+—It may be frosty now, but mosquito season is just around the corner. The season starts in April with warmer weather, but some residents are already worried about the critters.
Santiago Lakatos, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in DC, shared on Twitter his communication with the National Park Service about a pool of stagnant water in a fountain at Malcolm X Park. The Park Service is responsible for Malcolm X Park, also known as Meridian Hill Park. An NPS spokesperson tells Washingtonian the agency has done an assessment but hasn’t been able to drain it yet.
Fun fact: I told @RockCreekNPS about the same issue 3 weeks ago and they still haven’t done anything!
— Santiago Lakatos (@Santi4DC) March 6, 2023
Mosquitoes breed in pools like the one Lakatos identified, says Joy McFarlane-Mills, a supervisory biologist at the DC Department of Health. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near water, and as the water warms up the eggs begin to hatch. After they hatch, it takes about two weeks before the larvae mature enough to leave the water. Understandably, Lakatos is anxious to drain the water to avoid an even more atrociously buggy summer for residents.
DC employs several methods to keep the size of the mosquito population at bay. The health department works with residents to minimize breeding grounds by encouraging residents to avoid stagnant water on their property and to spray insecticide if needed.
For public property not under the control of the National Park Service, the health department also sprays drains during the larval stage so mosquitoes die before they mature. However, McFarlane-Mills says the department doesn’t aim to eradicate the population, which is occurs naturally. Spraying to kill adult mosquitoes can also be harmful to asthmatic people, among others.
If you see any stagnant pools of water, a.k.a. breeding grounds for the bloodsuckers, you can report it to DC’s mosquito hotline at 202-442-5833 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.