Mosquitoes have been voted as the most annoying bug, but the health risks they pose are even more alarming. Effective control is a must, so let’s look at mosquitoes and determine if your efforts to control them are as effective as they could be.
Mosquitoes Are Skilled Parasites
Mosquitoes have been around for millions of years, and their survival and feeding skills have gotten better over time. The fossil of a blood-filled mosquito was found in Montana in 2013, and researchers determined it lived about 46 million years ago!
With such a long history, they’ve had plenty of time to adapt and become extremely adept at finding you and making you their prey.
Their chemical sensors can detect the carbon dioxide you exhale from 100 feet away. They also sense your body heat and the chemicals in your sweat.
They don’t just rely on their chemical sensors, either. They can see fairly well. They see movement and know that if you’re moving, you are alive and might make a good feast. They also see colors that differ from the background, so brightly colored clothing could help draw them in.
The True Cost of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can transmit at least 13 deadly or debilitating diseases, so eliminating them from your environment isn’t just for convenience. It’s mandatory.
Millions of people worldwide die from mosquito-borne illnesses every year, and many more are left with debilitating illnesses that prevent them from working, leading to increased poverty. Billions of dollars are lost annually from eradication efforts and the effects of the health crises they create.
Understand Their Life Cycle
If you understand the mosquito’s life cycle, you have a powerful tool. Your knowledge allows you to interrupt it during any stage and prevent the mosquitoes from becoming biting adults.
All mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. Most use fresh water from lakes, ponds, or any kind of standing water, but there are species who can lay their eggs in saltwater, as well.
When the eggs hatch, they turn into larvae. They look like small wiggling worms, and they breathe through an air tube. They can swim and dive down to hide at the bottom of the water if you disturb them.
After they molt four times, they turn into pupae, but this stage is short. They only spend 1 – 4 days in the pupal stage. They encase themselves to change into their adult version.
When they break free from their encasement, they become full-fledged adults. Immediately, they will go look for a mate and for food. The males will feed on nectar, but the females will look for blood. The female has to have a blood meal every time she lays eggs, and she lives longer than the males.
Males will live for only a few days after mating, but the female can live for several weeks. Their exact timeline varies according to which species of mosquito it is and what the environmental conditions are.
Use Several Tactics
The best way to effectively control mosquitoes and protect yourself is to attack them from every angle.
- Interrupt Their Life Cycle. Get rid of standing water. Use larvicide in larger bodies of water, like ponds.
- Use DEET. This one is just common sense, but use a spray that contains DEET when spending time outdoors. DEET confuses the chemical sensors on their antennae so that they cannot detect you.
- Hire a Professional. A professional pest control company has experience, knowledge, and tools that the average person doesn’t have access to. They know exactly what to do, where to look, and what to use to get rid of mosquitoes in and around your area.
- Invite Natural Mosquito Predators into Your Yard. Bats, purple martins, and swallows love to eat mosquitoes. Invite them to your yard by building a birdhouse for them nearby. If you have a pond, consider stocking it with Gambusia affinis fish, (also known as the mosquito fish) because they love to eat mosquito larvae.
- Get Your Neighbors Involved. A mosquito will fly about two miles from its breeding site, so enlist your neighbors to fight mosquitoes, too. Help them remove standing water, and refer them to your professional pest control company, too.
Mosquitoes are annoying and sometimes deadly, but you don’t need to suffer. There are many affordable and effective solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.