When you think of warmer weather, you imagine barbecues and beach trips. Unfortunately, these outdoor activities can be ruined by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can put a damper on any summer fun, causing itchy red bumps and spreading diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, and more within the U.S.
Most people are familiar with the maddening, itching sensation of a mosquito bite. But why do mosquito bites itch and why do they bite people in the first place? Let’s break it down.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
Only female mosquitoes bite as they need protein to nourish their developing eggs. Biting mosquitoes use several different signals to locate a host, including carbon dioxide that we exhale, heat, and body odor. There are many factors that make some people appear more attractive to mosquitoes than others, including darker colored clothing, blood type, body size, being pregnant, sweat, and skin bacteria.
Why Do Mosquito Bites Itch?
During the process of a mosquito biting you, it injects some of its own saliva which contains an anticoagulant and specific proteins. The anticoagulant prevents blood from clotting around the mosquito’s mouth. The proteins released by the mosquito trigger the body’s immune system, which releases histamine, a compound that increases cell count resulting in inflammation and swelling. The histamine also signals the nerves around the bite to cause it to itch.
Preventing Mosquito Bites
- Eliminate standing water around your property to lessen the population of mosquitoes
- Utilize screens on all windows and doors if they remain open
- Most species are active during dusk and dawn, so limit your time outside during these time periods
- Wear long pants and sleeves when possible and apply mosquito repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient like DEET
If the mosquito problem is more than you can handle, then contacting your local pest control company might be the next step. as they will help set up the right prevention plan for your home.
It’s safe to say that mosquitoes are a major nuisance pest during the spring and summer months. These pests can quickly ruin a backyard barbeque with their incessant swarming and biting of your guests! Before peak mosquito season hits and their activity increases, prep your yard early to prevent mosquitoes.
Eliminate Breeding Sites
The elimination of breeding sites is essential to preventing mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. If there has been a recent thunderstorm, it’s likely that objects in your yard are holding water. Items that can hold water include toys, buckets, outdoor pet bowls, and tire swings are all perfect places for mosquitoes to breed. Other objects meant to hold water, such as fountains or birdbaths, can also attract mosquitoes. Removing these objects or making sure to empty them of water will help eliminate the chance of mosquito infestations during the warmer months.
Clean Up Clutter
Leaves and debris after a thunderstorm can cause clogged gutters, resulting in the perfect place to breed mosquitoes. Ensure that your home’s gutters are clear of debris, especially after it’s been raining. Consider installing gutter guards that save you time, reduces the risk of injuries, and helps prevent mosquitoes and other pests. Mosquitoes also like to hide in tall grass and shrubbery. It’s crucial to maintain your grass and shrubs, keeping both trimmed and the grass cut short.
Call the Pros
Mosquito control and prevention can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle. A professional pest control company can provide homeowners with a customized prevention and treatment plan to help eliminate these pests. Being proactive and starting mosquito treatments now will help in controlling mosquitoes during peak season!
Mosquito season is right around the corner! Heat and humidity during these months combine to provide an ideal environment for mosquitoes to thrive. The season usually starts in the spring and peaks over the summer. Besides leaving behind itchy, red welts, these nuisance pests are dangerous to humans by vectoring serious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, and chikungunya. Fortunately, there are several green pest control options you can utilize as an eco-friendly alternative to control mosquitoes. Here are 3 steps you can take for green mosquito control.
Identify Nesting and Resting Sites
The first step to controlling mosquitoes is identifying and eliminating what attracts them in the first place. Mosquitoes will come around in search of two things: nesting sites and resting sites.
Where do mosquitoes breed? Every species of mosquito lays its eggs in water. While the type of water source may vary between species, it only takes a minute amount of water for mosquitoes to hatch and develop. Get rid of any potential breeding sites by:
- Cleaning up debris around your home. Moisture can accumulate under piles of leaves, boards, mulch, rocks, and other outdoor items.
- Walking around your yard and identify any items that can hold water – pots, cans, bird baths, lids, toys, and planters. Empty them or store them upside down when not in use.
- Inspecting your gutters for clogs and keep them cleaned out. Watch out for sagging gutters or low spots where the water can accumulate.
- Repairing any poor drainage sites in your yard as these can lead to standing water. Consider leveling your yard or installing a french drain.
Once mature, adult mosquitoes will often rest in shady areas that are protected from the wind. Some common resting sites include trees, shrubs, potted plants, patios, and front entryways.
Protect Yourself From Bites
Any time you can protect yourself from mosquito bites you should. Prevent mosquito bites by:
- Blowing them away. Any breeze above 1 mph will make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you have to spend time outdoors, consider using fans, whether battery powered, plug in or ceiling. Try to keep the air flow from the fans pointed at the lower half of your body as mosquitoes tend to fly closer to the ground to avoid said wind.
- Avoiding peak mosquito hours. Mosquitoes tend to feed at dawn and dusk as the wind typically dissipates around these times. Try to stay indoors during these times, especially during the warmer months.
- Applying insect repellent before going outdoors. When applying repellent, spray it onto your hands and rub it onto your skin rather than spraying it directly onto the skin. Repellents with DEET block the mosquitoes’ CO2 receptors, making them especially effective.
- If you are opposed to DEET, there are other natural mosquito repellents you can use instead.
- Picaridin is CDC approved and the most broadly used repellent outside the United States.
- IR 3535 is CDC approved and also repels deer ticks.
- 2-undecanone is CDC approved and is found naturally in cloves.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus is CDC approved and has been proven in studies to repel as well as DEET.
- Avon Skin so Soft was shown in a 2015 study to repel mosquitoes for up to 2 hours.
- Permethrin fabric spray can be used on clothes, shoes, tents, and netting.
- Essential oils containing eucalyptus, rosemary, cloves, basil, and peppermint have also been shown to repel mosquitoes and are even used in many commercial products.
- Covering up when outdoors. Wear tightly woven, light colored clothing. The synthetic fibers in athletic wear are especially good at repelling mosquitoes. Dark colors stand out to mosquitoes, while lighter colors are less attractive.
- Considering the use of plants that repel mosquitoes around your home such as citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil.
Applying Green Mosquito Treatments
Yards and climates vary across the region so the effectiveness and longevity of mosquito treatments will vary from home to home. Regardless of where you live or what kind of home you have, a green mosquito control program can be effective at helping control mosquito populations. Green mosquito control utilizes eco-friendly products that are just as effective as traditional products.
A complete green reduction program includes monthly mosquito treatments during mosquito season. Green treatments use products that are derived from flowers and botanicals and area only applied to the areas where they are needed instead of over the entire yard. They are effective at reducing both adult and larvae populations.
The green mosquito reduction program includes an inspection to identify resting and nesting sites; larvacide and adulticides to target all aspects of the population; source reduction and elimination by removing any areas of standing water; and a service guarantee where they will come back between treatments if needed, usually at no cost.
If you have a problem with mosquitoes or any other pests, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the most up to date traditional pest control and green treatment options available for you.
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Mosquitoes are known to be a nuisance. With the warmer weather upon us, taking the necessary steps to avoid these pests is extremely important. Mosquito control treatments performed by professionals can help reduce these pests by targeting adult mosquitoes and larvae throughout your property. There are several factors that determine how these treatments can help protect you, your family, and your property.
Mosquito season typically runs from April to October, with warm seasons being a major factor in their activity. Mosquitoes are highly attracted to standing water. They will usually lay their eggs in water for survival, only needing a small amount of water to do so. Once these eggs hatch, it can be difficult to try and control them.
If mosquitoes have hatched and are roaming your property, they can find their way inside your home. Mosquitoes are small, measuring only 1/8 – 3/8” long. They can easily fit inside small holes or gaps leading into your house. Ensuring that your windows and doors have screens in good repair is essential for keeping them out. If inside, mosquitoes will search for a perfect place to lay eggs, including in areas with house plants and water trays. These nuisance pests will lay their eggs in water trays and even feed off the plants for energy.
Female mosquitoes will bite and feed on humans and animals, as they require a blood meal to lay fertile eggs. These bites can become red, itchy, and irritating for both humans and animals. Mosquito bites are equally dangerous; mosquitoes can spread viruses such as West Nile or dengue fever through their bites. To avoid mosquito bites, take precautions when you know you’ll be outside during the peak season. Use EPA-registered mosquito repellants, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoid using scented lotions or bath products.
With mosquito treatments, a pest professional can inspect your property and identify the resting and breeding areas to more effectively eliminate these pests. These services are recommended monthly during peak mosquito season so you can have a bite-free spring and summer! If you are concerned with mosquitoes on your property, contact your local pest control company for a free inspection!
It’s the first official week of Spring (aka Mosquito Season)! Time to start thinking about mosquito prevention.
The risk of contracting mosquito-borne Zika virus in the U.S. is at an all-time high, specifically dangerous for pregnant women or those trying to conceive as the virus can cause serious birth defects. According to the CDC, 222 cases of Zika were reported as of March 15, 2017, acquired through local mosquito-borne transmission in Florida and Texas. And because there’s currently no vaccine for Zika, the only way to prevent it is with mosquito bite prevention. Here’s how you can minimize your risk and limit the spread of Zika.
Home Mosquito Control
The best way to prevent mosquito bites when spending time outside this spring and summer is to reduce mosquito populations around your home with a mosquito control program. Usually consisting of monthly treatments, a professional mosquito control program includes:
- Removal and/or reduction of mosquito resting and breeding sites – any areas that accumulate standing water like planters, toys, bird baths, pet bowls, containers, etc.
- Larvicide treatments to mosquito breeding sites that cannot be removed, targeting mosquito larvae which inhibits maturity into adult mosquitoes
- Adulticide treatments to mosquito resting sites – shaded areas, shrubbery, small trees, ivy, etc. – reducing the amount of adult mosquitoes around your home
- Monthly inspections and recommendations on how to reduce mosquito breeding and resting areas
Other ways you can prevent mosquito bites:
- Cover arms and legs when spending time outdoors with light, loose-fitting clothing
- Keep mosquitoes out of your home by identifying entry points like broken, damaged, or missing window and door screens and make necessary repairs
- Reduce mosquito breeding areas by eliminating any items inside that can accumulate standing water
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone