In some places, especially the southern United States, mosquito season can seem like it lasts forever – or at least for the majority of the year; and in some cases it actually does. Mosquitoes are most often associated with the hot summer months but the season actually begins earlier than that and can run through fall. Besides being annoying, mosquitoes can also pose serious health hazards to both humans and animals. Mosquitoes are known to transmit serious diseases like West Nile virus, Zika virus, chikungunya, and eastern equine encephalitis.
Because mosquito activity is primarily driven by temperature, mosquito seasons vary from region to region. Some species of mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and emerge when the weather warms up. Other species die off when cold weather arrives and their offspring hatch from previously laid eggs in the spring. Regardless of the species, most mosquito activity begins when temperatures consistently reach above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. As temperatures increase, so does mosquito activity, making peak mosquito season in the hot summer months. As the weather begins to cool down, so does mosquito activity. Those mosquito species that hibernate over winter will begin looking for their winter dwellings in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows, and other places. Those mosquito species that don’t hibernate will begin dying off as temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Because of this, those places with warmer climates will have mosquito season begin earlier and last longer than those with cooler climates.
There are some do-it-yourself pest control steps that you can take to help minimize mosquitoes on and around your property. Try to implement these before mosquito season starts when temperatures are still below the 50 degree mark. Waiting until mosquito season means the breeding population will already be established and will be much harder to control.
- Eliminate Standing Water. Walk your property and remove any objects that can collect water. Standing water serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. They only require a small amount of water to lay eggs so be sure to check flower pots, bird feeders, toys, old tires, buckets, wheelbarrows, etc.
- Clean Gutters. Clogged gutters can create standing water which provides ample breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure gutters remain free of debris and clogs. Consider installing gutter guards to help eliminate clogs.
- Fill in Hollow Areas. When checking your property, take note of any low lying areas like ditches that can collect standing water after rain or watering. Fill them in with dirt as necessary. Also make sure to check for any hollow logs and stumps which can not only hold standing water but also provide overwintering mosquitoes a place to hibernate during the cold weather.
- Check For Leaks and Cracks. Inspect foundations and exterior walls for cracks and make sure to promptly repair them. Even the smallest cracks can provide mosquitoes with an entryway into your home. Check for any leaks, as well, as mosquitoes can breed in the standing water.
- Repair/Replace Screens. Check screens to make sure they are intact and in good repair. This includes screens on windows, doors, and screened porches and patios. Size 16-18 mesh is recommended for pest control.
- Cover Up. Some objects that can hold or collect standing water can’t be removed from your yard like wading pools and boats. When these items aren’t in use make sure they stay covered. Also make sure to check the covers after rain to make sure they aren’t collecting water, as well.
- Maintain the Pool. Mosquitoes will typically stay away from well maintained pools. However, if a pool goes unused for a period of time they will be attracted to the stagnant water. Make sure to keep your pool maintained or covered if not in use for an extended period.
Even with these proactive steps, mosquitoes can still be difficult to control. Consider investing in a professional mosquito control program that can reduce mosquitoes, help prevent mosquito bites, and limit your risk of mosquito-borne disease. A mosquito control program from a licensed pest control company can provide you with treatments throughout mosquito season.