As winter winds down, the days grow longer, buds start popping out on bare tree branches and the weather slowly, but surely, begins to warm up. The beauty of it all almost makes us forget that it’s about time for mosquitoes to come out again. As many people know, mosquitoes are more active when it’s warmer outside, and these pests typically breed in water. Therefore, mosquitoes start coming out more when outdoor temperatures rise, which is unfortunate because the same is also true for humans. Many of us, especially those of us with pleasant outdoor spaces that aren’t used as much during colder winter months, hope to get in as many comfortable afternoons and evenings outdoors as we can before mosquitoes come out in full force once again, biting us and leaving their signature itchy welts in their wake.
Of course, different people react to mosquito bites differently. Not everyone finds them terribly itchy and annoying, though many people do. Additionally, these pests seem drawn to certain people more than others—is it due to differences in pheromones? Carbon-dioxide output? Body heat levels? Do some people just have sweeter blood? Are mosquitoes attracted to perfume? As you feel yourself getting bitten, many of these types of questions likely cycle through your head.
Unfortunately, any bite from a mosquito puts you at risk of contracting one of the diseases that many mosquitoes are known to carry and transmit to humans, including malaria and certain types of encephalitis, as well as viruses like dengue, Zika and West Nile.
The potential for contracting a serious illness from an infected mosquito is one good reason for keeping track of when mosquitoes become active in your area. As a general rule, when mosquitoes come out depends not only on the specific type of mosquito but also on the region of the country where you live, the time of day it is and how mild or wet of a winter your area experienced, which can change from year to year.
Certain types of mosquitoes are most active during the day, while other types are more active at dawn or at dusk. Most types of mosquitoes have something in common, which is that they are most active when it’s warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Below that 50-degree threshold, most varieties of mosquito either die off or go into hibernation. But above that threshold, the eggs that female mosquitoes have laid in water—even eggs that were laid months earlier—begin to hatch into larvae, ultimately leading to new swarms of adult mosquitoes that seem to exist solely to torment people who are sensitive to their bites.
Unfortunately, in warmer, wetter states, mosquitoes becoming active when it’s consistently above fifty degrees outside means they can be a nuisance as early in the year as February and stay bothersome well into October or even November. This is why it’s important to note the steps you can take to make your home and your outdoor living spaces as unappealing for mosquitoes as possible, so you can enjoy your home and property for as much of the year as possible.
How To Prevent Mosquito Activity Around Your Home And Yard
Mosquitoes require moisture to live, and any standing water inside or around your home—even just a very shallow pool of standing water in a planter or in leaves that have collected in the yard—can be the perfect spot for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Thus, the first step to keeping mosquitoes out of your yard is to eliminate any standing water that collects after a rain or watering your yard.
To start, look in bird feeders, old tires, planters and even house plant saucers for standing water. If you spot any tiny, thin, whitish or light-brown larvae in the water that are about a quarter-inch long, and which might be hanging at the surface of the water and twitching in a repetitive jerking motion, these are likely to be live mosquito larvae that have already hatched from eggs. If they aren’t killed off, they will soon turn into full-grown mosquitoes.
To kill off live mosquito larvae, some people try natural approaches such as adding dish soap or apple cider vinegar to standing water, while others use over-the-counter mosquito larvae killer products that can be purchased at hardware or home improvement stores. It may not always be feasible to use these approaches, however, especially if you are trying to get rid of mosquitoes inside your home. Unfortunately, mosquitoes can breed and thrive indoors. In fact, they can do so quite comfortably, since most people keep their homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. This is why contacting a pest control company with a proven track record of eliminating mosquitoes and implementing effective prevention methods is often a more effective approach than trying to get rid of these bothersome insects once they have infested some part of your home or property.
The best strategies for preventing or reducing mosquito populations involve making sure water can’t collect, so mosquitoes have no place to lay eggs. If you find standing water either indoors or outside, be sure to dump it out, and if needed, take steps to prevent water from collecting in the future, such as by leveling the ground, installing gravel so that water can drain and disperse or drilling holes in the bottoms of planters or other bins so that water won’t get trapped in these areas.
It’s also important to fix any leaks in or around your home, including even small drips in kitchen or bathroom sinks or in the laundry room, so mosquitoes won’t take up residence around those areas and lay eggs. Standing water can also collect outdoors in dead leaves and untended gutters, so keep debris cleared away from your yard and make sure the gutters and downspouts on your home and garage are clear and functioning properly.
By taking these steps as well as using an effective mosquito repellent during the seasons and times of day when mosquitoes are most active in your area, you may be able to reduce mosquito activity around your home and reduce the chances that these pesky pests will cause real trouble for you or your family. It can be difficult to keep up with the yard and gutter maintenance required to keep mosquitoes at bay, not to mention tackling leaks and other issues around the home. For many homeowners, the safest and most effective option is to reach out to a pest control specialist for help with reducing mosquito populations and keeping their numbers down.
When it comes to a pest as notorious as mosquitoes, there are many rumors that get circulated about them, including whether females, males or both bite us.
Do Male Mosquitoes Bite?
Many people hear that females are the only mosquitoes that bite and wonder whether or not this is myth or fact. Since the males of the species obviously have to eat, too, many people believe that this must be a myth. However, the truth is that only female mosquitoes bite humans. The males of the species feed on flower nectar and will not bite us.
Incidentally, female mosquitoes also feed on flower nectar. They actually consume human blood only for the purpose of helping their eggs mature before laying them in water. Furthermore, despite the fact that the itchy, red bumps caused by mosquitoes are almost universally called “mosquito bites,” female mosquitoes don’t actually bite humans. Technically, they insert a straw-like mouthpiece called a proboscis into human skin, inject their saliva into their victims’ blood and then suck the blood back up through the proboscis to receive their blood meal.
If you notice yourself or your family members itching a lot when spending time outdoors, it may be time to contact a reputable pest control professional to deal with the problem before it gets worse.
When dealing with high mosquito activity in your area, you may wonder if keeping the perimeter of your home clear of potential mosquito breeding areas is enough to prevent these pests from biting you.
How Far Can Mosquitoes Fly?
Anyone who’s been ambushed by a swarm of hungry mosquitoes may have wondered how far these biting insects are willing to fly. It’s natural to want to outrun them when you feel as if you’re being attacked, but few of us actually understand the behavior and range of these pests.
Many species of mosquito that are commonly found in and around people’s homes cannot fly farther than about 300 feet. Considering that many standard-sized lots in neighborhoods across the U.S. are 30 to 40 feet wide, this is equivalent to the width of about seven to ten lots. That means most mosquitoes are regularly moving across your entire immediate neighborhood.
The bad news is that certain varieties of mosquito are able to fly much, much farther than just 300 feet, and some can even fly for many miles. Wind can carry these pests even farther than they could fly on their own strength. This is part of the reason why viruses like Zika and West Nile can spread not just within one region, but from one country to another; the mosquitoes themselves that carry these diseases can migrate, crossing borders and bringing their unwanted illnesses to unsuspecting bite victims.
When mosquitoes are pursuing their prey—that is, their human victims—it is believed that they find and follow them by tracking their carbon-dioxide output, and then by their body odor and heat levels. However, research into this subject is ongoing, and scientists still have a long way to go in understanding why mosquitoes behave the way they do. Until then, the best way to limit your exposure to these pests is by reaching out to a reliable pest control specialist.
ABC Can Help With Your Mosquito Problem
Between the numerous diseases that mosquitoes can transmit and the itchiness of mosquito bites, it’s understandable to want as few of these pests on your property as possible. With the help of the mosquito control specialists at ABC Home & Commercial Services, your home and yard can be a safe haven from these pests. We’ll put measures in place to halt the mosquitoes’ reproductive cycle, as well as eliminate adult mosquitoes and offer you advice on how to make your home less appealing to these annoying pests.