Most of us fill regular water buckets in the pasture and in the barn with hoses, leaving the water there to stand stagnant when our horses aren’t actually drinking it.

The water in your horse’s bucket may look clean after a recent scrubbing and refill, but what you can’t see is the what’s brewing just at the surface. Mosquito eggs require standing water to hatch into larvae, and water buckets in your barn or your pasture provide an excellent breeding ground for this kind of activity.

An adult female mosquito lays up to 400 eggs in clusters, which float freely on the surface of standing water. All mosquitoes need is a teaspoon or a bottle cap of water to lay their eggs, which eventually develop into adult mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are not our friends, not to humans, nor horses. There’s a reason why we vaccinate our four-legged partners against disease like West Nile and Encephalitis, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal consequences if untreated. Mosquito-borne illnesses can be serious for dogs too. Did you know heartworm disease can be transmitted to cats and dogs by infected mosquitoes?

After the recent outbreak of the Zika virus in the U.S., the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that humans take precautions against mosquito bites in the warmer, wetter months, when mosquito activity is most prevalent. That includes wearing long-sleeve clothing, using DEET insect repellent, and, you guessed it, dumping standing water from flower pots and other materials around the home.

To protect our animals, we should be vigilant about stagnant water in and around our farms, too.

It’s 2018, and we’ve got better options for watering our horses these days. Like the Ritchie line of automatic waterers. The Ritchie waterer provide fresh, clean water to horses without attracting mosquitoes because the water is not standing still long enough for larvae to develop before its replaced with fresh supply.

These waterers are easy to set up, and your horse never has to wait for the trough to refill, like some other automatic waterers. It also means less work for you, to fill up and check water supply. Ritchie offers both heated and non-heated units under a 10-year warranty.