The bad news is that the last functioning Mosquito Research Control Unit airplane skidded off the airport runway yesterday causing damage to the plane and making it useless in the fight against mosquitoes.
The even worse news is that we’re in the rainy season in the Cayman Islands where spurts of showers lead to puddles of standing water.
The good news is that we, individually and collectively, can take things in our own hands to stop the growth and spread of mosquitoes while MRCU awaits its two new state-of-the art airplanes.
If you’ve got an extra can of mosquito repellent stowed away in your hurricane supply kit, fetch it.
Repellent should contain DEET, but users should avoid applying high concentrations to the skin, especially of children.
Use repellents sparingly and never on wounds or irritated skin. Repellent should be washed off after going indoors.
Always wear long sleeve shirts and pants during hours of peak mosquito activity.
There are also other ways to win the fight against mozzies.
Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than two days.
Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.
Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week.
Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar.
Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools and septic tanks.
Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.
Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarp to drain the water.
Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems.
Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes.
We wish MRCU Godspeed in getting the new planes landed in the Cayman Islands.
Until then, we can all do our part to help control and rid our country of mosquitoes.