding ground for mosquitoes, mice and other assorted vermin.
“The weeds are really bad this year. They’re all over town and they just keep growing,” Scott said. “But if we don’t start mowing we’re going to have mosquitoes, and then we’ll get field mice which will bring the snakes.”
Scott said another problem that comes with the tall grass and weeds are the trimmings that end up in the street. This is against city ordinance and Scott explained why it’s so important to keep yard trimmings out of the road.
“It gets in our stormwater system and can block it up so that it doesn’t drain properly. Then when we do have rain, it can be like driving through a lake,” Scott said. “Once it gets in there it starts to rot and attracts mosquitoes and other vermin. It’s detrimental to everyone when that happens.”
Scott said another major source of mosquitoes comes from stagnant backyard pools and other bodies of water.
“All it takes is one green pool in your neighborhood, and the mosquitoes are so bad you can’t go outside,” Scott said. She added that empty tubs which have accumulated rain water are another major problem. “It’s a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
Scott urged anyone who sees any green pools to turn them into code enforcement. The property owner will have 10 days to take care of the situation, but in the meantime the city can at least stop mosquitoes from growing.
“All the code enforcement officers carry mosquito dunks, so that way if we come upon a green pool or a body of water that’s breeding mosquitoes, we can go ahead and treat it right then,” Scott said. She added the city is also driving through town spraying for mosquitoes at dawn and dusk.
Lorraine Acevedo, local emergency response coordinator with the Carter County Health Department, reinforced Scott’s statement about standing bodies of water.
“Just make sure you drain any standing water that you have so mosquitoes are not able to lay their eggs,” Acevedo said. “If you can’t throw it out, you can use mosquito dunks which is a larvicide.”
Acevedo said that there have been no locally reported cases of illness this year caused by mosquitoes, however the busiest season for insects is typically June to August. She added last year cases of mosquito illnesses such as West Nile were down in Oklahoma and this year they may be even lower.
“The type of mosquito that we usually get, which is the kind that transmits West Nile, it actually likes hotter dryer weather,” Acevedo said. She said the heavy rains in the area this year might lead to that particular species of the insect to be less populous. But it’s always best to be vigilant.
“The best thing to do is to cover your skin,” Acevedo said. “We recommend that you wear long sleeves and pants when you’re outside, and try to avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn. That’s when mosquitoes are the most active.”
She said when the weather is too hot for long sleeves and pants to always use some type of insect repellent.
“We mainly recommend that you use DEET. You can also use pinardin which is also pretty good,” Acevedo said. She said those that like to use a natural repellent should use oil of lemon eucalyptus but stressed that it needs to be the pure essential oil.
Acevedo said one the best ways to avoid mosquitoes is to prevent them from being around you altogether — that is to drain or treat standing bodies of water where mosquitoes lay their eggs. Here is where code enforcement can step in if a neighbor’s yard is a problem. To inform code enforcement about tall grass, stagnant pools, or any other possibly code violations within the City of Ardmore, contact the Ardmore Community Development Department at (580) 223-3477.