Summer is right around the corner. Holidays, stay-cations, and grilling season are finally here! But some many people have these joyous occasions ruined by high numbers of mosquitoes. Not only are they a nuisance, but they can carry diseases. Dengue fever, Zika virus, malaria, and West Nile virus are all carried and spread by mosquitoes. Read on to discover the secrets to good mosquito treatment!
There are just a few quick things you should know about mosquitoes that’ll help with understanding how effective mosquito treatment works.
The first thing is that mosquitoes are very sensitive to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. When something – person or animal – exhales, that’s a trigger for mosquitoes. It’s like blood in the water for a shark; they know a meal is nearby.
Next, you need to know that mosquitoes don’t fly very effectively. In fact, they’re really inefficient at flying. Once they sense CO2, they start to fly, but must rest frequently. Often, mosquitoes will stop to take several breaks on their way to feed. Each stop takes them gradually closer to the source of the CO2.
Lastly, you need to know that mosquitoes’ bodies don’t hold moisture well. They dry out very quickly and can die. So, when they take pitstops on their way to feed, they look for specific places. Areas that are cool, damp, dark, and out of direct sunlight or wind are ideal.
My wife and I tend to go camping for our vacations. Once at a campsite, I saw a knothole in a tree that couldn’t have held more than an ounce or two of standing water. And yes – there were mosquito larvae in there!
Identifying and trying to eliminate breeding sites for mosquitoes is the first line of defense. If you can stop mosquito breeding, you help limit the number of adults that can feed. Makes sense, right?
This is a huge part of what is called “Integrated Pest Management,” or “IPM.” IPM practices basically say “Find the source, eliminate that, and the problem is more manageable.” Again, lots of common sense happening here.
One of the first things a competent Mosquito Control expert should do is look for breeding sites. Some are obvious – pools, ponds, birdbaths, nearby creeks or retention ponds are all obvious. Some are less obvious – unused flower pots, sagging gutters, and low spots in the yard that pool water are all prime mosquito breeding sites. There are mosquitoes that even lay their eggs on dry ground that will later fill with water (like a puddle). And if it’s cold and dry, those eggs can lay dormant for months. They sit and wait for the right amount of moisture to hatch.
For features that are intended to remain (like ponds or birdbaths), there are other options. Many mosquito control experts use something called “insect growth regulators” or “IGR’s.” These products are non-chemical. They have a hormone that is specific to and only impacts mosquitoes. This prevents larvae from reaching adulthood without harming fish or birds in landscape features.
Identifying and reducing/eliminating breeding sites is only part of the fight.
After identifying and treating/eliminating breeding sites, your mosquito control expert should spray. Think back to the “biology” lesson – places that are cool, damp, dark, out of sunlight and wind. You may be saying “I don’t have anywhere like that on my property.” You’d be wrong – your landscaping is the perfect hiding place! Pest control experts call these places “harborage areas.”
These are where your mosquito control expert should be spraying. Foundation plants, mulched areas, tree trunks and branches within about 10’-15’ of the ground can all be treated effectively. If you have more landscaping, that should be treated, too. Tree lines and brush growing under them also provide excellent harborage areas.
Many companies now use equipment that is a modified leaf blower. This allows them to apply a very small amount of control product in hard to reach places. Think about it – how do you spray under a leaf on a plant? This elegant solution uses the breeze generated by the blower to coat all the plant material. Now, the mosquitoes have no place to hide.
One Final Note
Keep one thing in mind as you are shopping for a mosquito control expert: it won’t be perfect. Pest control companies have an easier time keeping bugs out of your home; there are walls and a roof. The structure itself helps them with the control.
Your mosquito control expert is trying to do something else: keep a bug off something outside. I’m not sure when you last tried to keep a bug off something outside, but it’s a challenge. By using good IPM and eliminating breeding sites, then getting good control applications, you should get good results. But it won’t be perfect. You should still wear bugspray and long sleeves if you intend to be outside for long periods of time (if this is practical).
If you have questions about good mosquito treatment, or you’d like a quote for service at your home in Lancaster or Harrisburg, please contact us here.