Why Professional Mosquito Control Is The Way To Go In D.C.
After a long, hot summer day, is there anything better than grabbing a cold drink and some snacks, and heading outside to relax in your backyard? Unfortunately, there is if you have an out of control mosquito problem! Although mosquitoes will bite you at any time of day, it’s in the evening when the sun begins to set and the temperature starts to cool off that mosquitoes come out in full force. Just when you’re ready to enjoy your yard, mosquitoes do everything in their power to drive you back inside. In these moments, you may be tempted to try to get rid of mosquitoes on your own, but there are compelling reasons why professional mosquito control is the way to go.
What Are Mosquitoes?
One of the most well-known (and most hated) summer pests, mosquitoes are common all over the world. In the United States alone there are over 170 species of mosquitoes. The most common species of mosquito in D.C. are the common house mosquito, the yellow fever mosquito, and the Asian tiger mosquito.
Mosquitoes are insects with six long, skinny legs, narrow bodies, and a set of wings. Their colors vary based on the species, but often look brown or gray from our vantage point. They are small, typically about a quarter-inch to half an inch in length. Mosquitoes have a pair of feathery antennae.
The most notorious part of mosquitoes’ anatomy is their mouthparts because they are the part of the mosquito responsible for biting. Known as the proboscis, mosquito mouthparts are not one single long spear, but six stylets that work together to pierce your skin and find your blood.
Something many people aren’t aware of is that not all mosquitoes bite humans. In fact, half the mosquito population feeds only on nectar. Only female mosquitoes require blood meals. Blood contains proteins that female mosquitoes need to reproduce. So although all mosquitoes eat nectar, only the female mosquitoes need blood.
What Problems Do Mosquitoes Cause?
As the deadliest animal in the world, it’s safe to say that mosquitoes cause a lot of problems. Over one million people die every year from mosquito-related illnesses, and although those numbers are much lower here in the United States, mosquitoes still cause serious illnesses, some of which can lead to death, even right here in Washington D.C.
Before getting into serious illnesses though, let’s take a moment to discuss the more minor problems mosquitoes cause.
First, getting covered in mosquito bites is simply annoying. They itch like crazy for days and leave you covered in unsightly red bumps. Furthermore, if you can’t resist the urge to scratch them, you could scratch open your skin, which can lead to secondary infections.
Second, mosquitoes ruin your time spent outdoors. While they’re not typically too bothersome during the day, as soon as late afternoon and early evening hits, they come out in force. If you want to eat dinner on your back patio, invite friends over for a weekend get together, or simply enjoy a night outside, mosquitoes will do their best to ruin your plans. Oftentimes, it feels like the only solution is to go inside and hope you don’t bring any in with you.
Beyond the more irritating problems mosquitoes cause are the far more serious ones. Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting many serious illnesses through their bites. Here in Washington D.C. some of the more well-known illnesses you can contract from a mosquito bite include:
West Nile Virus
The most common mosquito-borne illness in the US, West Nile virus only causes symptoms in about 20% of the people who contract it, and far fewer develop serious complications.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include fevers, headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. There are no treatments specific to West Nile virus, and although severe cases can require hospitalization, most recover on their own.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus
Although very rare, the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) is extremely dangerous. It causes a brain infection that has about a 30% mortality rate. Many people who survive EEE end up with ongoing neurological problems.
Symptoms of EEE include fevers, chills, headaches, seizures, and more. There is no treatment specific to EEE, but if you suspect you have it, you should be evaluated by a doctor.
Zika virus made the news several years ago when it hit the United States. Although most people experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, those who do typically have a fever, rash, headache, joint pain, and more. There is no treatment for Zika virus, and most people recover without needing medical intervention. The most serious problem with Zika virus is for pregnant women, as the virus can be transmitted to unborn babies and cause serious birth defects of the brain.
Dengue viruses typically cause illness in about 25% of the people who get infected. Most of these people will have mild symptoms, including fever, nausea, muscle pain, joint pain, and more. In a small percentage of people, symptoms can become severe and life-threatening within a few hours.
There is no specific treatment for dengue, but serious cases require medical care.
Most people who contract Chikungunya virus will develop symptoms, the most common of which are fever and joint pain. Although it rarely causes death, Chikungunya tends to cause severe symptoms. Even after recovery, some people deal with lingering joint pain for months afterward. There is no specific treatment for Chikungunya virus. You should treat the symptoms and try to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito during the first week as you can pass the virus to the mosquito which can then infect other people.
What Are Some Common DIY Mosquito Control Methods?
Do it yourself techniques are popular for everything from home projects to gift-giving, and it’s no different when it comes to mosquito control. All it takes is a quick Google search to find dozens of ideas for how to get rid of mosquitoes on your own.
For those who wish to use natural methods, many plants are touted for their mosquito repelling properties. These include citronella, bee balm, basil, geranium, and lemongrass, among others.
There are also plenty of recipes online using the oils of these plants to make homemade, all-natural mosquito repellents.
Of course, there are also pre-made mosquito repellents that may or may not be all-natural. DEET is a well-known mosquito repellent that you can spray on your clothing to keep mosquitoes away.
Many websites suggest buying a big jug of mosquito repellent from them and treating your yard yourself.
To keep mosquitoes away from your general vicinity while you spend time outdoors, many websites suggest using citronella candles, fans, or bug appears.
Do DIY Mosquito Control Methods Work?
Although DIY techniques sound safe or cheaper than professionally-applied techniques, what really matters is whether they work or not. Spending money on methods that don’t work is always a waste of money. Attempting dangerous methods is always a bad idea.
Creating a garden that repels mosquitoes sounds like a good idea. It can help keep mosquitoes away, but it will only work in that specific area. Unless you have a way of placing these plants everywhere on your property, you’ll still end up with mosquitoes all over your yard.
People have varying success with DIY all-natural mosquito repellents. Some people swear by them and others say they don’t work. It’s important to know what you’re doing when making these concoctions because some are not meant to be applied directly to the skin and can harm you if not used properly.
DEET does work to keep mosquitoes off of you, but some people don’t like using such a strong chemical, especially so close to their bodies.
Treating your lawn with store-bought chemicals might work, but the risks are significant. The directions must be carefully followed for the safety of you and your family. Furthermore, depending on the product you’re using, it could be dangerous for other animals that you don’t want to harm.
Citronella candles work about as well as the citronella plant. They might keep mosquitoes away from the candle, but they’ll still buzz around you. Fans will keep mosquitoes away from you while they’re on, but they’ll do nothing to get rid of the mosquitoes on your property. They also make sitting outside somewhat unpleasant since you’ll have wind constantly blowing on you. Bug zappers are completely useless against mosquitoes since mosquitoes are drawn to carbon dioxide, not light.
How Does Professional Mosquito Control Work?
By choosing professional mosquito control from American Pest instead of using DIY methods, you not only receive treatment from a company with nearly one hundred years of experience treating the pest problems of Washington D.C., but also the peace of mind of knowing that the treatment will be performed safely and effectively.
We begin by inspecting your property to determine where adult mosquitoes spend their days and where they breed. This helps us target our treatments to the areas of your property that will yield the most effective results.
During treatment, we spray the areas where adult mosquitoes rest during the day. These areas most often include the shrubbery, bushes, and grasses around your lawn. We also treat the breeding areas to eliminate mosquitoes before they even have a chance to grow into biting adults. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of standing water to hatch their eggs, so areas with excess moisture and standing water are where we focus these treatments.
American Pest offers monthly mosquito control treatments during mosquito season to keep the mosquito populations in your yard as low as possible. We also provide one-time treatments for special occasions. With our Pest Free Pledge, you can’t go wrong. If you don’t see a significant reduction in the mosquito populations around your yard, we’ll return to your home to re-treat for free.
Protect your family from the dangerous illnesses mosquitoes spread and make your yard an enjoyable place to spend time with the help of American Pest. Contact us to learn more about our mosquito control program and to schedule an inspection.
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