We’re all welcoming the chance to head outdoors and grill on the patio or enjoy our backyards and parks, but here’s one returning guest nobody welcomes: mosquitoes.
With their pesky buzzing and painful biting, mosquitoes don’t just annoy us, they can also transmit serious diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus and dengue fever.
Now is the time to take proactive steps for home pest control, to minimize mosquitoes in and around your home and yard. It’s also important to know how to protect yourself when you head outdoors where mosquitoes are swarming and ready to bite.
Mosquitoes are a seasonal pest problem all over the United States. Generally, mosquito season begins in early spring, peaks in the summer and ends with the first freeze. In places where the temperatures never dip below freezing, mosquitoes may be active year-round.
Weather often affects the mosquito population. A long, hot summer affords mosquitoes more opportunities to breed and bite; wet weather creates more standing water, mosquitoes’ favorite breeding grounds.
Mosquitoes feed by biting people or animals. They draw minute amounts of blood, leaving saliva that can cause itchy welts. If a mosquito bites an infected human or animal, it can transmit the disease to its next victim. Currently, West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.
Mosquitoes’ prime “dining hours” are at dawn and dusk. Your best pest defense is to stay indoors during those times. If you do venture out, apply a safe repellant with DEET for the best protection from bites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using an EPA-registered insect repellent for protection against mosquito-borne diseases. You can find spray, stick, cream or clip-on repellant products. Be sure to apply for full coverage over your entire body, always in well-ventilated areas. Avoid spraying repellents into eyes, cuts or scrapes.
Note the DEET concentration level of the product you’re using. Different brands of repellent feature different levels. For protection against both mosquitoes and ticks, the CDC recommends using a personal repellent with 20% or more DEET. Follow directions on the product package for proper application.
Just like sunscreen, you must reapply mosquito repellent every few hours. As a general rule of thumb, products with 7% DEET last up to two hours and those with 25% DEET can last up to 10 hours. If you’re sweating or swimming, or if it’s raining, you’ll need to apply more often.
If you’re outdoors often, especially in the wilderness, consider wearing light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes are more attracted to dark-colored clothing.
To keep the mosquito population to a minimum in your yard, eliminate places where they can breed. Start by getting rid of standing water. Just a thimbleful of standing water is enough to harbor mosquito larvae. Also:
Indoors, the best method of pest control for mosquitoes is keeping the pesky critters out in the first place. Repair or replace damaged window screens. Add screen doors, door sweeps or other barriers where mosquitoes find their way in.
Low-tech solutions like fly swatters are fine for nabbing a few that sneak in here and there. But if you’re noticing large numbers of mosquitoes indoors, check dark, humid places to find out where they’re hiding: under sinks, in closets, under furniture or in the laundry room. If you discover a mosquito population in your home, be sure to contact a pest professional.
If mosquitoes become a persistent pest problem in your home or yard, HomeTeam can help. We’ll provide a thorough inspection of your home’s perimeter and identify potential breeding areas. We can treat live infestations and recommend a mosquito management plan to keep your home pest-free. Learn more about our mosquito control service here, or call 855-855-4873.