With the mosquito populations worse than they have ever been, and the recent media firestorm surrounding the Zika virus, 2016 is proving to be the year of the mosquito. In fact, Bulwark Exterminating is being flooded with daily calls from people looking for relief from these pesky, blood-sucking pests.
The truth is that these pests are a major concern due to the diseases they transmit how they can negatively affect an economy by preventing outdoor recreation and production due to their significant annoyance.
The good news is that mosquitoes can be successfully managed through diligent efforts from both property owners and pest management professionals.
Here’s what you need to know about these annoying yet dangerous pests; your 2016 mosquito guide:
Understanding The Mosquito Basics
Both male and female adult mosquitoes feed on the nectar from plants to obtain nutrients to survive. Female mosquitoes also require the protein found in the blood of animals to support the production of eggs. Male mosquitoes do not require blood meals and therefor do not bite. Between the many species of mosquitoes, females can feed on human and animal blood both day and night.
Mosquito eggs must be laid in standing water to develop, and the eggs typically tend to hatch in just 1 to 3 days. Any object that is capable of retaining water for seven or more days is a potential production site for mosquitoes. This may include cans, rain barrels, and old tires. Under optimum conditions, a female mosquito can produce 50-500 eggs in her first brood.
Diseases Transmitted By Mosquitoes
It is said that mosquitoes pose a greater threat to human health and existence than any other animal worldwide. Malaria and Yellow Fever account for about 1,060,000 deaths per year worldwide. Although these diseases rarely occur in the US, these numbers are rising and outbreaks are expanding.
Some diseases that occur in the US as a result of mosquito bites include:
- West Nile Virus – Few cases have caused fatal neurological disease in humans.
- Zika Fever – A disease that can cause birth defects in pregnant women.
- Dengue – An illness caused by a virus that is spread through mosquito bites. Causes flu like symptoms and in rare cases leads to death.
What’s All This About Zika?
Zika virus has gained an increasing foothold across the Americas and Pacific islands. The virus, which is transmitted mainly via mosquitoes, is part of a group of viruses closely related to other mosquito-borne infections, including dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever. They’re geographically in similar areas, and they also have many of the same symptoms.
Once infected with Zika, only about 20% of people ever show symptoms of the virus, which most commonly include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
There is no vaccine or treatment available for the virus. One reason Zika is troubling is because it is a cause of birth defects including microcephaly (a condition where the baby’s head is abnormally small) in babies whose mothers have had Zika. The virus also been linked to a neurological condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Successful Mosquito Reduction: Inspection
Finding the areas where mosquitoes lay eggs is the crucial first step in controlling mosquitoes. Without treating or eliminating the source, mosquitoes will continue to be an ongoing battle.
Key inspection sites include:
- Ornamental ponds and natural bodies of water
- Green pools
- Containers/flower pots and discarded items that may be holding water
- Rain gutters and crawl spaces
- Old car tires
- Landscaping and irrigation systems
- Bird baths/fountains
- Holes in trees
- Wheel barrels
Essentially, any location capable of holding standing water for seven or more days is a potential production site for mosquitoes. Unneeded water receptacles should be emptied and discarded if possible.
Successful Mosquito Reduction: Treatment
A two method approach consisting of larvacide mosquito dunks combined with a standard barrier treatment is required to significantly reduce the mosquito population on your property.
Larvicide Mosquito Dunks
Larvacide mosquito dunks are an insecticide which is specifically targeted for the larval life stage of an insect. A tablet is introduced into the stagnant water where mosquito larvae are found. These mosquito dunks treat the ponds and/or other standing water sources, preventing mosquito larvae from growing into breeding, biting, adults.
Thick vegetation around a home can provide excellent resting sites for many mosquito species. Mosquitoes roost on the underside of leaves. Mosquito fogging is very effective method of leaving a residual product on the underside of leaves. By fogging the undersides of bushes and trees with a specialized pest control fogger with a combination of specific mosquito control product leaves a lasting residual where adult mosquitoes roost. Additionally, these products will also be picked up by the adults and transferred to water sites when eggs are laid. This will kill off adult mosquitoes and help halt the local population’s reproduction cycle.
Permanent Mosquito Control
The unfortunate truth is that mosquitoes can travel up to five miles looking for a blood meal. While taking the above treatment methods will drastically decrease the number of mosquitoes you’ll see in your home and on your property, a neighborhood effort must be made to rid yourself of them completely. Work with your neighbors to eliminate standing water on their property. Things like un-kept pools can be brought to the attention of local community agencies and HOA’s so they may be addressed.
Through diligent efforts from both property owners and pest management professionals, mosquitoes can be successfully managed.