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    Don't let your yard become an oasis for mosquitoes.

  • Kirk Davies

Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, May. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 8CALIFORNIA LIFE
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 19, 2013 - 11:46 am


Conditions are ideal for something to start bugging you. Don't let your backyard become an oasis for mosquitoes.

Spring rains can create perfect conditions for these opportunistic critters.

Wet weather followed by very warm temperatures creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, according to the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District.

Remember to "drain after the rain."

"The latest rains have left stagnant water and it's important for everyone to do their part," said district manager David Brown. "Controlling mosquitoes now will go a long way later in the season, so we urge everyone to inspect their yard and dump out water from household containers such as buckets, flowerpots, birdbaths and old tires that may breed mosquitoes."

The problem will only get worse as the mercury rises.

"Hot temperatures accelerate the mosquito life cycle," Brown added, "so if you notice more mosquitoes during your outdoor morning or evening activities, please remember to protect yourself from bites by always wearing an effective mosquito repellent."

Warm weather also brings an increased risk of West Nile virus. Transmitted by mosquitoes that feed on infected birds, the disease has been established in the Sacramento area since 2004. In 2012, Sacramento County reported 30 human cases of West Nile virus; Yolo County had 10.

Keep an eye out by reporting all dead birds – especially crows, jays or magpies – and squirrels to the West Nile Hotline, (877) 968-2473, or online at

Abandoned pools are another major problem. To report stagnant water or mosquito-breeding issues, call (800) 429-1022 or click on


• Warm weather helps young plants get off to a fast start. Transplant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and squash seedlings. Make sure they get enough water, especially if temperatures heat up or if the soil is dried out by wind.

• Plant seeds for melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes and annual herbs such as basil. Keep soil moist (not wet) and they'll sprout quickly.

• Put your veggie garden on a regular diet. Set up a monthly feeding program, starting this weekend, and keep track on your calendar. Make sure to water your garden before applying any fertilizer to prevent "burning" your plants.

• In the flower garden, plant seeds for salvia, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, celosia and asters. You also can transplant seedlings for many of those same flowers.

Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

• Mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve moisture. Be sure to leave a small circle around the base of each plant to prevent rotting stems or trunks.

• For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

– Debbie Arrington

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