Mosquito Madness

Mosquito Madness

Vector Vexation

Depending on where you live different species of mosquitoes will be prevalent and they can carry various diseases.  Mosquitoes are one of the most common and virulent vectors (insects or organisms which transmit pathogens).  They are responsible for spreading diseases like malaria, West Nile encephalitis, western equine encephalitis and dengue fever.  Mosquitoes can also spread heartworm to our furry family members.  It seems like every year there is a new threat out there and more mosquitoes to contend with, how does something called West Nile virus even get here? And when it does, how does it survive? The global community and long distance shipping allow insects, fungal pathogens and bacteria to travel to places they may never have made it on their own while changing weather patterns and climate change may allow them to survive long enough to reproduce in their new environment, repeated reproduction will eventually lead to adaptation and survival.  Eradicating mosquitoes and disease worldwide is not a realistic solution, some communities do perform town-wide mosquito sprays but even that is controversial depending on what pesticide is used and the quantities needed. However, personal and property protection may be the most effective and safest way to go about vector control.

Carrier Control

So now that you are completely paranoid and unwilling to leave your house until winter comes back killing all these insidious, disease carrying beasts, let’s talk about what you can do to keep you, your family and your property mosquito free.

  • Eliminate Potential Environs:

An important part of mosquito control is eliminating potential places for egg laying, mosquitoes require water for 2 stages in their life cycle, removing standing water and places where water can collect and become static.  Make sure your gutters are clean and unclogged, discard tires, unused children’s toys, buckets and plastic covers and anything else which will collect water.  Empty and change water in bird baths, fountains, pools, rain barrels and trays under plants as frequently as possible. And keep swimming pool filtered, moving and treated and drain pool at the end of the season.

  • Ban the Bite:

Use EPA registered insect repellants according the label whenever exposure is imminent.  Cover up as much as possible when outdoors, long sleeves and pants when it can be tolerated and tuck clothing to close gaps.  Sunrise, sunset and early evening are prime mosquito hours, if feasible, stay indoors during these hours.  Check with your hardware store for yellow, outdoor bulbs which are less attractive to insects.  To prevent mosquitoes entering your home make sure door and window screens are intact and tightly fitted.

  • Protection Using Pesticides

Control via pesticide can be attained at larval and adult life cycle stages.  Larvacides can be an oil or film which would disperse a thin layer on water’s surface which will drown pupae.  Chemical larvicides such as organophosphates, bacterial insecticides and growth inhibitors come in liquids, tablets, pellets or briquettes and need to be applied directly to water bodies by a licensed applicator. Adulticides need to be administered as an ultra low volume spray by trained, licensed pesticide applicators. Organophosphate and synthetic pyrethroid formulations can be very effective adulticide sprays. Contact your arborist about how best to control mosquitoes on your property, they will help you devise an integrated management plan to safeguard your family, home and pets from mosquitoes and vector borne illnesses.