The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.
What are some tips for mosquito control?
Nothing takes the fun out of an evening barbecue outdoors like a bunch of pesky mosquitoes. In addition to inflicting an irritating bite, mosquitoes can also transmit diseases. You can help keep the mosquito population under control by taking some simple steps to limit their areas of harborage on your property, and enjoy that barbeque after all!
Photo credit: star5112
Mosquitoes require water to breed. Simply put, without a moisture source, mosquitoes cannot breed and reproduce, it really is that simple. Mosquitos lay eggs in stagnant or slow moving water or on moist soil or on leaves in areas likely to collect water. By eliminating these water sources, you can keep new generations of mosquitoes from living in your yard.
Photo credit: Luz
1. Drill holes in the bottom of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. This is probably the most often overlooked source, and virtually all homes have outdoor trash receptacles.
2. Keep your gutters clean and unclogged. Make sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away to avoid puddling.
3. Keep any swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when they are not being used.
4. After a rain, take a stroll around your home and look for areas in the landscape that are not draining well. If you find puddles that remain for a day or more, you may need to re-grade the area.
5. Ornamental ponds should be aerated to keep water moving and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. You can also stock the pond with mosquito-eating fish. Yes, there is actually a fish called a “mosquitofish.”
6. Empty anything that holds water twice per week. Examples are bird baths, kiddie pools, garbage can lids, and pottery. In addition to remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls when not in use.
7. Remove any items that can hold water, including discarded aluminum cans and tires.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Even when doing everything that you can to eliminate mosquito habitat, some mosquitoes will still be around to ruin your evening. You can limit your exposure to the mosquitoes that remain by using effective repellents and barriers.
1. Window and door screens should fit snugly without gaps around the edges. Check your screens for holes and repair or replace them as needed.
2. Replace your outdoor lights with yellow “bug” lights. These lights do not actually repel insects, but mosquitoes and other pests are less likely to find them attractive and invade your yard.
3. When outdoors, apply a DEET-based insect repellent according to the directions on the label.
4. Use of some other commonly available repellent products, such as citronella candles and mosquito coils, may also be effective if used in windless conditions. Mosquitos are not great flyers, so a light breeze or even fans will also help keep them away.
Using some prudent preventative measures and being vigilant with eliminating potential harborages will go a long way towards making you summer a lot more pleasant. Corn on the cob tastes a little bit sweeter without mosquitoes “bugging” you.
For more mosquito tips, check out our expert pest control guide.
Do you have a question about bugs or pest control? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know on our Facebook page, in the comment section below, or by tweeting @insightpest. You may see the Bug Doctor’s answer to your question in a future post.
Posted in: Ask the Bug Doctor