It might surprise you to learn there are sixty different types of mosquitoes active in Oklahoma. Fortunately, most people won’t have to deal with all or even most of them. But, the bad news is, there are several types of mosquitoes in Oklahoma that most people will have to deal with at some point.
Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying, though they are definitely that. Their itchy bites can ruin a fun backyard get-together, and if you’re one of those people who are especially sensitive to mosquito bites, you could be scratching and miserable for days. Worse yet, these pests are capable of transmitting serious illnesses to us and our furry friends.
Also, you can’t always get a break from mosquitoes by going inside. They can slip through an open door with you when you head back into the house to escape them. If you have plants growing in planters inside your home or any leaky faucets or pipes, mosquitoes can even breed indoors and thrive—yet another reason why it’s so important to take steps to get rid of them.
The most common mosquitoes that give Oklahoma residents trouble include the yellow fever mosquito, the Asian tiger mosquito, the Eastern saltmarsh mosquito, the inland floodwater mosquito, the common malaria mosquito and the common house mosquito.
The Yellow Fever Mosquito
The yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is a small to medium-sized black mosquito with white stripes on the body. This type of mosquito likes to lay eggs in small containers, so removing excess water in flower pots, clogged gutters and similar places is the best way to control this pest. Most commonly, yellow fever mosquito larvae are found in puddles that have collected in old tires.
In addition to transmitting yellow fever, this mosquito can also transmit chikungunya, dengue fever and the Zika virus. If you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes during the day, you could have yellow fever mosquitoes on your property.
The Asian Tiger Mosquito
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) also has a black body with white stripes and prefers to feed during the day, like the yellow fever mosquito. However, their larvae are most often found in containers left outside for more than a month, such as buckets. This type of mosquito is not picky—they will feed on humans, dogs, cats or birds. Because of their feeding habits, these pests are capable of transmitting dengue fever, chikungunya, West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis. These pests are even capable of transmitting dog heartworm to the furry members of our families.
The Eastern Saltmarsh Mosquito
The Eastern saltmarsh mosquito (Aedes sollicitans) has light, cream-colored sides and a tan top with a black line down its back. Eastern saltmarsh mosquito larvae can develop in many different habitats, but tend to prefer containers like old tires. As their name implies, these mosquitoes also thrive in areas similar to wetlands and marshes.
Unfortunately, this type of mosquito is extremely aggressive. At one point, eastern saltmarsh mosquitoes had even made areas of Florida inhospitable due to their painful bites. On top of their feeding habits, these pests are also capable of transmitting diseases like dog heartworm and Eastern Equine encephalitis.
The Inland Floodwater Mosquito
The inland floodwater mosquito (Aedes vexans) is a small, dark mosquito with bands on its legs. This pest usually lays its eggs on moist soil in a variety of habitats. As the name implies, eggs typically hatch after a flood, which can make these pests difficult to control. These pests prefer to feed on large mammals, and they can transmit the West Nile virus and dog heartworm. This type of mosquito is typically the first to emerge in the spring.
The Common Malaria Mosquito
The common malaria mosquito (Anopheles quadrimaculatus) is a slender mosquito with long legs and four distinct dark patches on its wings. These pests can lay eggs in many different environments, but are most commonly found along the edges of ponds, lakes or other bodies of water near vegetation. As their name implies, these mosquitoes can transmit malaria as well as dog heartworm. The common malaria mosquito can be particularly annoying as this pest commonly enters homes to feed on humans. If this is the mosquito you’re dealing with, you may need tips on how to get rid of mosquitoes indoors.
The Common House Mosquito
The common house mosquito is brown with a cream-colored line on each segment of the abdomen. This mosquito usually lays its eggs in standing water in containers, so removing sources of standing water can help with the fight against these pests. The common house mosquito is capable of transmitting a number of diseases, including the West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
You might notice a surge in mosquito activity shortly after it rains. This is because mosquitoes lay their eggs in rain water, so after rainfall, these insects get busy looking for good breeding spots. These spots might include puddles on the ground as well as bird baths, buckets, wheelbarrows, old tires or children’s toys where rainwater collected, or even piles of damp leaves. This is why it’s so important to dump out any standing water in your yard, rake up dead leaves, fix any drainage issues and keep your gutters clean. These relatively simple steps can really go a long way toward keeping mosquitoes from breeding, which reduces their numbers over time.
If you maintain your yard regularly and make it a habit of dumping out collected water after it rains, yet you still have an ongoing mosquito problem, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional. A pest control specialist can be invaluable in the seasonal fight against mosquitoes. Signing up for ongoing pest control service is often the best way to keep from being bothered throughout the warmer months of the year by these annoying pests.
While contacting a pro is typically the best way to control mosquitoes, many homeowners look to home remedies. For example, can a household cleaner like bleach help reduce mosquito populations?
Does Bleach Kill Mosquitoes?
You may have heard that certain household items can kill mosquitoes, but do these methods work? And, are they safe? For example, does bleach kill mosquitoes? While bleach can be effective in killing off mosquito larvae, it’s not useful for killing off adult mosquitoes. It’s also important to note that, while bleach can kill off mosquitoes in their larvae form, it can be unsafe to use in the areas where mosquitoes breed. This is because these insects often breed near plants and in the underbrush in people’s yards. Pouring or spraying bleach in these areas can kill off wanted plants and get absorbed into the soil. It can also bother people or pets that come into contact with the bleach or breathe in its fumes.
Fortunately, there are other, safer ways to combat mosquitoes than using bleach to try to kill off mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and they don’t need much of it to thrive. This means they can breed in as little moisture as the amount found in piles of damp leaves in your yard, as well as in planter pots, old tires, buckets, or even just low spots in the lawn. Mosquitoes can lay eggs any place where water collects after rain or after you run your sprinklers.
How To Control Mosquitoes
Keeping up with yard work is actually an important and effective part of controlling mosquito populations. Here are several things you can do to keep mosquitoes away from your property:
- After it rains or after running your sprinklers, dump out any standing water that collected during the downpour. Check planters, tires, children’s toys, bird feeders, wheelbarrows, buckets and anything else that might hold even a small amount of water.
- On a regular basis, keep bushes and trees trimmed, keep your grass clipped short and rake up dead leaves and other underbrush where mosquitoes might lay eggs.
- Every spring, clear out your gutters and downspouts to make sure they aren’t clogged. Clogged gutters are a common mosquito breeding spot that many homeowners forget about.
- If there are low spots in your yard that stay damp after a rain, fix grading issues by building up the turf or otherwise leveling these spots so water can’t collect.
- Keep your pool well maintained with the proper amount of chemicals and regular cleanings to ensure that mosquitoes don’t use your pool to breed.
In conjunction with these steps, having regular mosquito treatments applied by a pest control specialist will go a long way. Professionals can help keep pest populations down so you can enjoy your yard without having to deal with so many itchy bites.
If it feels like you’re plagued by mosquitoes every time you step outside, you might start to wonder: Why do mosquitoes bite?
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite?
The answer is actually somewhat surprising. This is because not all mosquitoes actually bite people and the ones that do bite people don’t do it for food. Male mosquitoes live off plant juices and fruit nectars, and never bite human beings or other warm-blooded animals.
Adult female mosquitoes are the only mosquitoes that bite people, and the truth is that they don’t even technically bite. Rather, they use a straw-like mouthpiece called a proboscis to make a tiny incision in your skin and then suck out blood. Furthermore, while female mosquitoes do bite to consume blood, it isn’t exactly for food. Female mosquitoes need the blood for its proteins in order to develop fertile eggs.
Mosquitoes also don’t bite all people equally. If it feels like they bite you more than other people, you may actually be right. Scientists have determined that mosquitoes seek out targets for biting based on specific factors including blood type, body heat and carbon dioxide output, and some people really do get bitten more than others.
Why Do Mosquitoes Love Me?
Mosquitoes bite people with Type O blood more often than those with Type A or B, and they seem to go for people with higher body temperatures. This is possibly because those people emit more lactic acid in their sweat. Mosquitoes are also able to detect carbon dioxide from over 100 feet away. So, people who naturally give off more carbon dioxide are more easily spotted by mosquitoes that are seeking a host.
Clothing color also factors into why mosquitoes bite some people more than others. People wearing darker clothing, such as black, dark blue or dark red, seem to attract mosquitoes more than people in lighter-colored clothing (white, cream or tan). It’s also just common sense that the less exposed skin you have, the fewer spots mosquitoes will be able to bite. However, keep in mind, mosquitoes can bite through some clothing items. So, if you’re planning on doing yard work or spending time outdoors, you may have a better experience if you wear lighter-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants.
As soon as a mosquito bites you, it starts injecting its saliva into your skin as it draws out blood. Its saliva contains elements like proteins and anticoagulants that most people’s immune systems react against. When your immune system is triggered, it sends out histamines. The histamines are actually what causes the itchiness, redness and inflammation at the site of a mosquito bite. This is why taking an over-the-counter antihistamine medication can help combat the itchiness of mosquito bites.
If you’re bothered by mosquitoes every time you head outdoors, you might consider monthly mosquito treatments. Mosquito season in Oklahoma can last more than half the year, and mosquitoes breed so quickly that they are really hard to control. This holds especially true if you’re relying on do-it-yourself efforts and methods. Hiring a licensed pest control professional for regular pest treatments can keep mosquito populations at a minimum. Then, you and your loved ones can go back to enjoying your outdoor space.
ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations Around Your Home
If you’re struggling with mosquitoes, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We use many different tools to control these pests throughout their life cycle. This way, you and your family members can enjoy yourself instead of worrying about these pesky insects.