OTHER PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Any steps you take to reduce your horse’s exposure to mosquitoes will help to reduce the threat of EEE and WEE.
• Reduce or eliminate standing water. Dispose of old tires and other trash or debris that collects rainwater. Keep garbage cans covered, and take unused buckets inside. Overturn wheelbarrows or prop them against walls when not in use. If you place tarps over unused trailers, boats or other vehicles, make sure water is not collecting in their folds. Also keep your gutters and drainage ditches unclogged and flowing freely, and make sure persistent puddles are not forming under downspouts or dripping faucets.
• Change your animals’ drinking water regularly. Empty and provide
fresh, clean water in buckets as well as birdbaths and drinking bowls for dogs and cats every few days. Changing water in larger troughs at least once a week will prevent any hatched mosquito larvae from reaching maturity.
• Use larvicidal products. If standing water is difficult to change or remove, consider using larvicidal products. Many contain Bti--- Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, a bacterium that produces toxins that kill mosquito larvae in water. These products are not toxic to people or other animals, but check with your veterinarian for recommendations on specific products that are safe for use in water your horse will drink.
• Encourage predators. Fish, dragonflies, birds and other predators will feed on both larvae and adult mosquitoes in and around healthy natural ponds and streams. If natural water sources on your property are producing too many mosquitoes, talk to your local extension agent for advice on how to reduce stagnation and boost the numbers of beneficial species.
• Apply repellents and protective garments. Read the label to make sure your fly spray also works against mosquitoes, then be diligent in applying repellents and using other measures, such as fly sheets, to protect your horse, especially if his pasture lies close to prime mosquito habitat. Although some more robust mosquito species may disperse as far as seven miles, most fly no more than two or three miles from their point of hatching. Also apply repellents before trail rides, especially if you’re heading into the woods or near wetlands.
• Keep horses inside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Install fine screens over barn windows to help keep mosquitoes out, and place fans where they will keep the air moving through stalls. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, and even a mild breeze will keep them grounded.