Rising temperatures means more time spent outdoors at pools, sports, barbecues and cookouts. Unfortunately, mosquitoes can ruin all the fun.
Prevent the bite of summer by taking time this spring to prevent one of the most irritating and dangerous of pests—mosquitoes.
If you ask most people which insect they hate the most, they will mostly likely put the malicious mosquito in the #1 spot. Mosquitoes are especially troublesome in the state of Texas.
Every year, there are dozens of reports of mosquito-borne diseases, including:
- Encephalitis (human symptoms include high fever, convulsions, delirium and other central nervous system problems)
- Malaria (human symptoms include fever and flu-like symptoms, including chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea)
- Zika (human symptoms include fever, rash, muscle and joint aches, red eyes
Babies of infected mothers risk microcephaly and poor pregnancy outcomes)
- West Nile Virus (human symptoms include fever and flu-like symptoms; more severe cases can affect the nervous system and brain)
- Yellow Fever (human symptoms include high fever, internal bleeding, jaundice;
S. law requires any yellow fever case to be reported immediately)
- Dengue (human symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains and a rash that appears on the third or fourth day)
- Chikungunya (human symptoms include joint pain, headache, nausea, fatigue;
death is rare, but newborns and adults older than 65 may fall victim)
Source: Community Impact Newspaper
In addition to all of the above, mosquitoes can also infect animals with heartworms and disease. Mosquito bites aren’t just itchy and bothersome, they also put you at risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease.
Although we’re still in spring, mosquitoes have already started to arrive. If you notice mosquitoes flying around your property, you may be unwittingly attracting them to your home or business.
While state agencies make their own effort to reduce the mosquito population, it’s important for residents to take action into their own hands.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes from Breeding Around Your Property
For the most effective mosquito control program, contact a professional entity, such as ABC Home & Commercial Services. In minor cases and in the meantime, make the effort to go around your property and get rid of any mosquito dwelling spots.
It’s time to take a walk around your yard.
Clean your gutters. By removing leaves and other debris from inside your gutters, you can eliminate a popular place for moisture, water collection and mosquito breeding.
Get rid of any old tires around the home (or store them indoors). If you are using a tire for a swing, screw a hole or two into the bottom to allow for drainage.
Remove flowerpots that serve as water collectors. Pour out stagnant water from any flowerpots and either store them away or fill them with plants and flowers. Additionally, make sure there are no bottles, cans or other receptacles that can hold water.
Check your grill cover. Many times, the grill cover will collapse in and start to collect water. Make sure there isn’t any stagnate water around your grilling area.
Remove kiddie pools when you are done. Don’t let water gather in baby pools, sandboxes, toys or any other water container for long periods of time.
Turn over any canoes or boats that are stored outside.
Change the water and clean your bird bath frequently (at least once a month). Consider adding a water feature to keep the water moving.
Drain your fountains and pour bleach or larvicide in them. Contact a professional for more information and to see if this service is included in their regular pest prevention services.
Change the water in vases twice a week. Scrub the inside of vases before each flower change.
Repair any leaking pipes and faucets. According to the U.S. EPA, 5-10% of all U.S. homes have plumbing leaks that waste more than 90 gallons every day. Not only do plumbing leaks waste a lot of water, they can also cause expensive water damage and pest problems. Mosquitoes and other pests love standing water. Get your plumbing leaks fixed as soon as possible.
Repair or replace broken screens. Go around your home and fix all broken doors, windows and springs (even if it’s just a small hole).
Make sure all of your trashcans are well sealed and no lids are flipped upside down. If your trash and recycling bins don’t have holes in the bottom to drain water, consider drilling a couple of drainage holes.
Service your pools, ponds and water features. If you have a pond or swimming pool on your property, make sure they are properly maintained and treated. During the off season, pump out water with a wet/dry vac from the tops of your pool covers.
Consider adding mosquito-eating fish to your ponds. Some frogs, tadpoles and turtles can help by feeding on mosquito larvae.
Attract mosquito-eating birds to your property. Swallows, robins, mockingbirds, chickadees, martins and woodpeckers are just some of the birds that like to eat insects. Attract these birds to your back yard with birdhouses, feeders or nest boxes.
Fill any holes in trees with sand or mortar. You can also drain or spray them, but contact a professional about using a safe and effective spray. When holes in trees gather water, they can quickly become a mosquito breeding ground.
Get rid of piles of leaves and underbrush. These areas can become wet and provide the perfect dark and moist places that insects like mosquitoes love. If you have a compost, remember to frequently stir it and move the pile around.
If you have a septic tank, make sure it is properly serviced. Keep it completely sealed and don’t ignore septic tank warning signs.
Screen any rain barrels, water tanks or cisterns in use. Seal cisterns that are not in use.
The most important thing you can do to prevent mosquito breeding is eliminating all sources of standing water. This includes garbage pan lids, birdbaths, baby pools, pots and other objects where water collects.
Remember, mosquitoes only need around 1/2 inch of water to breed (about the size of a bottle cap)!
How Landscaping Maintenance Helps
In addition to fixing moisture and drainage issues around the home, it’s also important to keep up with regular landscaping maintenance, such as raking leaves, mowing lawns and trimming bushes.
We recommend contacting a professional for a maintenance plan to make sure your grass and shrubs stay trim and all dead leaves and undergrowth are removed on a regular basis.
Regardless of if you seek professional help, it’s important to keep your grass mowed and your vines and bushes trimmed. Additionally, make sure you don’t plant anything too close to the building. Mulch and plants should be at least 14 inches away from the home. Consult a landscaping expert before planting any trees.
In addition to landscaping and lawn care, ABC will also address any drainage issues you may have. This may include fixing low spots and depressions, extending downspouts, installing French drains and improving the soil.
When it comes to pest prevention, remember that the ecosystem is a network. Little changes in your lawn care and landscaping schedule can naturally prevent pest harborage around your property. With a yard maintenance plan, all your grass and shrubs will stay healthy and trimmed and any dead leaves, weeds or undergrowth will be regularly removed.
Learn more spring pest prevention tips here.
How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites
While eliminating sources of water and other mosquito-breeding factors will help prevent mosquitoes, you can’t get rid of all of them. Mosquitoes are an inevitable fact of life.
Mosquitoes are attracted to humans for a variety of reasons—odors and smells, CO2 while breathing, chemical makeup and blood type. There’s some evidence that shows mosquitoes preference for type O blood, but it probably has more to do with the chemicals and scents emanating from your body.
In order to reduce your chances of getting bit by a mosquito, follow the following mosquito prevention tips:
- Minimize your activity outside between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- If you are outside during mosquito times, make sure you wear long pants, long sleeves, high socks and insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
- Light-colored clothing is best, but avoid wearing white around twilight. And while mosquitoes seem to be more attracted to dark-colored clothing, light blue doesn’t seem to affect them.
- Tuck in shirts and try to remove as many gaps in your clothing as possible.
- Stay inside if possible when there is a mosquito-borne disease warning in your area.
- If you are experiencing excess mosquitoes on your property, contact a pest management company that specializes in mosquito control.
How to Choose the Right Mosquito Repellent
For individuals, insect repellents are probably the best mosquito deterrent. When shopping for mosquito repellent, look for ones that have been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, including:
- DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
- Picaridin (KBR 3023)
- Oil of lemon-eucalyptus (p-methane 3, 8- diol or PMD)
- Follow all label instructions carefully!
We recommend keeping a can of mosquito repellent near all of your exterior-facing doors. This will remind you to protect yourself when you head outdoors.
Itching for Professional Mosquito Control?
While thermal and aerosol foggers can be used to prevent mosquitoes from your property, be aware that they can also affect beneficial insect and animal life, such as birds, bees and butterflies.
If mosquitoes are ruining your outdoor enjoyment, call in the pros. The mosquito control specialists at ABC have a lot of experience ridding properties of mosquitoes.
In addition to harborage and culture pest prevention, we also have larvicide applications and mosquito repellent products that can get rid of your mosquitoes for good. Don’t use any insecticides or larvicides without contacting a professional first.
Our mosquito control services consist of a variety of strategies, including misting systems and fogging properties. The key is to eliminate mosquitoes, their eggs and breeding grounds.
If your mosquito problems are bigger than you can handle, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services for the safest and most effective mosquito control methods.