“Why are there mosquitoes in my house?” This is a common question many people ask pest control professionals. Having mosquitoes outdoors is bad enough. Their itchy bites can turn yard work or hanging out on the patio into a miserable experience. But getting mosquito bites inside the house, where you’re supposed to be safe, is even worse. How do they get in, and why do they stay?
Mosquitoes get into the house the same way as any pest: through open doors and windows. They also sneak in through rips in screens or gaps around exterior doors and windows. Mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, so they might seek shelter from the wind inside your home. They are also attracted to standing water since they need water to breed. If they can find a good place to breed indoors, they can become an annoying ongoing problem.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and they only need a little for successful breeding. Many homes have water sources that can provide enough water for these pests to breed. A leaky faucet or pipe in the kitchen or bathroom is one spot where female mosquitoes might lay their eggs. Another spot is in pets’ water bowls if the water isn’t changed out often.
Still another spot where mosquitoes might lay eggs is inside pots that hold indoor plants. If you overwater your plants, the water that collects in the bottom of the pot can make a perfect breeding spot for these pests. They might also breed in the water that collects in your air-conditioner’s drain pan.
Why Mosquitoes Bite Us
Mosquitoes don’t bite people because they want to feed on our blood. They actually feed mostly on plant materials. In fact, only female mosquitoes bite us. They do so because they need certain proteins found in our blood for their eggs to develop properly.
If mosquitoes are able to get inside your home, they will bite you, at the very least. They might even stick around if they find good breeding spots indoors. The problem with this is more than just the annoyance of these pests.
Mosquitoes can actually be dangerous to humans and our pets. They are known to carry a number of diseases that they can pass along to the humans they bite. These diseases include malaria and the Zika virus, which can make people very sick. Mosquitoes can also cause diseases in dogs, including heartworm.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Away
It’s a good idea to keep mosquito populations as low as possible in and around your home. The best way to prevent mosquito bites in your home is to keep these pests out of the house in the first place. Check your exterior doors and windows to make sure they are in good condition and they close tightly. Fix any rips, gaps or openings that could be letting pests inside.
Next, take a look at every place in your home where water might collect. Be sure to look everywhere there is water in your home. Mosquitoes can even breed inside the tanks of toilets that aren’t used often. Any leaks or other sources of standing water should be fixed or drained, so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs there.
Getting rid of mosquitoes indoors is important, but so is treating these pests outdoors. If you have lots of mosquitoes living and breeding in your yard, at least some will get inside the house every time you open your door. This is why it’s also important to treat your yard for mosquitoes. There are also a few simple steps to follow in order to keep mosquitoes away.
First, be sure to dump out any water that puddles up inside planters, birdbaths, old tires and other spots after it rains. Resolve any drainage issues in your yard and rake up dead leaves. Certain types of mosquitoes can breed in the small amount of moisture that accumulates in piles of leaves. It’s also a good idea to keep your grass and landscaping trimmed. This will give mosquitoes fewer places to hang out when they aren’t actively flying around, seeking a human to bite.
The best way to keep mosquitoes away from your home and yard is to have your yard treated by a reputable mosquito control specialist. A pro has access to the most effective products and strategies that will keep mosquitoes away while keeping you and your loved ones safe.
Mosquito Diseases in Texas
Mosquitoes can carry various diseases that they can pass along to humans, making us ill—sometimes, very ill. People with chronic illnesses and certain other medical conditions are more likely to get sicker from mosquito-borne diseases than people in good health, but anyone can be affected. There are several common mosquito diseases in Texas that can make people sick, including the following:
- Chikungunya: People who are bitten by mosquitoes carrying the Chikungunya virus usually develop symptoms about three to seven days later. These can include fever, headache, muscle or joint pain, swelling of the joints or a rash. In most people, this won’t be a serious illness, and symptoms should clear up within a week. In some people, certain symptoms like joint pain can persist for weeks or even months.
- Dengue: People bitten by a mosquito infected with the dengue virus will develop symptoms between four and ten days later. The main symptoms are a high fever along with severe pain behind the eyes; joint, muscle or bone pain; a low white blood cell count; and mild bleeding from the nose or gums. Dengue can sometimes be severe, especially in people who have had it before.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE): Symptoms of EEE typically begin four to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache and joint pain. Sometimes, more severe symptoms can develop, like vomiting, diarrhea or even coma.
- Malaria: This virus is something many people associate with tropical countries, but mosquitoes in Texas can carry and transmit malaria to humans. Fortunately, local transmission is rare in Texas and has not been documented recently. Symptoms of malaria include high fever, muscle pain and fatigue.
- West Nile virus: Symptoms of this illness are usually mild, but in very rare cases, someone can become severely ill due to West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. Common symptoms include fever, headache and body aches, swollen glands and a rash on the back or abdomen. More rare and serious symptoms can include convulsions, disorientation, muscle weakness and even paralysis.
- Zika virus: Most people who contract this virus from an infected mosquito won’t have symptoms. Even asymptomatic Zika can be dangerous during pregnancy, however, since it can cause birth defects in the unborn baby. For people who do experience Zika symptoms, they might include fever, red eyes, joint pain and an itchy rash.
Wearing long sleeves and light colors when you spend time outdoors can help you avoid mosquito bites that could make you sick. It’s also a good idea to use an effective insect repellent. The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from mosquito-borne illness is to hire a pest control professional to treat your yard for these potentially dangerous pests.
What Is a Good Mosquito Repellent?
Wearing light-colored clothing outdoors will help protect you against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are drawn more to darker clothing than to lighter colors. Wearing long pants and sleeves, so that less of your skin is exposed, will also help. Another important step is using an effective repellent product. But what is a good mosquito repellent? There are several products and ingredients that are proven to be effective in repelling mosquitoes and keeping you safe.
Repellent products that contain between 10% and 35% DEET are safe and usually very effective against mosquitoes. There are products with much higher concentrations, but 50% DEET (or more) is not more effective than lower concentrations. Children should use repellents with DEET concentrations of 30% or lower, to avoid skin irritation.
There are other effective products and chemicals besides DEET. Repellents containing picaridin and IR-3535 also offer good protection against mosquito bites. For people who prefer more natural ingredients, repellents that contain lemon and eucalyptus oils can provide relief.
All the mosquito repellent in the world, however, won’t be effective long-term if you’re surrounded by these pests. That’s why the very best mosquito control plan is regular pest treatments by a professional. A specialist can customize a treatment plan based on your particular home, yard and needs. This will ensure the highest possible level of mosquito protection throughout spring, summer and fall—the prime mosquito seasons in Texas.
With fewer mosquitoes in your yard, you and your loved ones can relax and enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about itchy bites that could even wind up making you sick.
ABC Can Reduce Mosquito Populations Around Your Property
If you want relief from mosquitoes, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. We offer a variety of mosquito control options, including an option that prevents mosquitoes from breeding. That way, you can be less concerned when mosquito season in Texas starts.