Vector Control Tips

A message from The Department of Health and Wellness in collaboration with The Saint Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority.

 

The public is encouraged to take the necessary precautions to rid their home and property of vectors such as mosquitoes and rats. Here are a few tips:

  • Do you have standing water around your home? Mosquitoes lay their eggs in anything that holds water. They need as little as a bottle cap filled with water to lay eggs; therefore, eliminating standing water around the home can prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs and rid your homes from large numbers of mosquitoes.

  • Mosquitoes are more active at dusk and dawn, but always keep in mind that they come around during the day as well. Always use your repellant as it can help in reducing the risk of getting chikungunya, dengue fever and zika.

  • Make sure to wear protective clothing to reduce your chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes especially during dusk and dawn, as these are the times that they are most active.

  • Mosquitoes will lay eggs in various vessels, no matter the size of the container. As long as there is standing water, mosquito numbers will increase. Ensure that all containers are properly covered with mosquito-proof screens to prevent access.

  • Mosquito activity increases during dusk and dawn and during that time, they will enter your home. So, to reduce the influx of mosquitoes in the home, ensure that all windows and doors are screened properly.

  • Did you know that mosquitoes will lay their eggs in broken septic tanks? If your septic tank is defective or has a crack and there is standing water in there, mosquitoes will find their way in to lay their eggs. Therefore, regularly inspect tanks in search of defects and ensure tanks are tightly sealed and repair any visible cracks or openings.

  • How can we reduce the number of old tires around the house? How about filling them with soil to do vegetable gardens or plant flowers. They can also be transported to Deglos Sanitary Landfill or Vieux-Fort Solid Waste Management Facility. These actions can prevent mosquitoes from laying in them.

  • Mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as a teaspoon of water. They will also use tree holes and flowers like bromeliads or puddles after heavy rainfall. Fill drains, treat tree holes and flower vases or puddles to reduce mosquito infestation in homes or communities.

  • Poorly disposed garbage can also attract pests, scavengers and vectors like rats and mosquitoes. To avoid them from accessing the garbage, ensure proper sanitation while using tightly covered bins for garbage disposal; especially in urban areas.

  • Mosquitoes and rats find hide out in tall vegetation and come out when they are ready to feed. Doing regular maintenance in keeping vegetation low will prevent hiding places for adult mosquitoes and rats. Trim vegetation to allow daylight in and remove hiding places for rats.

  • Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid places like under the sink, in closets, under furniture, or in the laundry room. Declutter and allow air and sunlight inside to keep mosquitoes away.

  • Roof gutters are usually one of the places that we neglect to inspect for mosquito breeding. Regularly inspect your roof gutter at least once a month to reduce mosquito breeding and also keep monitoring the flow of water coming from the downspout. Doing this would give you a determination whether or not it could be clogged and require attention.

 

TIPS FOR GETTING RID OF RATS

  • Make sure food is stored properly in containers if possible so rats would have no access to them. Eliminate potential food sources. Make sure to store dry foods in tightly sealed containers to prevent rats and mice from getting access to it.

  • After pet feeding, be sure to get rid/store food in a proper area where it will not be accessible for rats as it can be an attractant for them. Always use a pet dish, ensuring that you clean them out after every use.

  • Keep bins closed! Place garbage in a bin with a tight-fitting lid to prevent dogs, cats, and rats from entering them or cover any household waste where rats can get access to it. Regularly clean out your bins to reduce the smell of decomposition which will attract pests.

  • Did you know that rats can enter a space as small as ¼ of an inch? Make sure to repair all holes the size of ¼ around doors and windows because if the rats head enters, the whole body goes through since the skull is very flexible.

  • Do not leave unattended food on counters/tables, as we know rats are good climbers and they will be able to access any uncovered or unattended food that is being made available.

  • Cut all hanging branches and overgrown vegetation. Trim trees, bushes and vines at least 4” away from the roof.

  • Stack woodpiles, lumber, and household items at least 18” above the ground and 12” away from fences and walls, as these can be areas of harborage for rats.

  • Repair broken or open building sewers to prevent sewer rats infesting property from broken or open sewers, which connect to the main sanitary sewer where they may live.

  • Use sheet metal edging along door bottoms to prevent entry and gnawing by rats.

  • Declutter and clean! Keep clutter to a minimum and move objects away from walls to ensure you can check what is hiding behind them. Less clutter means fewer places for rats and mice to hide.

  • Using rodenticide or rat poison around your property can be unsafe for children, pets and other animals like birds. Use a traditional rat trap to rid your property of rats and mice. These can be purchased in local hardware stores.

  • Make vector control a part of your daily life, regularly inspect your property for signs of mosquitoes or rats. Minimize breeding grounds around your home by reducing the things that will attract them, such as, correct garbage disposal or limit plants such as wild bromeliads that collect water.

  • Rats are always in search of warm, dry harborages and new food sources, particularly during periods of inclement weather. Know the tell-tale signs that can indicate the presence of a rat or rats on your property like

    • Rats have an extraordinarily strong ammonia smell.

    • Droppings/excretion

    • Footprints

    • Damage to your food or property

  • Use natural predators for preying on rats and mice. Cats are a natural predator for rats and mice. We must remember to allow cats to go hunting and do not overfeed them or feed them too late that they sleep when they should be hunting.

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