When the weather is warm, your yard is green and everything is in bloom, there’s nothing more tempting than hanging out on your deck—unless you’re plagued by mosquitoes the minute you head outside. These thirsty bloodsuckers can ruin a space that should be your peaceful refuge. If you’re wondering how to keep mosquitoes away from your deck, prepare for it to take time and vigilance on your part to make a dent in their numbers. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep mosquito populations low in your yard.
Dump or Clear Out Standing Water
The first thing to know about mosquitoes is that they need water to breed. Making sure there is no standing water on your deck or anywhere nearby is key to keeping mosquitoes away. If there’s even a bit of water left over after a rain, or after watering your grass or potted plants, it’s enough for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
To keep mosquitoes away from your deck, check any places in your yard where water might collect. This might include inside planters and pots, birdbaths, children’s toys, buckets, wheelbarrows and old tires. Low spots in the yard are another place that might stay damp after watering or after it rains. So are piles of dead leaves on the ground under a dripping faucet or hose.
Your deck itself might also be hiding the source of your mosquito problem. If there is space underneath your deck, it’s possible that rain water might be dripping between the deck boards. As water collects underneath, it creates a prime spot for mosquito breeding. Similarly, gutters are another spot where mosquitoes often breed. If the gutters are clogged with leaves and other debris, water can start to collect and become a great spot for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
Maintain Your Yard
Along with clearing out standing water, maintaining your property is another important step. Having your gutters cleaned will help keep mosquitoes away over the long term, as well as keeping up with yard work throughout the year. Mosquitoes hang out in tall grasses and bushes when they aren’t buzzing around. Keeping your grass clipped and bushes trimmed will cut down on their hiding spots. Raking up leaves and clearing away underbrush will also help to cut down on mosquito populations. This will help by reducing damp places where they might lay eggs. The same goes for fixing leaky hoses or drainage issues in the yard that create damp spots where mosquitoes can breed.
Reach Out to a Professional
If keeping up with regular landscaping and property maintenance doesn’t fit into your schedule, or if you routinely follow all these suggestions and you still have a mosquito problem, it’s time to reach out to a professional for help. Many homeowners sign up for ongoing mosquito control services because it’s so tough to get rid of these pests on your own. Most people find that a combination of do-it-yourself efforts and professional pest treatments is the most effective way to deal with mosquitoes. This way, they can enjoy their outdoor space during the warmer months of the year.
As we previously mentioned, mosquitoes need water in order to reproduce; these pests lay their eggs in water, and for many types of mosquitoes, even just a tiny amount of water will do. Mosquito eggs can take anywhere from just a few days, in the right conditions, to several months to hatch into larvae. But can mosquito larvae live outside of water?
Can Mosquito Larvae Live Outside of Water?
The quick answer is no—mosquito larvae cannot live outside of water. That’s why dumping out standing water around your yard is such a helpful aspect of mosquito control.
The trouble with getting rid of standing water, of course, is that it can collect in so many places that it’s hard to find them all. And when the weather is unpredictable, such as in spring when it might rain off and on for weeks, it’s hard to keep up with it. Even if you know all the spots around your yard where water collects, this can still be a time-consuming task. But, this is a very important aspect of getting rid of mosquitoes outdoors, since it reduces the number of spots where they can lay their eggs and reproduce.
Here are places and conditions to look for in your yard, where water might collect after it rains or after you water the grass, flowerbeds or potted plants:
- gardening containers like buckets, empty flower pots or plant saucers;
- children’s toys including wagons, water tables, buckets and shovels, sandboxes or basketball hoops with water in the base;
- old tires;
- piles of dead leaves or underbrush that stay damp after a rain;
- leaky hoses or hose bibs;
- gutters blocked by leaves and debris, so the rainwater inside can’t drain properly and
- low spots in the grass or dirt where water has trouble draining away after a rain.
If you find water in any of these places, dump it out or repair it so water can’t collect there in the future. In the case of damp piles of leaves or other debris, rake these up and clear them away so mosquitoes can’t use the moisture to reproduce.
Of course, you might have places in your yard with water that can’t or shouldn’t be drained, such as a pool or fishpond. Maintaining your pool with the right chemicals and regular cleanings should make it an unlikely place for mosquito eggs to survive.
For ponds, keeping the water moving by adding a fountain or an electric aeration pump can help a lot, since mosquito eggs can’t survive in moving water. Keeping algae as low as possible in your pond will also make it harder for mosquito eggs to survive. Adding aquatic animals to the pond that are natural mosquito predators, like goldfish or tadpoles, can also help. These animals will eat both mosquito eggs and larvae.
It takes a lot of vigilance and determination to check for standing water after every single rainfall or watering. This holds especially true in the spring and summer when it rains frequently or you may be watering a lot. This is part of the reason why spring and summer are prime mosquito season. These insects need warmth and moisture to survive and reproduce, and spring and summer provide plenty of both.
You may also find that, no matter how careful you are, you still have a mosquito problem. In this case, hiring a pest control specialist can save you lots of time and frustration. A pro can give you tips for techniques you might not have tried. And, they can get you started with ongoing pest treatments to get rid of as many mosquitoes as possible.
When Do Mosquitoes Hatch?
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, often on the wet walls or sides of a container, right at the water line. The eggs stay there until it’s time for them to hatch into larvae. But, when do mosquitoes hatch? It can take as long as several months, depending on conditions like temperature and the amount of water available. Unfortunately, mosquito eggs are very hardy. They can survive drying out for many months until warmth and water return. This means that a mosquito can lay eggs in late summer or early fall and those eggs can then survive through the winter and hatch the following spring.
What triggers mosquito eggs to hatch? It’s all about the right conditions, meaning it’s warm out and there is enough still water for the eggs to be submerged. In these conditions, it can take as little as a few days for mosquito eggs to hatch into larvae. Then, five to seven more days for the larvae to hatch into pupae. From there, mosquito pupae develop into adult, flying mosquitoes in two to three days.
Female mosquitoes lay about 100 eggs at a time. So, it’s easy to see why mosquito populations in spring and summer can seem out of control—because they really are. If these pests lay eggs in multiple spots around your yard, there can be hundreds of new mosquitoes flying around in less than two weeks’ time.
This is why it’s so important to dump out standing water anytime you come across it, so mosquitoes don’t have a chance to lay their eggs. If they do lay eggs, the eggs might stay there for the better part of a year until it’s the right time for mosquitoes to come out! Preventing mosquitoes from laying eggs is one of the most effective approaches to controlling these pests. But, it’s really hard for most people to do on their own. That’s why many people choose to sign up for ongoing mosquito control services for their yards. It can give you peace of mind knowing that you are taking the right steps to keep pests away.
ABC Can Keep Mosquito Populations Low
Even if you are diligent about dumping out water and swimming pool mosquito control, mosquito populations can still be high. ABC Home & Commercial Services can help reduce mosquito populations, so you and your family members can feel more comfortable. We have a variety of strategies and products we use to control these pests.