The week of June 26 – July 1, 2016 has been declared the twentieth annual “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week” by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). Did you know mosquitoes are in the same group as flies? In fact, they are in the order Diptera which includes midges, sandflies, blowflies and our current nemesis, mosquitoes. Modern information is leading us to fear mosquitoes more than ever due to the surge of Zika virus outbreaks, but these insects are also responsible for many other diseases that affect both humans and animals. Mosquitoes are vectors, which means they have the ability to spread disease with every bite – making them dangerous to every mammal upon which they dine.
There are over 3,500 types of mosquitoes that have been identified throughout the world and 170 alone in the United States. Each species is a particular vector for disease and some transmit numerous types of illness. The recent connection between Zika virus and its attending side affects to human fetuses has many people concerned in the Northern Hemisphere, where mosquito diseases are not as prevalent as they are in many other countries. Other dangerous diseases spread by mosquitoes include:
- West Nile
- Louis encephalitis
- LaCrosse encephalitis
- Eastern and Western equine encephalitis
Female mosquitoes must typically dine on blood before they lay eggs, which exposes their chosen victim to a host of potential diseases. Keeping your home and environment free of these pests not only prevents those annoying itchy bumps, but safeguards you and your family from dangerous diseases.
How to Get Rid of Mosquito Pests
There are many easy things you can do around the home to minimize these pests.
- Keeping your grass short and removing some of your tree limbs to allow sunlight into the garden will help repel mosquitoes.
- Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water so, to prevent the next generation, dump any accumulated water that may be sitting around your property.
- Mosquitoes prefer a shady area during the day and can hide under yard debris and bushes. Keep all materials cleaned up in your garden to prevent giving these pests a place to rest.
- Check screen doors so they don’t get inside and wear long-sleeved clothing when spending time outdoors.
Do My Own Pest Control recommends using a larvicide in areas of standing and slow-moving water where larvae can hatch. These might be bird baths, ponds and other places that rainwater can accumulate but cannot be dumped. Some of the company’s other tips include using a mosquito control kit, which might include insect growth regulating sprays, larvicide, safe pyrethrin-based insecticide and the equipment necessary to treat large areas of the garden. Their products focus on safe mosquito removal and prevention, using such items as Bonide Mosquito Beater with a natural bacteria called Bti as its active ingredient. For broad spectrum insect pest control, Talstar can be used where pests play without any fear and kills over 75 insects, including mosquitoes. It relies upon bifenthrin, a pyrethroid insecticide, which has a low toxicity in mammals but should not be used near fish or other aquatic organisms.
During the height of summer, we all want to be outside playing, barbecuing and enjoying the beautiful evenings without worrying about mosquito bites and their associated dangers. Some basic maintenance and yard prep can help minimize the risks, especially when paired with a do-it-yourself pest control kit. It’s a relief to know that there are companies whose commitment to safety in their products can help us all live better and protect those we love.