As we approach the warm summer months ahead, you might begin to find yourself itching with mosquito bites. These pesky insects are not only an annoyance, but also carry the risk of disease transmission. Thankfully, the risk of transmission of mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria and Yellow fever, or heartworms in dogs, has been greatly reduced thanks to organized control in the U.S., while other diseases such as West Nile Virus are still prevalent. Recently, the mosquito-transmitted Chikungunya virus which causes fever, joint pain, and other symptoms, has recently made headlines after it was first reported in the Americas late in 2013. Click here to read more about the Chikungunya virus.
Mosquitos tend to emerge once temperatures reach about 50°F which is typically around mid to late April in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While some species, such as the Asian Tiger mosquito (which has become increasingly more predominant in the last few years), are particularly aggressive and feed day and night, most species feed at dawn and dusk, and for a couple hours into the dark. Since mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration, body odor, carbon dioxide, perfumes/cologne, and light, if you plan to be outside on summer evenings, try to forego the perfume and spritz yourself with some bug spray instead!
You may experience increased mosquito activity if you live in an area near water sources that serve as breeding grounds. All species rely on a water source for their larval and pupal stages and cannot otherwise mature to an adult stage, where reproduction and blood meals begin. Mosquitoes of different species lay their eggs in water sources ranging from small containers to vast marshlands. Common breeding grounds include:
- Containers: Can be found in artificial settings such as water in tires or natural settings like water held by plants
- Transient Water: Such as ditches and other flooded areas
- Running Water: Such as Streams
- Permanent Water: Such as brackish water swamps, freshwater swamps, acid water swamps, and polluted water
- Stagnant water often close to home: Such as ornamental pools, discarded tires, tin cans, unused wading and swimming pools, bird baths, plant saucers, gutters, and flat roofs
- Moist surfaces: Such as dry fallen leaves or mud near a water source that will re-flood the surface stimulating the eggs to hatch
Mosquito populations can be reduced in several ways including biological control agents, insecticides, and water management. The most effective way to control mosquitos is by reducing the water suitable for larval and pupal growth. Here are some tips to reduce mosquito activity at home:
- Clean & Chlorinate swimming pools in use, and drain when not regularly used
- Fill ornamental pools with fish (they will feed on the mosquitoes)
- Change the water in fountains, birdbaths, and troughs about twice a week
- Drain flat roofs and clean out gutters
- Flush sump pumps weekly
- Throw out any unwanted tin cans, tires, hollow logs, or other items that may collect rain water
- Fill in low-lying areas such as ditches
- Repair cracks and leaks in the foundation of your home
- Tightly cover containers with a window screen or plastic if storing rainwater for garden use during droughts
If you need professional help to reduce the mosquito populations on your property, call Cooper Pest Solutions at 1-800-949-2667 or fill out the form to learn more about our Bite Free Mosquito service.
Please also ask about including our tick prevention service with the mosquito service.