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Learn to control mosquitoes at home

Just when you thought the weather warmed enough to start enjoying the great outdoors, something sinister takes all of the fun from being outside ... mosquitoes!

Many people find the cold weather isn't a walk in the park, but at least it keeps bugs at bay. Once the weather warms, those biting flies, no-see-ums and other pests start hatching and wreaking havoc. One of the more prolific pains in the neck, arms, legs - wherever else they can bite you - are mosquitoes.

Some of the best ways to prevent attacks is by limiting the number of mosquitoes around - which means eliminating breeding grounds. Mosquitoes like standing water in which to lay their eggs. These are good places to start.

* Find standing water. Eliminate all sources of standing water. This can include flower pots, children's toys, unused tires, pool floats - anywhere that has a depression that can collect water. Even uneven areas of the lawn can provide a cozy spot for water to congregate.

* Clean gutters. Water trapped in gutters due to debris is a prime spot for mosquitoes to land and lay eggs.

* Move pond water. A water pump that produces a fountain effect or simply circulates water around in a pond prevents standing water from occurring.

* Treat mosquito haunts. Carports and other shaded overhangs are prime roosts for mosquitoes. A bug zapper or other repellent in that area can eradicate a few of them.

* Investigate BTI. BTI or, bacillus thuringensis, is a natural organism that can be put into places where mosquitoes normally breed. The larvae consume the BTI, and it kills them before they can turn into full-grown mosquitoes. BTI, sometimes called "Mosquito Dunks," is sold most commonly in doughnut-shaped briquettes that can be placed around the landscape. They're nontoxic and safe for wildlife, but not recommended in water used for human consumption.

* Explore mosquito predators. While it's not wise to overrun a property with mosquito predators that may get out of control, a few well-placed foes of the blood-suckers may do the trick. Here are some insects and small animals that feast on mosquitoes:

- water fowl and other birds

- dragonflies

- mosquitofish (dine on larvae)

- guppies

- bats

Attract these predators to the yard, and there may be an all-natural mosquito control available.

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