As the weather warms up in spring and early summer, most people want to start spending more time outdoors. But if there’s one thing that can chase even the biggest nature lover right back inside, it’s mosquitoes. These annoying, biting pests can make yard work, patio time and outdoor adventures downright miserable. If you’re wondering how to repel mosquitoes, you need to know the most effective ways to keep these pests at bay.
The thing about mosquitoes is that they aren’t just annoying. They can actually be dangerous for both people and pets. Mosquitoes are known to carry diseases that they can transfer to humans when they bite us. Some of these diseases can make us very ill, including viruses like malaria, Zika and dengue.
And, mosquitoes bite dogs too! Dogs can contract heartworm from a bite from an infected mosquito. Excessive mosquito bites can also cause allergic reactions and hives in dogs. Some dogs even develop anxious or obsessive behaviors, like excessive licking and scratching, due to discomfort from mosquito bites.
For all of these reasons, it’s important to learn how to repel mosquitoes. There are several steps you can take to make your yard less appealing to these blood-suckers.
Dump Out Standing Water
The most important thing to do is to dump out any standing water after a rain, or after you water your lawn. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water. Many mosquito species only need a little bit of water for successful breeding. Even the moisture that gets trapped in damp leaves can be enough for some types to breed.
If you have a mosquito problem, it’s important to be diligent about dumping out any water left inside outdoor containers after a rain. Check planter pots, birdbaths, children’s toys, old tires and any other containers in your yard that could hold moisture. Keep in mind that mosquito larvae eat the organic matter they find in water. This means that water with dirt or leaves in it is especially good for breeding mosquitoes.
Clear Clutter From Your Yard
Raking up dead leaves will also cut down on places where mosquitoes can breed. In fact, routine yard maintenance helps combat mosquitoes in several ways. Mosquitoes hang out in tall grasses to rest. Keeping your grass and bushes trimmed gives them fewer places to hide.
Wear Light-Colored Clothing
If you’re going to spend time outside, it’s a good idea to wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are more attracted to darker clothes, so lighter ones will help protect you. So will long sleeves and long pants that cover as much of your skin as possible.
Use an Effective Repellent
You can also use a good mosquito repellent product to keep bites to a minimum. Repellents that contain between 10% and 35% DEET are proven to be both safe and effective when used correctly. For people who prefer more natural products, repellents containing lemon and eucalyptus oils have also been shown to be effective against mosquitoes. These products will need to be reapplied more frequently than DEET-containing ones.
Of course, none of these products will help much if you have a full-blown infestation. The best way to repel mosquitoes is to have your yard treated by a pest control professional. A pro can take a customized and comprehensive approach to controlling mosquitoes on your property. They have access to the most effective products and techniques to keep pests away. They can also schedule follow-up treatments throughout prime mosquito season, to ensure that you and your loved ones stay protected.
Do Mosquitoes Lay Eggs?
Many people aren’t sure how mosquitoes reproduce. Do mosquitoes lay eggs? The answer is yes, they do—a lot of them. A female mosquito can lay up to 100 eggs at a time. They lay them on the inside walls of wet containers that hold water. When the water level rises to cover the eggs, the eggs will then hatch into larvae.
If conditions are right, this can happen within just a few days. But mosquito eggs can also stay viable inside a dry container for months, waiting for the water they need to return. Many types of mosquitoes can lay eggs in late summer or fall that are then able to last through the entire winter. The eggs hatch months later, in spring, when rain and warm temperatures return.
Mosquitoes actually don’t bite humans for food. Only female mosquitoes bite people; males feed on plant juices. The females bite us to help their eggs develop properly. The eggs need a certain protein to develop that can be found in mammal blood. This is why female mosquitoes are so intent on biting us to suck our blood.
Once the female lays her eggs and the eggs are covered in water, they quickly develop into larvae. Mosquito larvae live and feed in water. They molt several times before transforming into pupae. This process can take less than a week, in good conditions. Pupae then develop into adult, flying mosquitoes in a matter of days.
When it’s warm outside and there’s water available, the entire mosquito life cycle, from freshly laid eggs to brand-new adults that are ready to breed, can take less than two weeks total. Since mosquitoes lay so many eggs at once and develop so quickly, it’s easy to see how their populations can grow out of control, fast. A full-blown infestation can happen within just a few weeks after the first warm spring rains.
One of the best ways to prevent an infestation is to reduce the number of places where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. The main way to do this is by getting rid of as much standing water in your yard as possible.
Whenever it rains or you water your yard, go outside afterward and look for any places where water has collected. Check pet bowls, kids’ toys, buckets, wheelbarrows and planter pots—any and all of these are fair game.
After dumping water out of any containers you find, it’s time to look for other spots in the yard that are still wet. It’s a good idea to fix low spots where drainage is a problem, so water can no longer pool there. Piles of leaves can also become thriving mosquito breeding grounds after a rain. This is why it’s so important to clear away dead leaves and other debris. Mowing your lawn regularly and trimming back your landscaping will also help you get rid of mosquitoes.
All of these measures will go a long way toward keeping mosquito populations as low as possible during spring and summer. Keep in mind that they work far better when you use them in combination with professional mosquito treatments. Having your yard treated by a pest control specialist is the most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes. A professional can set up a pest treatment plan that includes follow-up visits to keep your yard protected throughout mosquito season.
Do Mosquitoes Live in Grass?
We know mosquitoes fly through the air to find us and bite us—but where do these pests go when they aren’t actively biting? Do mosquitoes live in the grass? The answer is that they can live in grass, especially overgrown grass and tall weeds. Along with overgrown bushes and vines, these areas give mosquitoes shelter when they need to rest or hide. For this reason, regular yard maintenance is an important part of keeping mosquito populations at bay.
Mosquito season refers to the part of the year when mosquitoes are most active. These pests are most active when it’s both warmer and wetter outside. Unfortunately for warmer regions, this can mean mosquito season lasts all the way from March through September or even later in fall.
Spending time out in your yard or on your patio should be enjoyable, but mosquito bites can make you never want to be outdoors. There are things you can do to keep mosquitoes away, however. Making sure water can’t collect anywhere in your yard is the most important step, but frequent yard maintenance is also helpful.
Since mosquitoes live in overgrown grass, weeds, bushes and vines, trimming these back will cut down on the places where these pests can hide. Dumping out standing water cuts down on their breeding grounds. Clearing away dead leaves and fixing any drainage issues in your yard will also help. If you stay on top of all of these, you will have a lot fewer mosquitoes in your yard.
Hiring a reputable pest control company to treat these pests will really make the biggest difference. Mosquito treatments should focus on the shady areas that mosquitoes are most attracted to, but should encompass the whole yard. That way, you and your family will be protected throughout the warmer months of the year.
ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations on Your Property
Don’t let pesky mosquitoes ruin your time outdoors. For a multi-tiered approach to mosquito control, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We will create a pest treatment plan that best suits your yard and needs.