Not All Mosquito Prevention Is Created Equal
We're sure that you have heard about all the trouble mosquitoes are causing across the globe, including right here in the United States. You may even be tempted to brush some of these stories off as hype, but that would not be a wise decision. Many of those stories about mosquitoes and the dangerous and debilitating diseases that they spread to people are true, and probably the ones that aren’t are at least based on fact. Whether you are hearing about West Nile virus, Dengue fever, Malaria, or Zika virus, it is important to understand that mosquitoes do spread these diseases to people – even here in the U.S.
Certainly, if you are going to be out in areas that commonly host these tiny pests, you should take precautions and apply appropriate repellent; but what about in your own yard? You can’t walk around all summer long endlessly applying repellents with DEET to your skin. But you still want to enjoy time barbecuing and playing in your own yard without the threat of contracting a mosquito-borne illness. In order to limit risk, you have to limit populations on your property.
Fact vs. Fiction in Mosquito Control
What doesn't work?
There are a few things that you can do that work to help prevent mosquitoes from choosing your yard to breed in, but there are also a few things that won’t. Let’s take a look at a few of each and try to separate fact from fiction when it comes to mosquito control. First, let’s look at the top 4 fables.
Citronella candles - While these candles may, in fact, keep mosquitoes from flying near them, they only slightly help and only in a very small radius from where they are placed. These candles do not kill mosquitoes, they do not harm mosquito larvae, and they do absolutely nothing about limiting populations in your yard.
Fans – While it is true that mosquitoes are very poor flyers, placing fans around your yard has limited success and it will drive up your electric bill unnecessarily. Sure, the extra wind kicked up by fans could help to keep mosquitoes from flying in the direct flow of the air, but everywhere else in your yard will be fair game.
General Yard Sprays – This DIY favorite will kill any mosquitoes that it comes in contact with, but how many mosquitoes do you know that would fly into a spray as it comes out of the can? And, once the fumes have dissipated, the effectiveness is over. The population of mosquitoes in your yard will continue to breed and expand, not even noticing the few that died as a result of your spray.
Homemade Mosquito Traps – This new fad will fade almost as quickly as it arose. Sure, when you mix brown sugar, yeast, and water and place it into a jug, the mosquitoes will come running (or should I say flying), but those few that actually get caught inside the jar do not even compare with the numbers that are attracted to your property by your mixture. Once there, they will breed and lay eggs, and before you know it, you will have a population explosion on your hands.
What Does Work?
While we have certainly burst the bubble on a few of the old favorites that simply do not work or that aren’t very effective, let’s take a glance at the top 4 tips that do work.
DEET – Insect repellent containing DEET is very effective at controlling mosquito bites when frequently applied while you are active outside, but it does nothing to eliminate mosquito numbers in your yard. However, it is a great solution when you are out hiking, biking, or doing any other activity that keeps you outside during mosquito season.
Proper Clothing – Wearing the right stuff on your body can surely help you avoid mosquito bites; but, again, it does nothing about the number of mosquitoes in your yard. Wearing light colors, long sleeves, and pants to keep as much of your body covered as possible deters mosquito bites. Tucking your pants into socks and wearing closed-toed shoes is also helpful.
Eliminating Standing Water Sources – This is, perhaps, one of the best things that you can do to discourage mosquitoes in your yard. If the female mosquito does not have a stagnant water source in which to lay her eggs, the population will decline. Identifying and eliminating sources where water collects is the key to the success of this tip; and remember, mosquitoes only need a capful of water to lay eggs. Common sources to look for are: clogged gutters, kid’s outdoor toys, pools, plant pots and saucers, uncovered trash cans, old paint cans and other debris, old tires, and divots in your lawn.
Professional Mosquito Reduction Services – This is truly the only proven way to drastically reduce mosquito populations in your yard; and if you live in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or the greater D.C. area, then you can rely on the expert mosquito control services from American Pest.
The first step in controlling mosquitoes in your Northern Virginia, Maryland, or D.C. area yard is calling American Pest. Our technician will arrive and perform a thorough inspection to identify the nesting and resting sites on your property. Next, a mosquito and tick repellent will be applied to bushes, shrubs, and areas that retain moisture that cannot be eliminated. Finally, all breeding areas will be treated with a biological mosquito larvicide that will kill mosquitoes that have not fully developed. Treatments will be applied once a month through the active season, typically April thru September; and you are guaranteed to see far fewer mosquitoes and ticks on your property.
To learn more about American Pest, our year-round residential or commercial pest control plans, our effective seasonal mosquito and tick control solutions, or any of our other industry-leading services, contact us today.
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