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Expert Offers Mosquito Prevention Tips

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A number of local municipalities have been conducting spraying operations to knock down mosquito populations. But an expert says that, for efforts to be most effective, mosquito control should begin at home.

"So right now, we're right at the peak season," said Dina Fonseca, Director of the Center for Vector Biology at Rutgers University.

She says our houses and yards offer excellent nurseries for so-called "urban mosquito species."

According to Fonseca, the first step in preventing mosquitoes from breeding in your backyard is to know your enemy.

The Culex Mosquito, which can transmit West Nile virus, lays little rafts of eggs in water that accumulates in places like recycling buckets and plant saucers.

"Remove the saucer, or turn it upside down, so there's no accumulation of water. That's a huge source of these urban mosquitoes," advised Fonseca.

Other species lay eggs on the sides of containers, where they can lie dormant for months.

"The Yellow Fever mosquito, the Asian Tiger mosquito, not only do you have to have to empty the container, you have to scrub the insides of the containers, because that's where the eggs are, if you want to minimize the likelihood that you're going to have larvae developing," Fonseca said.

Another breeding ground lurks in those flexible rainwater diversion pipes.

"We found that every single one of those little indentations in the corrugated part can have have hundreds of larvae, primarily the Asian Tiger Mosquito," said Fonseca.

But, Fonseca says, that's easily fixed.

"It's not rocket science. Mosquito control for these urban mosquitoes that only lay eggs in artificial containers in our backyards is about removing that kind of habitat," she explained.

Fonseca says by making consistent, small efforts, you can help reduce the likelihood of a big problem.

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