31 May How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes this Summer in 5 Simple Steps
Who doesn’t love summer? Long, hot days. Fun in the sun. And taking a splash in the water. Unfortunately, mosquitoes love those things too. That’s because stagnant water and hot weather are the perfect conditions for them to thrive.
Of the more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes throughout the world, about 200 of them live in the United States. Missouri is home to about 50 different species.
Did you know that it’s the females who bite? Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, but females seek out the protein found in animal blood to nourish their eggs. Their favorite victims are often birds, horses, dogs, and of course, humans.
After mating the female looks for a blood meal to feed her growing eggs. She then lays about 100-400 eggs on the surface of water or in a location where water is likely to accumulate.
Mosquitoes may contract pathogens such as West Nile Virus while taking a blood meal. Once infected, they may then pass the disease to other victims, and that is how mosquito-borne illness is spread.
Let’s take a look at 5 simple rules for letting these unwanted pests know that they are not invited to crash your summer fun.
1. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites
To keep mosquitoes away, start by controlling their most common breeding sites. Mosquitoes love to breed in slow-moving or stagnant water. Heavy rainfall and hot temperatures make conditions even more favorable.
Mosquitoes can thrive in anything that holds even a small amount of water:
- Flood waters
- Woodland pools
- Slow-moving streams
- Edges of lakes
- Tree cavities
- Rain barrels
- Fish ponds
- Wading pools
- Old tires
- Tin cans
- Clogged gutters
- Catch basins
- Flower holders
Here are some simple ways to eliminate or limit the breeding sites on your property:
- Inspect potential breeding sites on a weekly basis — such as flower pots or plant containers. Change the water if you see larvae.
- Tightly cover stored water — such as cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks, fire barrels, rain barrels and tubs.
- Change the water in birdbaths or wading pools 1-2 times per week. Drain stagnant pools, puddles, ditches or swampy places. Stock ponds with top-feeding minnows. Keep margins of ponds clear of vegetation.
- Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires or unnecessary water containers. Turn wading pools upside down when not in use.
- Keep rain gutters unclogged and flat roofs dry. Fill tree holes with sand and seal with mortar and remove tree stumps that may hold water.
2. Use Mosquito Repellent to Reduce Risk of Mosquito Bites
Most repellents contain the active ingredient DEET and give you about 5 hours of mosquito protection depending on variables like perspiration, rubbing, temperature or the abundance of mosquitoes.
- Look for DEET products with a concentration of 35% or less; above 35% offers no meaningful additional protection.
- You may apply the repellent to clothing and uncovered skin.
- Avoid contact with your eyes, nose or lips.
- Ask your veterinarian about special repellents that can be applied to dogs.
In addition, the EPA recommends the following additional guidelines for safety when using a mosquito repellent with DEET:
- Lightly cover your skin but don’t saturate.
- Only apply repellent to uncovered skin and clothing. Don’t apply to skin underneath clothing.
- Wash your hands after applying and wash the repellent off with soap and water when no longer needed.
- Do not apply to skin with cuts, wounds, inflammation or irritation.
- Do not inhale repellent aerosols.
3. Prevent Mosquitoes from Coming Indoors
Although mosquitoes are outdoor bugs, they can get inside your house or business, especially if there are potential breeding sites near doors, windows or other points of entry.
- Avoid leaving doors and windows open during times of day when mosquitoes are most active.
- Keep doors and windows tightly screened.
- Limit the use of outdoor lighting near entryways to avoid attracting mosquitoes.
4. Practice Outdoor Mosquito Control
Most human blood-feeding mosquitoes are active at twilight or just after dark.
During the daytime, they like to nest in cool, dark locations such as the vegetation on your property.
- When possible, schedule outdoor activities when mosquitoes are less active.
- As noted above, mosquitoes are attracted to light, so limit outdoor lighting to avoid attracting them.
- Keep your grass, shrubs and other outdoor plants neatly trimmed to limit nesting areas. This also makes it easier to inspect for an infestation.
- Maintain at least some space between shrubbery and your house or office building.
5. Be Smart with Pest Control
What if you can’t realistically eliminate all possible breeding sites on your property? And what if you really don’t want to cancel that early evening patio party?
This is where professional mosquito control can help.
When you’re shopping for an exterminator, look for experienced pest control experts who are licensed, bonded and insured to get the most effective and the safest results.
- Mosquito control service begins with a thorough inspection to locate current and potential breeding sites.
- Outdoor mosquito control with a conventional mosquito treatment can eradicate mosquitoes for up to 4 weeks. Natural mosquito control treatments can protect your property for up to 21 days.
- Your pest professional should provide you with educational materials on mosquito prevention between treatments.
- Look for a service provider that offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Do you need more information on controlling mosquitoes in the Kansas City or Springfield, Missouri areas? Are you looking for the best way to get rid of mosquitoes on your property?
Contact Fight the Bite today. We’ll provide information to help you enjoy your summer without pesky mosquitoes spoiling the fun!
- “Mosquitoes.” University of Missouri Extension. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2017. http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7400.
- “Mosquitoes (Department of Entomology).” Department of Entomology. Penn State University, n.d. Web. 31 May 2017. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/mosquitoes.