Have a mosquito problem? Here's how to evict them from your yard.
Have a mosquito problem?
Oh, that whine! That familiar high-pitched whine that just zoomed past your ear and made you slap yourself in the head. It’s the all-too-familiar whine of mosquitoes.
Spring is on the horizon, and mosquitoes all over the United States are tuning up for their busiest season. In fact, those of us who enjoyed a mild winter have already seen — and heard — mosquitoes buzzing around.
The high-pitched whine we're hearing is probably from a female mosquito, since only females bite humans while males generally avoid human contact. You see, female mosquitoes need the iron and protein in blood from mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs to make their eggs. And they're dead serious about making those eggs.
How long does it take for mosquito eggs to hatch?
In addition to being one of the most irritating insects in the world, the female mosquito is a champion egg layer. She can lay as many as 100 to 300 eggs — maybe more — in one session, and up to 3,000 eggs in her short lifespan of a couple of weeks. With some 175 different species of mosquitoes in the world, it's highly unlikely that humans are ever going to see the end of them.
How to prevent mosquitoes from breeding
With that in mind, our best defense in this fight against the bite is to make our homes and yards as inhospitable as possible to all those Mama Mosquitoes. Remember, it's not just about itchy bites. Mosquitoes can potentially carry and transmit serious diseases through a bite. The CDC can help you better understand the dangers of mosquito-borne illnesses suchs as Zika, West Nile, and Malaria. And our pets are susceptible, too. Mosquitoes carry heart worm disease, which can be fatal to both dogs and cats.
The time to act is now, before summer kicks these buzzy little suckers into high gear. Your patio or deck is for relaxation, not blood donation.
Reduce mosquito breeding in your home
Don't let water go stagnant.
Mosquitoes need stagnant, still water to lay their eggs and for the young to successfully hatch and mature. During mosquito season, it's especially important to keep gutters clear, thoroughly empty kiddie pools and water buckets after use and keep birdbaths filled with fresh water.
Dump it out
Once the sprinklers have stopped and when the rain's moved on, go outside and take a really good look around your home. If you have tarps on cars or outdoor equipment, make sure they fit snugly and don't droop, allowing water to pool. And make it a point to regularly check outdoor pet bowls and the surface of flowerpots and pot saucers for signs of "wigglers" or mosquito larvae.
Pick up your litter.
Schedule a weekly "litter patrol." Throw away bottles, cups, cans and other detritus. Almost anything that holds water — even a small amount — can turn into a mosquito nursery.
Pay attention to your water features.
If you live near a small pond, a decorative pond, drainage canals or other areas likely to hold standing water, try spreading environmentally friendly botanical products around such as Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis), which can act as a larvicide, killing mosquitoes before they reach adulthood. Or stock ponds with Gambusia. They didn't get the nickname "mosquito fish" for nothing.
Drain or throw out tires.
Remove old car tires from your property, and drill holes in the bottom of tire swings to allow for drainage. Tires are big-time mosquito havens. Rainwater, sprinklers, run-off — doesn't matter. Once water ends up in an old tire, it's hard to pour out.
Declutter and get rid of junk.
Take this opportunity to beautify the outside of your home while evicting mosquitoes at the same time. Haul away old barbecue grills, car parts, shelves and other stuff that you've been meaning to clear out. Just about anywhere water can collect, mosquitoes can lay eggs.
It's a Yard Thing
Mosquitoes love overgrown trees, brush, weeds and tall grass. Keeping lawns tidy helps keep mosquitoes out. If things start looking bare out there, consider putting in some mosquito-repelling herbs, flowers and plants, including peppermint, lavender, marigolds, chrysanthemums, citronella grass, lemon eucalyptus, pennyroyal and feverfew.
Just a few simple precautions can lower your risk of attracting mosquitoes to your property. Besides, it’s never too early to turn your outdoor areas into “no-whine zones” for spring and beyond.