West Nile Virus
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus has been found in 43 states, and is responsible for over 4,000 human cases resulting in 284 deaths.
The virus is actually a disease of birds. Humans become infected when bitten by a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird. Over 140 species of birds have been afflicted and it is estimated by the CDC that over 1 million birds have died. Even the equine population faces a serious threat, with West Nile virus spreading west and affecting horses at a rapid rate (11,000 cases through December 2002).
With the recent confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in many areas around the U.S., it is important to have accurate information about the disease and how it is spread.
Myth: Mosquitoes will breed in an ornamental pond.
Fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control, mosquitoes breed in standing water. Standing water can be found in old tires, bird baths, pet dishes, the gutters on your home, unused pools or pool covers, etc.
Fact: Mosquitoes do not breed in moving water. We recommend that a recirculating pump of sufficient size be used in your pond or fountain. The small solar fountain pictured below requires no electrical wiring and is ideal for sunny locations. It can be found at: SiliconSolar.com
Fact: Goldfish eat mosquito larvae. If your pond does not have a recirculating pump, you can add a few goldfish. Note: if you have frogs and tadpoles in your pond, fish will eat the tadpoles.
Fact: There are simple and inexpensive products that will control mosquito populations. If your pond does not include fish, apply Mosquito Dunks to kill larvae. These are harmless to wildlife and last for 30 days or more per dunk. For these and other pond suppplies, check out http://pondbiz.com
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
Care & Cleaning of Water Fountains
Indoor fountains require less maintenance than outdoor fountains. Where a fountain is kept will have a lot to do with how often it should be cleaned. One of the best ways to keep a fountain clean is to run it.
The brass fountain head pictured above can be found at Arron's Outdoors Store.
Water evaporates as the the fountain runs and chlorinated tap water is usually used to replenish it. If you have hard water in your area, your fountain should be cleaned more often. It does not take much grit or scale to stall a pump's motor.
To clean your fountain:
- Unplug the pump's motor.
- Empty the reservoir and rinse out all debris.
- Disassemble the pump and flush it thoroughly with running water.
- Hard water scale deposits can be removed from the pump and most objects in your fountain by soaking them in Lime-a-Way or a similar descaling solution.
Bamboo Fountains - Deer Chaser
The shishi-odoshi or deer chaser was originally developed by Japanese farmers to scare off deer and boar from crops. Deer chasers were later used in Japanese gardens as their movement provided an element of change. As the water flows from the bamboo fountain, the knocking portion fills and spills the water creating a rhythmic knocking sound as it hits a rock thus chasing away unwanted animals. The bamboo deer chaser pictured above can be found at: www.garden-gifts.com
Also see Deer Resistant Garden