Monday, June 21, 2010

Mosquito Control

This is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week! Mosquitoes are insects belonging to the Diptera order, or True Flies. They have two wings, but their wings are scaled. If a mosquito bites you, it's probably the female since they have a long, piercing and sucking proboscis and need to feed on blood in order to produce eggs. "Mosquito" is a Spanish word for "little fly."

Some mosquitoes spread disease such as malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in fresh or stagnant water whereever they find it, including cans, barrels, troughs, ornamental ponds, swimming pools, puddles, creeks, ditches, or marshy areas. A raft of mosquito eggs looks like a spec of soot, no more than 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide, but it can hold up to 300 eggs. A female mosquito can lay a raft of eggs every three days. The eggs hatch within 48 hours. The larvae live beneath the surface of the water for four to 14 days and shed their skins four times before becoming a pupa. Pupas float on the water for another one to four days. The adult mosquito then bursts out of the pupa case.

The most efficient way to eliminate mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding sites. Homeowners should dispose of cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that hold water. To not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots or pet dishes.

Clean debris from rain gutters which may be creating pools of water. Check around outside faucets and window air conditioning units to ensure puddles are not collecting underneath.

Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week. Stock ornamental pools with top feeding minnows, known as "mosquito fish," or treat the pool water with a larvicide.

To prevent bites from adult mosquitoes, install bug zapper lights, use skin repellant, and cut down weeds on your property where mosquitoes like to rest.

The city's stormwater division begins spraying storm drains for mosquitos beginning in April each year.

3 comments:

  1. I wouldn't recommend using a bug zapper for mosquito control. Mosquitoes are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide that you and other warm blooded animals emit. Zappers kill bugs that are attracted to light, so you end up killing a lot of innocent and/or beneficial insects and practically no mosquitoes. Better to just remove or regularly dump and replace standing water. There are also traps that you can buy for about $100 that specifically target mosquitoes by using carbon dioxide, heat and other chemicals to attract and trap them. A good investment that doesn't require you to poison your yard in order to enjoy it.

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  3. Backyard chickens are a great solution. We have always had a serious problem with mosquitoes. But with back yard chickens near by I haven't seen a mosquito yet this year.

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