Mosquito Prevention and Control
Mosquitoes are quite simply the insects we love to hate. As the temperatures climb, we find ourselves trying to spend more and more time outdoors, simply to have those pesky little insects ruin it. Mosquitoes are not just annoying though; we have good reason to avoid them. They spread diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile Virus from people to people or even from animals to people. While no one method has been found to completely eliminate mosquitoes in an area, there are a number of natural and chemical methods to preventing and controlling mosquito populations.
The most effective way to control mosquito populations is to prevent mosquitoes from making more mosquitoes. If you can keep them from reproducing, you can likely make your backyard a little more bearable in the mornings and evenings when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes spend 3 of their 4 life stages in the water; more specifically, in standing or stagnant water. Mosquitoes deposit their eggs on the surface of standing water in puddles, ponds, bird baths and more. The surface tension of the water keeps the eggs from drowning and eventually they hatch into larvae. The first logical step in the prevention of mosquitoes is to eliminate all the standing water in your area. Easier said than done, however, eliminating standing water does not necessarily mean that you eliminate all of the water nearby. While you should prevent small pools of standing water in garbage can lids, buckets, automobile or vehicle covers; more often you will eliminate standing water simply by moving it around. Moving water has less surface tension and prevents eggs from floating on the top of the water. The eggs deposited on moving water simply sink to the bottom and drown. Break the surface tension in bird baths by using a wiggler, dripper, or fountain. Moving water also attracts more birds. Add a fountain to your water garden or pond to eliminate standing pools or add minnows that eat mosquito eggs and larvae. You might also find granular or liquid products that break water tension and prevent mosquito reproduction.
While it is never too late to start preventing mosquito outbreaks, sometimes you are faced with an existing problem of adult mosquitoes. There are a number of organic and chemical ways to control adult mosquitoes. A popular notion is that attracting purple martins, bats, and other wildlife is effective at controlling mosquitoes. Although no study has clearly shown that housing purple martins, bats, or other wildlife will offer a complete solution to a mosquito problem; mosquitoes do represent a portion of their diet and they can be supplementary. Conservation of this wildlife is also rewarding in itself. Planting mosquito-unfriendly items, like rosemary, catnip, or citronella grass can also help in keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Using sprays, creams, or candles while you enjoy the outdoors is always a good idea when mosquitoes are a nuisance. Perhaps, the most effective way of dealing with adult mosquitoes is chemical means. Granular repellents, insecticidal fogs, and mosquito traps all provide some temporary relief. Used with good practice of prevention, these ideas can all be put to use to control your mosquito problem and enjoy more of your outdoor space.
Reducing the mosquito population in your area will allow you to minimize your risk of catching a mosquito carried illness, increase your time spent outdoors, or simply enjoy your time more. By both preventing mosquitoes from reproducing and controlling the adult population, you can have your best chance for a pest-free summer.