Some people aren’t bothered by mosquitoes, but most of us can’t stand them. Their itchy bites, that annoying whine in the ear, even the tiny tickle on the skin when they’re hovering around—for many of us, mosquitoes are seriously annoying! Summertime is prime mosquito season, but if you live in a warmer, wetter part of the country, you might have to deal with them for the better part of the year. And if you have a mosquito problem at your home, you might find yourself wondering whether or not mosquitoes make and live in nests.
This is a great question, and the answer involves an issue of semantics. Mosquitoes do not technically nest or build nests for living and breeding the way that ants, termites, bees, wasps and other insects do. Since mosquitoes aren’t social the way these other insects are, they have no need for a nest. While mosquitoes don’t technically nest, they do live, breed and thrive in certain areas and under particular conditions. Savvy homeowners who know about these conditions can use this knowledge to help keep mosquitoes at bay in and around their homes.
It’s very important to keep mosquito populations as low as possible, and not simply because they’re annoying. Yes, their bites can cause intensely itchy welts on the skin, but even worse, mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases to humans through their bites, such as malaria, West Nile virus and Zika virus. If you have pets, it’s important to know that they could be at risk as well. Mosquitoes can cause heartworm disease in dogs and cats, and some pets also have a highly allergic reaction to mosquito bites. If your pet scratches a lot, it’s more likely to be from fleas than from mosquitoes, but mosquito bites have been known to cause hives, lethargy and difficulty breathing in pets that are allergic to them.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep mosquitoes away. The most important thing to know about mosquitoes is that they need both blood—meaning human or other mammal blood—and moisture in order to breed. Without both of these, they can’t reproduce and continue their life cycle through the next generation. Interestingly, male mosquitoes don’t actually bite people; they feed primarily on flower nectar and other plant matter. Female mosquitoes also feed on these elements, but they must feed on mammal blood as well in order to produce viable eggs.
On another interesting point of semantics, mosquitoes don’t technically bite. Rather, they use a tube-like mouthpiece, called a proboscis, to pierce their victim’s skin and find a blood vessel. Then they draw the victim’s blood into their mouths and fill their bodies with it. They need this blood for its proteins, which nourish their eggs and aid in the eggs’ development. Mosquitoes can bite people multiple times—as many times as they need to get the blood they require in order to reproduce.
Moisture, in the form of water, is the other essential part of a mosquito’s successful reproductive process. If you’ve ever looked into a water-filled planter pot after rain and noticed what looked like tiny little wiggling worms in the water, they could well have been mosquito larvae. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, where the eggs float on the surface for a couple of days until they hatch into larvae. Less than a quarter-inch long and an eighth of an inch wide, these larvae twitch and wiggle in the water, feeding on plant matter and microorganisms and molting several times until they develop into pupae, and then become adult mosquitoes.
Certain types of mosquitoes might take less than a week to develop all the way from an egg into an adult mosquito, or it can take longer—up to a couple of weeks or so. How long these insects stay in any single stage of the life cycle can vary depending on factors like the temperature of the water and the air. But in the height of spring and summer, and especially after a rain, when there’s plenty of water, warmth and people spending time outdoors with their skin exposed, mosquitoes are incredibly prolific.
Many types of mosquitoes lay only one egg at a time, but they might lay up to a couple of hundred eggs in all that develop together, at the same rate. This means that the process of an adult mosquito biting someone for blood and laying eggs in water, and those eggs then developing into adult mosquitoes that are ready to feed and reproduce as well, could last a total of two weeks or less. That’s fast! And that explains why it can be so very difficult to keep the mosquito population on your property from exploding.
One of the best things people can do to help limit mosquitoes in and around their homes—yes, mosquitoes can live, breed and thrive indoors as well as outdoors, if conditions are right—is to eliminate any sources of standing water inside your home or outdoors around your property. Dump out flower pots and planters when they collect water after a rain; if you have tires or other items collecting water in your yard, empty those out as well. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in just a tiny amount of water, so any low areas of your property that collect puddles should be filled in and graded properly so they won’t support mosquito activity.
Similarly, mosquitoes can also lay eggs in damp leaves, so clear away leaves and underbrush, especially after a rain, so mosquitoes can’t use them to breed. When they aren’t feeding or laying eggs, mosquitoes tend to hide out in bushes or tall grasses, so keeping the grass cut short and any landscaping neatly trimmed can go a long way toward eliminating these pests. You can also wear long pants and long sleeves and use mosquito repellent products when you spend time outdoors in order to keep mosquitoes away as much as possible.
Similar principles apply for getting rid of mosquitoes indoors: Try not to overwater your plants, be sure to fix any leaking pipes under the kitchen or bathroom sinks or in the laundry room and make sure there’s no standing water anywhere else that mosquitoes could use for breeding purposes (yes, this can even mean pet water bowls). Keep doors and windows closed until mosquito season is over, and make sure their screens fit well and are in good shape, with no rips or gaps that could let mosquitoes in.
Unfortunately, controlling mosquito populations is a complex undertaking. Even if you follow the above precautions, you could still have a mosquito problem at your home. It’s tough to find all the places where water might collect, and even if you do a great job on your own property, you can’t control what your neighbors might be doing to attract mosquito activity. For these reasons, many people find it easiest to contact a pest management specialist who can treat their property and take care of the problem for good.
When it comes to controlling mosquito populations, some people notice there are certain times of day or night when mosquitoes seem to be more or less active. But is this true? Are there times when mosquitoes are more likely to be out looking for someone to bite?
Are Mosquitoes Nocturnal?
Many mosquito species are nocturnal, which means they are most active in seeking victims to bite at night—but several species are most active during the hours around dawn and dusk, while still others are most active during daylight hours.
Unfortunately, this means there might never be a time when you’re completely safe from being bitten by mosquitoes. Depending on which mosquito species are most common in your area, you might notice that you seem to acquire more bites at dusk or at night, but you might also notice that you get bitten no matter what time you go outside. Furthermore, you might fall into that unlucky category of people who seem to be more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, meaning either that you get bitten more often or you have a more severe reaction to the bites—or both.
Different people emit different levels of carbon dioxide and various chemicals in their sweat, and scientists believe these varying levels are what attract mosquitoes to certain people more than others. Your body heat is also thought to be a factor in drawing mosquitoes your way. Mosquitoes also seem to be drawn to darker colors over lighter ones, so wearing lighter-colored clothing, with long sleeves and pant legs, might help protect you against bites when you’re spending time outside.
Of course, the best way to protect yourself from getting bitten is to eliminate the mosquitoes buzzing around your home and yard.
How To Keep Mosquitoes Away From Yard
Anyone who’s tried to enjoy some outdoor time but suffered from mosquito bites needs tips for how to keep mosquitoes away from their yard. The most important thing you can do is to prevent water from pooling up anywhere around your property. This means emptying out any receptacle where water collects after a rainstorm or after you’ve used the sprinklers. Check planters, flower pots, tire swings and birdbaths, and fill in any low areas of the yard so that water will drain properly instead of puddling up.
Since mosquitoes can breed in wet leaves and they hang out in grasses and bushes, it’s also important to do general maintenance on your property by keeping the grass cut and the bushes trimmed. And, while there are animals that eat mosquitoes, you shouldn’t rely on these creatures as your only method of pest control.
Ultimately, your best bet may be to contact a reliable pest control specialist for help. Professionals in this field are up to date on the most effective products and techniques, and can implement the ones that are right for your situation.
ABC Can Reduce The Number Of Mosquitoes In Your Yard
Because mosquitoes don’t necessarily make nests, it can be difficult to find and target all of the different mosquito resting and breeding areas on your property. Instead of suffering from itchy bites, contact the knowledgeable mosquito control team at ABC Home & Commercial Services. We target mosquitoes at different stages of their life to both reduce adult mosquitoes and prevent mosquito larvae from developing. Our effective solutions make spending time in your yard enjoyable again.