Super Mosquitoes: What Homeowners Need to Know – Home Team Pest Defense
             

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Super Mosquitoes: What Homeowners Need to Know

 

Courtesy of WFLA-TV in Tampa

HomeTeam experts in Florida have been called upon this week by news media in Tampa and Orlando to comment on the so-called "super mosquito." Some researchers expect these larger-than-normal mosquitoes to swarm in greater numbers this year due in part to the mild winter. The general consensus among HomeTeam experts and entomologists is for homeowners to prepare for the mosquito season, as they should every year in Florida and elsewhere.

Did you know that Orlando was formerly named Mosquito County1, due to the large populations of these annoying pests? The "super mosquito," which is actually called the Gallinipper mosquito, is common in Florida but is typically found only in wooded areas, in small populations. The Gallinipper mosquito is much larger than the more common tiger, anopheles or culex variety.

HomeTeam experts offer the following advice for homeowners to prevent mosquitoes from taking up residence in their yard to protect their families and pets:

  • Dump anything that holds water every 48 hours. Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, footbaths, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days. Keep your property clean of items that can hold water, including discarded aluminum cans and bottle caps.
  • Avoid overwatering your lawn. Mosquitoes are attracted to water and often their populations become condensed in residential areas during periods of drought (and watered lawns become the only water source).
  • Repair broken sprinkler heads that leak water and create flooded areas. Even the smallest amount of water held in a leaf or bottle cap can be enough for mosquitoes to breed. The life cycle of a mosquito is very short and develops from an egg to an adult in one week.
  • Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.
  • Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use. Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a mosquito nursery. Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving and discourage mosquitoes from laying eggs.
  • HomeTeam experts talk to WFLA-TV in Tampa

  • Keep gutters clean and unclogged. Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.
  • Maintain your yard. Mulch and leaf litter are likely to collect water, and mosquitoes (who have very poor eyesight) are attracted to the smell of decaying compost.

HomeTeam experts also recommend that residents apply a DEET-based insect repellent (according to the directions on the label) and wear light-colored, long sleeved shirt and pants for an extra layer of protection when outdoors. Mosquitoes are most active during the early morning and late evening, so avoid outdoor activity during dusk and dawn. For more information about how you can control pests in your home and yard, visit pestdefense.com.

1Source: University of South Florida, http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps/galleries/county/mosquito/index.php

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