These days, the risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease is no longer limited to people living in tropical and/or impoverished areas where mosquito populations are at their most diverse and abundant. The Zika virus epidemics that occurred during 2015 and 2016 showed Americans that mosquito-borne disease outbreaks can occur in any highly populated region. This is especially true today when global travel and increased international trade transport disease-carrying insects to new regions all over the world. Due to the increased concern among public health professionals regarding the potential for mosquito-borne disease outbreaks in the western world, numerous researchers have been working to develop next generation methods of reducing mosquito populations within or near populated areas. Many of these new cutting-edge mosquito control techniques are complicated and well beyond the understanding of the average American citizen, but public health officials insist that there are plenty of mosquito-control methods that can and should be practiced by members of the general public. For example, if everyone in America made sure that their property is always free of all forms of standing water, the rate of mosquito-borne disease cases would decrease. Unfortunately, many American citizens are skeptical that such practices could have any beneficial impact on the state of public health. Due to this belief, as well as many other factors, many people do not think twice about how they can personally contribute to the mosquito control effort. However, a study conducted in Indonesia found that community efforts alone can reduce mosquito populations.
Several years ago, public health professionals educated all members of a small community in Indonesia about what they could do to reduce mosquito populations in their region. For a period of six months residents practiced mosquito-control methods that included making sure no standing water remained on their property, covering buckets or pans of water while being used, and consistently removing water-retaining garbage from their homes and yards. At the end of the six month period, the amount of mosquito specimens collected from designated sites were far fewer in number than the amount of specimens collected when the community mosquito-control campaign began. Considering that this community effort to reduce mosquito populations proved a success in a region where mosquitoes are particularly abundant, similar community efforts would go a particularly long way in North America where the largely temperate climate keeps mosquito populations relatively low.
Do you consider your own personal efforts to reduce the mosquito population by removing standing water sites within your yard to be worth your time?