Mosquitos are pesky insects that can carry disease and make outdoor living less enjoyable. Ensure your clients’ homes are protected with these prevention methods.
May 19, 2022
Mosquitos are very small, only about 1/8” to 3/8” long. They have six legs, and the mouth is called a proboscis. Their coloring is grey to black, but some can have green, white, or blue markings. Mosquitos are most active from dawn to dusk and difficult to spot as they fly due to size. Some species are more common in certain regions, but they are found all over the U.S.
According to National Pest Management Association in 2005, 67% of homeowners are most concerned about pests during the summertime, but mosquitos can be problematic year-round in many climates.
Mosquito activity often lasts through the early spring to late fall. They often do not die off in winter months, but winter survival depends on the species. Aedes aegypti overwinters in the egg stage – adults lay eggs in water as temperatures fall below 60˚F, then die.
The water can be as shallow as a half inch to be able to breed, which is about a bottle cap full. Deposited eggs go into “diapause” that stops their development until the weather warms up. Eggs reemerge and hatch once the temperatures begin to rise and spring rains occur. These young mosquitos have the potential to be already infected with Zika if the mosquito that laid the eggs was infected.
Because of their lifecycle, it’s difficult to do pretreatments for mosquitos. Timing is everything when temperatures rise and using Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) early will help control.
Mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn. Only female mosquitos bite humans as they need blood to reproduce. Males and females also feed on flower nectar. Mosquitos breed continuously, so they will search for a blood meal every two days or so in order to lay another batch of eggs. Different species prefer to bite different areas of the body.
They detect blood through body heat and chemical signals. One signal and the main attractor is the carbon dioxide humans breathe out, particularly the rate of CO2 production. According to Joseph Conlon, a medical entomologist and the technical advisor to the American Mosquito Control Association, higher body temperature, lactic acid (produced while exercising), blood type, estradiol levels, and drinking beer can also attract mosquitos.
Mosquitos are also highly visual and dark colors like red, black, and navy stand out to them.
Bites are not only painful and itchy but can carry many diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquitos spread more diseases than any other type of insect and are responsible for several million deaths and hundreds of millions of illnesses a year.
Some counties may have mosquito abatement programs that trap mosquitos in different areas and test for diseases to warn the public of risks. Some counties also have spray or fogging plans.
Wear protective clothing on the jobsite to avoid bites.
On residential jobs, be sure to inspect customer properties for water-holding items as these could contain mosquito eggs. Other items to check are flowerpots, birdbaths, tire swings, grill covers, and pool covers. Remind customers that bird bath and plant drip tray water should be changed at least once a week. Apply pet-safe Mosquito Dunks to unavoidable standing water like water gardens.
Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water. Remind customers to drill holes in swings and other outdoor living objects for drainage, as well as to ensure trash cans are sealed properly and kept further away from outdoor living areas.
Unclog gutters and drainpipes. Cut grass short and trim shrubbery around the house to ensure adult mosquitos cannot hide there. Repair leaky irrigation or drainage pipes and faucets. Fill in or drain low places in the yard that may collect stormwater.
Check gutters, windows, porch lights, etc. for standing water during your maintenance visits. Customers should also maintain window and door screening periodically.
Properties should be sloped so water flows away from foundation instead of towards it. However, if this is the case, make sure you ensure proper drainage.
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