Successful long term mosquito control requires a knowledge of where and how they develop. All mosquitoes pass through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The number of days from egg to adult varies with species and temperature. Under ideal conditions, some mosquitoes can complete their cycle of development from egg to adult in less than a week. |
The most effective way to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and neighborhoods is to find and eliminate their breeding sites - standing water. Adults of some mosquito species remain near their breeding site. Others can travel long distances, even up to several miles. Because of this, problem mosquitoes may come from breeding sites some distance away.
Regardless of recent weather patterns - wet, dry, warm, or cool - there are plenty of potential places in which mosquitoes can develop. A neglected bird bath, swimming pool, or clogged rain gutter can produce hundreds of new mosquitoes in a just a few days. Trees uprooted by storms leave soil depressions that collect seepage and rainwater. Large areas of standing water, such as from swamps, sluggishly moving streams or ditches may require efforts beyond those of individual property owners.
However, there are effective steps that individuals can take to minimize mosquito breeding on their property:
Dispose of old tires, buckets, aluminum cans, plastic sheeting or other refuse that can hold water. Empty accumulated water from trash cans, boats, wheel barrows, pet dishes, and flower pot bottoms. If possible, turn these items over when they are not in use. Clean debris from rain gutters and unclog obstructed downspouts. Clogged rain gutters are one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around homes. Remove any standing water on flat roofs or around structures. Repair leaking faucets and air conditioners that produce puddles for several days. Change water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week and keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated. Ornamental pools can be aerated or stocked with mosquito-eating fish. Aeration / water movement helps because mosquitoes prefer quiet, non-flowing water for egg-laying and development. Fill or drain ditches and swampy areas, and other soil depressions and remove, drain, or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar or sealant to prevent accumulation of water. Eliminate standing water and seepage around animal watering troughs, cisterns, and septic tanks. Be sure that cistern screens are intact and that access covers fit tightly. Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
It is a very common misconception among the public that streams, ponds and lakes and are mosquito breeding habitats.Mosquitoes cannot breed successfully in flowing water, and streams can only produce mosquitoes when they dry up and leave shallow, stagnant puddles in the stream bed.
Mosquito larvae associated with permanent bodies of water generally live where the water is shallow and weeds, debris, emergent grasses or some sort of aquatic vegetation shelters the mosquito larvae from fish and other predators.Relatively few mosquito species actually breed in permanent bodies of water such as marshes or swamps. Most of the mosquito species associated with marshes or swamps actually breed in temporary pools along the margins of these habitats.
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