One of the easiest and surest ways to control mosquitoes around the home is to eliminate standing-water breeding sites. Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways. |
Mosquitoes breed in areas where there is standing water or temporary pools. Mosquitoes commonly breed in saltmarshes, swamps and areas flooded by snow melts and spring rains. However, a small collection of water around a home can breed thousands of mosquitoes. Some common sites are bird baths, roof gutters, catch basins, rain barrels, swimming pools, wading pools, cesspools, septic tanks, tires, paint buckets, tin cans, yard debris, tree holes and anywhere that holds a small collection of water.
Elimination of Breeding Sites:
Containers such as wading pools or bird baths should be flushed weekly with clean water. Filtering systems for swimming pools should keep a swimming pool free from immature mosquitoes. Seal openings to standing-water sources such as septic tanks or rainwater barrels. Search for and eliminate standing-water sources. Old tires or discarded containers of most any sort can collect water and attract the female mosquito for her egg laying. One tire holds enough water to breed thousands of mosquitoes. Drainage ditches, pools with lots of vegetation and sites such as roof gutters and storm drains, which occasionally hold water, can breed mosquitoes. Areas that contain fish and other natural enemies of mosquito larvae, like amphibians and insects, are not effective breeding sites because these animals eat the larvae. If waterways are clogged with vegetation, mosquitoes can survive. Check natural sites like holes in trees or stumps where water can accumulate, and fill or prevent entry by adult mosquitoes.
There are three types of control strategies targeting mosquitoes. The best of these methods is source reduction. Source reduction is the elimination or manipulation of aquatic habitats known to produce mosquitoes. An example of this is eliminating small collections of water around the home. The second most common method is mosquito larviciding. This refers to applying environmentally-benign products to kill larvae, the aquatic stage. An example of this is the bacteria B.t.i, "mosquito dunks," which can be purchased in stores. Mosquito dunks are not harmful to fish, animals or humans. The third, and least preferred method of control, is mosquito adulticiding. This requires the use of broad-spectrum insecticides, which can be harmful to fish, birds and other animals.
Several types of traps which claim to provide mosquito control are available. However, most of these are not effective in controlling mosquito populations. Ultraviolet lights and bug zappers are widely advertised--however they attract very few mosquitoes and should not be used for mosquito reduction. Other mosquito traps are also becoming available and may reduce mosquito populations if used correctly. However, some of these traps may be very expensive.
A great deal of research has gone into finding and developing effective insect repellents. Some compounds that were once recommended have been removed from the market because of possible side effects upon humans. Repellents containing DEET N-diethyl-meta-toluamide are the most effective and commonly used repellents. DEET is very effective for most people. Research has shown that products containing DEET in concentrations higher than 30% are unnecessary and increase the possibility of adverse skin reactions. Some people show allergic sensitivity to DEET, particularly in higher concentrations. Before using a repellent, check your personal sensitivity. Be very careful not to use DEET repellents around the eyes, nose or mouth. Repellents containing DEET should not be used on very small children. Repellents containing natural products such as clove oil, citronella, peppermint or combinations of these and other odors are also available, and may provide some temporary repellency. Other products such as citronella candles and mosquito coils may also provide additional protection.
For more control ideas and assistance, check out the sites below:
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