Mosquito protection is not easy, but you can help by getting your kids involved in controlling mosquitoes. There are some easy actions you can take during fall and winter to keep these insects down and to prepare for next year. However, it is not always easy to get your children to buy into the whole mosquito control thing. Why? Because they think it’s an adult thing – nothing to do with them.
How Children Can Help With Mosquito Control
Show them different – get them involved. You can do this is a number of ways, but the best way to get them involved in controlling mosquitoes is to show them the problems – and then show them how they can help. Kids love to help mom and dad if they are shown how.
What Mosquito Bites Can Do: First show them what mosquito bites can do. Get them to buy into the whole mosquito control thing. You don’t need to use words like ‘kill’ or ‘destroy’ if you don’t want to. ‘Control’ is fine. Explain to them that mosquito bites can make them really ill, not just very itchy. Then tell them that ‘we’ are going to find out how to stop them getting into their yard. First explain that mosquitoes breed anywhere there is water around.
The Pond: If you have a pond you can explain that mosquitoes can breed in ponds. They lay their eggs on the surface, and when the eggs hatch the larvae wriggle about under the water. Show them pictures of these larvae so your children know they are not just like little fish – they are ‘horrible!’ Then tell them that fish like to eat them. Take them out shopping and let them choose some fish to stock the pond with. Then let them put the fish into the pond. Explain that fish are the best for mosquito control in the ponds.
The Containers: Show then tin cans, old tires, fountains, bird baths and even the toys they left lying out. Show them how water collects in these and that mosquitoes can breed there. Let your kids empty out all the water and clean up the containers. Tell them that keeping the yard free of these will control mosquitoes by giving them nowhere to breed. Explain breeding any way you want!
Drains and Downpipes: Show them the drains with standing water down there; downpipes with water lying behind and perhaps even in the bottom of them. Show then how to clean these out so mosquitoes cannot breed. Hey – you could even pay them to do it! Just a few dollars, but you can be sure that your mosquito population next spring will be much lower than this year!
Yard Cleanliness: Explain to your children that cleanliness in the yard is very important. You could explain about how mosquitoes can live and hide in long grass and uncontrolled shrubbery. They can even breed in spaces between paths and walls, or even in holes in trees. Ask then to look for places such as these where water can lie around for a few days Show them round all these places in your yard and how if they were cleaned up there would be no mosquitoes next spring.
Making Mosquito Prevention a Game
Kids love this sort of thing. Simply tell them to get the yard cleaned up and they will ignore you or find a reason not to do it. Make it a game, or even better, a day out with mom and dad in the yard learning about mosquitoes, and then they will love it.
More importantly – they will remember it and do it with their own kids when they grow up. Turn any difficult task into a game or important time with their parents, and then children will love it. Try it with mosquito control – surprise yourself, and them!