Standing water around the home
Standing water around the home

What You Need to Know: Mosquitoes Love Standing Water

Author: Public Health Department
Date: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 7:50 AM

Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance—they can spread serious disease. Fighting them can be as simple as dumping out standing water around your house.


When we talk about mosquitoes from a public health perspective, one fact stands out: Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance. They can spread serious diseases like West Nile, Zika and Dengue.

Another fact is just as important: mosquitoes love standing water. Without it, they can't breed and spread disease in large numbers.

By eliminating standing water around your home, you can play a powerful role in keeping yourself, your family, your pets, and your neighbors safe from mosquito-borne disease.

This is more important than ever as the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the invasive mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika virus, move closer to San Luis Obispo County. These mosquitoes have not yet been detected in SLO County, although our area lies within the predicted range of both species.

Even more than other species, Aedes mosquitoes tend to live around people and breed in standing water around the home. They can breed in very small amounts of water—think a bottle cap or the saucer under a plant—in just a few days. Vector control technicians in other areas where the Aedes mosquitoes have been detected have even found their larvae in the water reservoirs of home coffee makers.  

The good news is that low-tech solutions make a big difference in preventing a mosquito population boom and staying safe from disease. Your role is simple: protect yourself, protect your home, and help eliminate the standing water mosquitoes love so much.   

Protect yourself and your family:

  • Apply a repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow label directions for safety and maximum effectiveness. (This includes special directions for kids.)
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Protect your home:

  • Check and repair all screens and screen doors to keep mosquitoes out of your house.

Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home:

  • Dump standing water around your yard. Look for buckets, flowerpots, trash cans, patio furniture covers and other hidden areas where water can collect. (Kids are great detectives—engage them as water-dumping heroes in the yard.)
  • Clear roof gutters so water can drain properly.
  • Drain and scrub bird baths, fountains, pet dishes and other water sources at least once a week.

For updates and more resources on preventing mosquito breeding around your home, visit slocounty.ca.gov/mosquito.