It’s summer. It’s mosquito season again, and zika and aedes aegypti are upon us. Aedes aegypti is the aggressive gal with the white stripes on the legs that goes after you in broad daylight. And your pets, and it can spread heart worm in addition to zika, equine encephalitis, Nile fever, and a host of other tropical wonders. Mosquito control is an important first step to prevention of these diseases.
Norfolk City Health Department stopped by to check standing water and conduct homeowner mosquito control training. Just a few days before, I had bought a new paddle pool for the greyhounds so health department’s visit was timely.
Aedes aegypti can breed in any amount of stagnant water that sits undisturbed for more than 4 days. These beasts will breed indoors so change flower vase water, out of the way dog bools, etc. Some breeding grounds found in suburban environments include the following.
- The pet’s paddle pool
- Outdoor pet water buckets
- Flower vases
- That rain barrel you’re so proud of (fish are the answer here)
- Dog poo bin lids
- Anything concave up that can hold water, pie tins, flower pot saucers, left out dishes, bin lids lying on the ground.
- Upside down stuff that has troughs that can hold water, for example, a flower pot in storage.
- Livestock troughs for horses, chickens etc. Even if filled by a float valve. Drain ’em and refill. Rain barrel fish may work here also. Just as long as Dobbin is not carnivorous. Will chooks go after mosquito larvae, Cousin Sandy?
To break the breeding cycle, empty each vessel every 4 days, say Sunday after church and Wednesday after work. Just dump and refill if needed. Dump any container seen with standing water in it..
Now that the addition and kitchen are finished, it was time to tackle the side yard. Construction left the grade a mess, clay subsoil to deal with, and a general muddy mess. Local landscaping company Gardens by Oz built a paver walk under the carport canopy, added a paver pad for the wheelie bins, a small raised bed, and fixed the grade and sodded the area chewed up by the construction.
A three man crew did the predatory work, laid the new hardscape, and mulched the back bed in about 4 hours. The first thing they did was to break up the clay by roto-tilling. They raked out the clay using the excess to fill some low spots. Next they tilled in top soil and composted cow manure.
New Bed and Hardscape
They dug out footprints for the hardscape and edged bed, laid pavers and reused some legacy pavers scattered randomly about the place by the beloved former owner. They planted dwarf gardenia, rosemary, and variegated liriope in the bed.
After 2 days of rain, a crew of four returned to lay the sod. This took about an hour. I have to water every other day or so. The sod is a mix of fescues that grows well in the North Carolina low country. It was important to sod the area because the greyhound traffic is high here and Missy is fond of digging nests. She doesn’t dig turf. The sod has been down for a week. It should be well established by Thanksgiving.
How Much Water?
My landscaper suggested a good way to put down the proper amount of water. Set out a pie tin in the sprinkler pattern. Water until the pie tin is full. That’s about an inch. Once the sod is established, a 1 inch watering each week is good. While the sod is taking, an inch every other day is good. The idea is to promote sod root growth into the topsoil below. Once that is achieved (about 2-3 weeks), the sod needs its weekly inch.