Mosquitoes are not only annoying, they bite, and can also transmit diseases such as West Nile virus. Reduce your chances of getting bitten by eliminating mosquito-breeding sites around your home. Mosquitoes need water and warm weather to reproduce and grow. any container that can hold even a small volume of standing water for a few days can be a breeding site. Before they can lay eggs, female mosquitoes must feed on human or other animal blood. Once fed females lay either single eggs or a cluster of eggs, called a “raft”, in stagnant water or wet soil. Eggs then hatch into larvae, or “wigglers”. Larvae live in water, frequently coming up to the surface to get air through a breathing tube. Larvae develop into pupae and finally transform into adults, the only stage that lives out of water. In summer, the life cycle can be completed in a week or less depending on water temperature. To eliminate sites where mosquitoes can develop in your yard: Dump water in containers such as garden pots, buckets and barrels and store them upside down. Empty water in toys, wagons, and wading pools. Drain neglected swimming pools and spas, or cover them. Drain or keep water circulating in fountains. Change water frequently in bird baths, watering troughs, and pet dishes. Plug up tree holes. Clean debris from roof gutters, street gutters, or catch basins. Dispose of old tires. For stagnant pools, or water gardens that you don’t want to drain, use Bacillus thuringiensis or “Bt” products such as mosquito dunks, plunks or bits, to kill mosquito larvae, or contact your local Mosquito and Vector Control District about providing mosquito-eating fish. To learn more about protecting yourself against mosquitoes and West Nile virus visit the UC IPM website, or contact your local Mosquito and Vector Control District.