Most people think of standing water when they think of mosquito prevention. Standing water is an important part of mosquito prevention, but it is important to understand mosquito eggs need water to hatch and thus areas that can temporarily hold water should also be a focus. So as we look into mosquito prevention, we need to look at the categories several important mosquito genera fall into and how to prevent them. We need to also understand specific species in each genus may fall into different categories.
Permanent Water Mosquitoes
Anopheles are carriers of the parasite that causes malaria. The adult females live about two weeks and tend to bite at dusk and dawn. They lay their eggs on the surface of water in groups of 50-200. The larva do not have breathing tubes and breath through spiracles on their side. They prefer clean water habitats such as swamps and ponds.
Culex lays rafts of eggs on water similar to Anopheles. Culex pipiens is the main carrier of West Nile Virus. The adult females can live about a month and lay eggs about every 3 nights. They tend to feed at dusk to a little after dark. Unlike Anopheles, which prefer clean water, Culex can thrive in stagnant and polluted water
For prevention of permanent water mosquitoes we need to focus on areas with permanent water on your property including a few listed below.
- Bird baths- Empty and clean at least once per week.
- Landscape ponds- Use mosquito dunks for ornamental ponds(Can be found at Lowe’s or Home Depot) or introduce mosquito fish into your pond.
- Children’s Pools-Keep emptied when not in use.
Psorophora lay their eggs on dirt, dried mud, or debris where they can withstand months or years of desiccation. This genus has species who are aggressive biters but have not been proven to transmit diseases.
For prevention of floodwater mosquitoes we need to focus on areas of the property that tend to hold water temporarily.
- Drainage ditches-Remove debris and vegetation to insure proper drainage.
- Low spots in lawn that can puddle after a rain- Fill area and reseed to prevent pooling water.
- Gutters-Remove debris to allow proper drainage and prevent pooling water.
- Flat Roofs-Remove debris and insure roof does not accumulate standing water following a rain.
Aedes mosquitoes develop in water holding containers such as tree holes, discarded tires, pet dishes, bird baths, flower pots, and many more. Aedes are carriers of many diseases such as Zika, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. Unlike most mosquitoes, Aedes are active and only bite during the day with the highest activity occurring early morning or evenings prior to dusk.
For prevention of container mosquitoes we need to focus on all containers around the property that hold water.
- Garbage Cans/Lids-Keep lids on garbage cans to prevent water accumulation in lids and bottom of garbage can.
- Flower Pots-Remove bases and allow pots to drain and prevent water accumulation.
- Tires-Properly discard from property to a land field.
- Stumps/Tree Holes-Drain water and fill holes with sand.
- Tarps/Covers-Inspect covers for grills, boats, etc. for water and drain. Pull tarps tight to prevent ongoing issue.
- Corrugated drain pipes-Inspect and drain water from corrugated pipes on downspouts for gutters.
- Pet Water Bowls-Clean and replace with fresh water daily.
- Other Containers(Cups, bowls, etc.) -Discard if possible or keep water drained.
Another preventative measure for mosquitoes is to reduce the amount of dense vegetation on your property and keep treated with a properly labeled product. Mosquito adults use this for resting sites.
If you have additional questions on mosquito prevention or need assistance on controlling mosquitoes at your home or business in East Tennessee, call Epituer Pest Solutions, LLC at 865-363-1155 or contact us online.