During the summer months, mosquito control is a must almost anywhere. They are annoying, numerous, and resilient. They have been known to spread diseases including the West Nile and Zika virus. Even worse, they are notorious picnic and barbecue crashers. There is hope, however. With the right tools and a bit of effort, it’s possible to control mosquito populations in many different situations and climates.
Mosquito Problem Prevention
Mosquitoes thrive in damp areas, but you don’t have to live in a swamp to have a mosquito problem. Swamps are full of standing water, which makes them an ideal place for mosquitoes to breed. Standing water, however, is not necessarily a swamp. If you are seeing a large number of mosquitoes in or around your home, they are most likely breeding somewhere on your property. Clogged rain gutters, bird baths, fountains, rain barrels, plant trays—any one of these can provide enough standing water to harbor a mosquito population. The best form of mosquito extermination is prevention. Make sure that any place around your home where water sits for extended periods is kept clean or the water is regularly replaced (at least once a week is recommended).
While you can take measures to minimize standing water around your own home, it’s unlikely that you can do the same for your entire community. Mosquitoes don’t give a hoot about property lines, and they won’t call before they drop by.
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Aside from the obligatory citronella candles and bug zappers, there are other precautions you can take to keep mosquitoes away from your home. Examine all of your doors and windows. Replace any screens that are damaged (and therefore not “bug tight”). Exchange any white outdoor light bulbs with yellow ones, which attract fewer bugs. Set traps around your property and replace (or replenish) them regularly. Netting or screens can be installed or put up temporarily to help seal off porches, decks, and similar structures. Using mosquito repellent is suggested when spending long periods of time outdoors.
Mosquito extermination is not recommended on an individual level, as the chemicals used to kill populations should be handled by professionals. At the very least, a professional should be consulted before any mosquito extermination plan is put into effect.
Certain areas require state and local government assistance to control mosquitoes. These places have severe problems that pose a distinct health risk. Governments focus on the entire life cycle from larvae to adult. They use both chemical and biological methods of extermination. Public mosquito control programs are designed to pose very little risk to individual people (pesticide concentration is very low—around 3 ounces per acre is used to kill adult mosquitoes). In the areas where mosquito populations are densest, these programs are literally lifesavers.