We all know that mosquitoes love water. It is the incubation spot for their babies. The spring and summer rains enhance their breeding grounds. However in our part of the world, when we have a late winter snow, you can multiply that incubation effect. Since North Carolina snow periods are usually late in the winter season the snow is followed fairly soon by nice warm, sometimes even hot days. It’s a mosquito’s perfect combination.
When the weather is drier, mosquitoes will often extend their birthing pattern to await a fresh rainfall. But at this time of the year, we rarely have a shortage of water. The result is that once the female mosquito gets a day where temperatures reach a balmy 55 degrees or more, many eggs will be laid in amounts of water from a thimble-full or more.
A single mosquito typically lives about five weeks in total. During her short lifetime one female mosquito can lay up to 3,000 eggs. You do the math. Ten little mosquitoes in your yard at the start of the season (five of which are females) and you can rapidly have a problem.
Scientifically, we know that the female mosquito needs a blood meal in order to produce her eggs. Every time we make a blood donation to one female, she may actually be producing hundreds of eggs, many of which will grow up to want your help again to reproduce.
Did your mother tell you, “You can stay out to play until the street lights come on, but as soon as that light comes on, you better hightail it home.” When the weather turns warm, we find that that delicious time of the day is just before it gets dark enough for the street lights to come on. It is the least desirable time to be outside for one major reason – mosquitos! Dusk and dawn are the mosquito’s favorite time to start biting.
Here are some ways to help minimize the presence of mosquitoes around your home. Remember, if a mosquito isn’t born, it can’t bite you.
First, go through your yard and around your home to find breeding spots. This means identifying places were water is standing, or could stand. Some obvious places include children’s toys, bird baths, containers of any sort, tarps, and drains.
In addition to these artificial sites, there are natural breeding sites around your home, like tree holes and ditches. Fix leaky outdoor faucets and sprinklers, and don’t over water your yard. Any standing water can produce mosquitoes. Even dirty gutters can create enough water to be a problem.
Mosquito control professionals offer a variety of solutions, from the most automated misting systems to the least automated manual fogging/spray – all designed to make your yard enjoyable for years to come. No matter what you have in your yard, it’s not perfect if you can’t use it.
To see how mosquitoes were feared and handled in 1943, go to YouTube and watch this movie Walt Disney made for the US Army about mosquito control. www.youtube.com/watch?v=y68F8YwLWdg.
Paul Salone is the owner of Mosquito and Pest Xperts, serving the Carolinas for over seven years with Xpert mosquito control and, since 2008, pest control. Call 800-596-0116 or visit www.mosquitoxperts.com.