FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- As the weather gets warmer and mosquito season draws near, it's important to think prevention.

Mosquitoes can be a bothersome pest during backyard barbeques, yard work, or lounging around outside so don't let mosquitoes ruin your ability to enjoy the outdoors this summer.

Since you can prevent mosquitoes from breeding, you can help create a healthier environment to enjoy the outdoors.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Some mosquitoes such as the Culex species, which can carry West Nile virus (WNV), lay rafts of eggs on still water in both natural and manmade containers.

"Our on-post residents can significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes in their backyards just by dumping out anything that collects rainwater," said CPT Reema R. Sikka, GLWACH's chief of Preventive Medicine.

The Aedes species, some of which can carry Zika Virus, are capable of breeding in less than an ounce of water. Such locations that may accumulate these small amounts of water include gutters, pet water bowls, and non-chlorinated swimming pools.

Take these easy steps to help prevent these pests from breeding in your neighborhood:

1. Keep your gutters clean so water doesn't sit stagnant between rains. If you believe your gutters are clogged, contact your maintenance contractor to submit a work order.

2. Feed and water your pets indoors.

3. Empty small outside water reservoirs such as flower pot drainage trays daily.

If you follow these simple tips and educate your neighbors you can prevent mosquitos from becoming bothersome pests in your neighborhood and enjoy the outdoors with fewer mosquitoes throughout the summer.

(Editor's note: 1st Lt. Jacob C. Pinion is chief of Environmental Health at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)