Mosquitoes are often a nuisance during warmer months. They multiply quickly and can become a problem if you do not take steps to control their population. But as with most pests, control starts with prevention.
In addition to leaving you scratching bites that itch, some types of mosquitoes are also linked to the spread of diseases. Mosquitoes are known to carry strains of malaria, yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis and West Nile virus.
Here’s how to prevent mosquitoes in eight simple steps.
Remove sources of standing water.
Mosquitoes need standing water in order to lay their eggs. Removing old tires, buckets, plastic sheeting or covers, and old containers that may have filled with water will reduce the available habitat in your yard. Other likely breeding spots for common types of mosquitoes include garbage cans, tarps, dripping outdoor faucets and poorly drained areas. Preventing mosquitoes depends heavily on habitat reduction.
Clean out the gutters.
In addition to getting rid of ground sources for standing water, it is also important to maintain your gutter system. Leaves and other debris can build up in your gutter and down spouts leading to water retention in the entire system. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as one inch of stagnant water, so that clogged gutter is a dirty, wet welcome mat for them.
Change out water sources weekly.
Emptying or replacing the water in outdoor pet bowls, fountains and birdbaths, rain barrels and plant containers weekly will break the mosquito breeding cycle. By keeping these water sources clean and well maintained the mosquito larvae won’t have time to develop.
Drain water and fill up low areas.
Make sure you are draining any areas where water can temporarily accumulate after rainfall or excessive watering. If there are areas prone to water accumulation, consider filling them in with dirt to level out the surface and prevent the problem altogether.
Practice proper pool maintenance and keep a close eye on water features.
Mosquitoes will use any still source of water to lay their eggs. An inground swimming pool that is not properly cared for offers them a vast expanse of water to fill with eggs. Make sure that you are keeping up with your pool’s water treatment plan and checking on its filters and water circulation to keep the mosquitoes out. Plastic wading pools for children or dogs and aboveground pools should also be checked regularly for signs of mosquito activity. Remove weeds that spring up around water features or ponds, and consider the addition of certain types of minnows. Fathead minnows, for example, feed on mosquito larvae and are a good way to control the mosquito population.
Replace outdoor lighting.
Mosquitoes, like many insects, are attracted to light. Special bulbs called “bug lights” emit a different type of light than typical light bulbs. The wavelength emitted is not as attractive to insects. Replacing outdoor lighting with the yellow “bug lights” should mean your space attracts fewer mosquitoes.
Seal and screen entry points.
Mosquitoes are small; most species are about one-quarter to one-half of an inch in their adult stage. This means that they can enter your home or garage through the tiniest of openings. Check seals on doors and windows, and make sure that windows, doors and porches are screened off properly to keep mosquitoes out of your domain.
Know when to call for backup.
It’s great to minimize your home’s draw for mosquitoes, but preventing mosquitoes also means knowing when to call in the experts. Pest management professionals are trained to know where mosquitoes are hiding, and the best method to control their population. Terminix® has a dual-action formula just for mosquitoes. The mosquito control formula attracts – then kills – these pests so that you and your family do not fall victim to their bites. Part attractant and part killing agent, it is applied by a service technician in targeted areas around your home during mosquito season. The Terminix Mosquito Service uses a natural active ingredient that is people, pet and environmentally safe. Call today for your free pest evaluation and take the mosquitoes out of the equation.