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.
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Mosquito season is in full swing, much to the dismay of those of us in the South. The humid weather stirs them up in a major way year after year.
Your mosquito service has already started up, but reduction services are just that, a service aimed at managing the occurrence of mosquitoes in the yard. Your Northwest technician utilizes an Intergrated Pest Management approach (IPM), which is customized just for you and your pest needs. This approach is aimed at mosquito prevention, mosquito reduction, and the elimination of the habitats that mosquitoes need to breed. Implementing a successful IPM strategy goes a long way with cutting down the mosquito population surrounding your home.
But, did you know that there are steps you can take to push your mosquito service to the next level?
- Eliminate any areas of standing water i.e. buckets, plastic covers, and toys
- Change the water in fountains, bird baths, and rain barrels at least once a week
- Cut grass to prevent mosquitoes resting on long blades and rake leaves
- Keep gutters clean and consider installing gutter guards to prevent clogs, which create areas of standing water, conducive to mosquito breeding
- Install a mosquito screen to keep mosquitoes out of your home
These extra steps will not only reduce the number of mosquitoes you encounter but will also help protect you and your family from mosquito bites and the diseases they can carry.
If you suspect you have a problem with mosquitoes in or around your home, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and comprehensive mosquito treatment plan.
The best approach to controlling mosquitoes takes advantage of every life stage of a mosquito. This approach is known as an Integrated Pest Management approach (IPM). IPM employs a variety of different pest management techniques with an emphasis on pest prevention, pest reduction, and the elimination of habitats that can lead to pest infestations. A successful IPM strategy is made up of 4 different strategies:
- Removal Of Habitats. Mosquitoes require a water habitat for 2 stages of their life cycle. Elimination of water leaves them with nowhere to breed. Get rid of any standing water in gutters, buckets, toys, old tires, tarps, and any other container in and around your home. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent standing water in your gutter systems. Empty and change out the water in your fountains, bird baths, rain barrels, wading pools, and potted plants at least once a week. This will get rid of any eggs that may have been laid in the water since emptying it the week before. Make sure to keep your swimming pools treated and circulating.
- Use Structural Barriers. Using structural barriers decreases the incidence of mosquito bites. Install screens on your windows and doors and make sure they are in good repair. Make sure the edges are sealed. Cover any gaps in walls, doors, and windows.
- Control Adult Mosquitoes. This is the best and fastest method to prevent diseases transmitted by adult mosquitoes. Adult mosquito control uses an EPA-registered pesticide and is applied by aircraft or on the ground by truck-mounted sprayers.
- Control Larval Mosquitoes. Controlling mosquitoes in the larval stage allows them to be eliminated before they emerge as adult mosquitoes. This involves a method called source reduction (also known as physical or permanent mosquito control). Source reduction is the removal or permanent destruction of mosquito breeding sites. The goal of source reduction is to minimize larval mosquito production through habitat destruction. It can minimize or completely eliminate the need for multiple applications of both larvacides and adulticides. Source reduction can be as simple as properly disposing of containers that can hold water or as complex as draining swamps or installing ditches. Some methods of source reduction you can do at home include disposing of, covering, or tipping over any containers that can hold water such as flowerpots, cans, and old tires. Source reduction for freshwater lakes and ponds include periodic drainage, minimizing emergent or standing vegetation, and maintaining steep banks. Source reduction for swamps and marshes is difficult because of severe restrictions in environmental law.
If you suspect you have a problem with mosquitoes in or around your home, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and comprehensive treatment plan.