Ditching and mosquitoes

How do I know if the ditch in my yard is Virginia Department property?

If VDOT performs the paving and snow removal on your road, it is VDOT-maintained. Therefore, the ditch next to the road along the front of your home is also VDOT’s responsibility.

What do I do if I have a problem with water that is standing in my ditches?

First, see if there is anything you can do to get the water draining properly. It could be as simple as removing grass, leaves and other materials that are blocking drainage pipes. If the water is less than six inches deep and is gone in a week or less, there is no cause for concern.

What if the water does stand for more than a week, and I can’t do anything to improve drainage?

Call VDOT’s Highway Helpline at (800) 367-ROAD [(800-367-7623] or fill out a report online here.

What if the standing water is on my property and not on a VDOT right of way?

If water is not on VDOT land or caused by VDOT road or construction activities, it is the responsibility of the property owner.

What should I do about permanent bodies of water?

Permanent bodies of water develop resident populations of predatory species (insects, fish, amphibians) that reduce or eliminate the mosquito larvae. Several species of mosquitoes can breed in permanent bodies of water, but most of these have not been implicated in the transmission of the West Nile virus.

Why shouldn’t I be concerned about water that stands for less than a week?

If the water stands for less than a week, it is highly unlikely that mosquitoes will breed in it. Only one species of mosquito (the black rice field mosquito) can complete its aquatic life cycle in less than seven days, and it is not a common mosquito. Most mosquito species require standing water for 10 to 14 days to develop.

Page last modified: Oct. 14, 2012