How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are common summertime pests that invade backyards and outdoor areas. Their presence quickly irritates and is also a concern when they bite your skin. If you have mosquitoes in your yard, or want to learn more about how mosquito control works, our library of mosquito information will answer your questions.
Mosquito Library Shortcuts
Zika Virus Information
Zika is a mosquito-borne illness found in Aedes aegypti, commonly referred to as the Yellow Fever mosquito. It is primarily transmitted by mosquito bites, but it may also be transmitted through sex and blood transfusions, although blood transfusions haven’t been confirmed yet.
Pregnant women who are infected with the virus can spread it to their fetus during pregnancy and Zika has been linked to the birth deformity microcephaly, as well as other severe brain defects. It is recommended by the CDC that pregnant women, or partners looking to get pregnant, avoid travel to Zika confirmed locations.
Symptoms of Zika and Treatments
Many people infected with Zika may not have any symptoms of the virus, or they may be mild. Common symptoms are:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
Symptoms may last anywhere from several days to a week and usually aren’t severe enough for a hospital visit. If you have recently traveled to a confirmed Zika area, your doctor can conduct a blood test to check for Zika. If you are confirmed to have Zika, you are likely to be protected from future infections.
Minimize Pest Problems This Summer at Your Home
The best measure you can take against mosquito problems is to reduce moisture around your property as much as possible. This reduces breeding sources that attract mosquitoes.
- Eliminate areas of standing water around the home, such as flowerpots, birdbaths, and baby pools. Mosquitoes only need about ½ inch of water to breed
- Throw away or store any containers that can accumulate water. Flip them upside down when not in use.
- Clean gutters frequently. Debris can clog and prevent water flow, causing gutters to fill up with standing water.
- Screen all windows and doors, repairing even the smallest holes that could serve as entry points for pests
- Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active and wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes to protect the skin
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard
- Mosquito Repellent Candles: Candles that include citronella may provide some short-term relief to your yard. However these methods aren’t very effective on windy days.
- Natural Plants: If you’d rather not jump to pesticides, try planting Citronella, catnip, rosemary or marigolds on your property. They have not been scientifically proven effective but they may provide some relief according to DIYers.
- Outdoor Bug Foggers (found at most major retailers): These can kill on contact and may provide temporary relief, but effectiveness varies. Must be used with EXTREME caution and follow ALL directions on the labels.
- Outdoor Bug Sprays (found at most major retailers): You can attach your hose to a concentrated bug spray and spray throughout your property, with primary focus on vegetation and shady areas. The effectiveness of the bug sprays may last longer than typical foggers, however, effectiveness of over-the-counter products haven’t been scientifically tested
How much does it cost to get rid of mosquitoes?
Why Do Mosquito Control Costs Vary Between Companies?
There are some factors that can contribute to varying prices among pest control companies including frequency, equipment used, education of technicians and materials used.
Frequency Cost Comparison
Through research and collaboration with our on-staff entomologists, Cooper Pest Solutions has determined that the most effective time interval for mosquito treatments are every three weeks. You may find some companies go less often than every three weeks, which will definitely drive the cost of their services down.
Equipment Cost Comparison
Equipment, as well as materials, play a huge role in any pest control service. When it comes to mosquitos, if a company is using a compressed air sprayer or backpack, their mosquito cost may be lower since that equipment is more cost efficient.
Technician Training Cost
When you hire a pest control company for your mosquito treatment, you expect the technician to be well versed in everything mosquitoes, however that may not be the case. Most pest control companies don’t have the time or resources to thoroughly train their technicians on all aspects of every pests, include mosquitoes.
Cost Comparison of Materials
Pest control companies will use different materials to conduct their mosquito services. They also may have available “add-ons” to their services rather than being all-inclusive. These all play a factor in price determination.
Unlike most pest control companies, Cooper offers a larvicide with their mosquito services. This may be an “add-on” for most companies. Since the larvicide is included in the price that will draw the cost up compared to their competitors, however, Cooper Pest Solutions believes it to be a necessity when it comes to the effectiveness of the mosquito service.
Chikungunya Virus Information
Chikungunya is a dangerous virus that is being spread by mosquitoes, specifically the Asian Tiger mosquitoes. According to the World Health Organization, it was first reported during an outbreak in Tanzania in 1952. The virus has traditionally affected Europe, Asia, and Africa, but was reported in the Americas in late 2013.
Symptoms of Chikungunya:
People who have been affected by the virus will experience some of the following symptoms 3-7 days after being bitten.
Fever and joint pain
Other symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash.
Symptoms can range in severity
Most people will feel fine within a week, others can feel joint pain for months after.
People at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.
Fortunately getting the disease once will most likely prevent you from getting it again.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Naturally
The following ingredients are listed by the EPA to naturally repel mosquitoes and ticks:
- Nepeta Cataria – Also known as Catmint or Catnip Oil. This product is made to repel black flies, mosquitoes and other biting insects.
- Citronella Oil – Repels several biting insects including mosquitoes. Masks the scents on your body that may attract insects.
- DEET – Used to repel mosquitoes and ticks. Creates a scent barrier on your skin that insects find unattractive.
- IR 3535 – Repels mosquitoes, deer ticks, body lice, and biting flies.
- Lemon Eucalyptus Oil – Naturally derived ingredient from eucalyptus plants. Used to repel mosquitoes, biting flies, and gnats.
It’s important to note that the EPA does not require botanically based repellents to be registered. This leaves a lot of “natural” or “organic” products on the market with limited data to confirm their “green” claims. However, lemon eucalyptus oil has undergone careful examination for effectiveness and remains approved by the EPA as highly effective and of minimal risk.
Mosquito Fast Facts
Mosquitoes are a type of fly that belong to the insect family Culex. The females have the piercing and sucking mouthparts that are necessary to allow them to feed on human and animal blood, which allows them to nourish their eggs. The male of the species does not bite and can even be beneficial in helping to pollinate some flowers. Mosquito bodies and wings are covered in tiny scales. Adult sizes may range from 3 to 9 mm.
Mosquitoes take approximately one week to develop from egg to the flying adult. After emerging from the aquatic stages, adult mosquitoes mate and the females seek a blood meal to obtain nutrients necessary for egg development. Only the female adult bites, while both sexes utilize sugar sources for general nutrient requirements. While various species differ significantly, the average life expectancy for adult mosquitoes is 4-6 weeks during the summer.
Why do I have mosquitoes?
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
Is DEET safe?
DEET is a repellent that was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946 for the protection of soldiers in insect-infested areas and became approved for use by the general public in 1957. It’s primarily used in products that are applied directly to the skin or on clothing to repel mosquitoes and ticks in the form of lotions, sprays, roll-ons, and bracelets.
It’s important to know that DEET does not kill mosquitoes and ticks. DEET repels these pests that approach you by creating an invisible barrier around the areas where the product has been applied, making you undetectable to mosquitoes and ticks. Products that contain DEET display the amount of the ingredient by percentage. It’s important to note that higher percentages do not indicate a higher strength of DEET. The amount of DEET within a product dictates how long it will last once applied. For example, a product with 25% DEET will last several hours. However a product containing 4% DEET will last a much shorter length of time. When applying DEET, it’s important that you follow the instructions to remain safe.
How to Keep Insects Out of My Gutters
Insects, rodents, squirrels, flying squirrels, bats, and birds are all pests that breed, nest, and destroy gutters on homes. Gutters are high up and generally undisturbed, which makes them the ideal place for wildlife to live. Clogged gutters that collect debris and standing water are an immediate issue when it comes to insect control. Even if your gutters are not clogged, exposed gutters encourage wildlife to build nests and gain access into your attic by destroying your roof.
- Mosquitoes - When gutters are left open, debris from falling leaves and other vegetation clog up the water flow. Without anywhere to go, rainfall sits and continues to collect in the gutters. In general, mosquitoes are attracted to stagnant water in large or small quantities such as ponds, rain water collected in buckets around your home, in bird baths, and on plastic play sets in your back yard. Clogged gutters offer that same environment which is potentially more dangerous if your gutters aren’t cleaned regularly.
- Rodents - Exposed and debris-filled gutters provide easy access into your home. In conjunction with squirrels, rodents can cause significant damage to your home. Their droppings and urine left behind create hazardous conditions for the health of you and your family.
- Squirrels - Gutters help squirrels find gaps that are easily torn through to get into attics which are safe spots, located away from the outside weather and predators. Problems arise when they create significant damage to the outside of your home, insulation inside of your attic, and by chewing through electrical wires. Like rodents, squirrels produce droppings and urinate very often which causes unsanitary conditions, not to mention the potential to ruin items stored in your attic.
- Birds - Birds create nests within gutters. Their droppings can stain your gutters and roof, creating a health hazard. Once you remove a bird’s nest from an unprotected gutter, nothing is stopping another bird or animal from creating a new nest in the same spot. Without completely blocking off the gutter, birds build nests year after year.
- Other Insects - In addition to mosquitoes, multiple other pests such as carpenter ants, termites, centipedes, millipedes, and stinging insects including wasps thrive in gutters. Most pests prefer moist areas where they are generally left alone without the threat of predators.