The Mosquito Menace
Integrated Pest Management
Most of the time, eliminating pests is an easy, one-step process. An ant hill can be treated with pesticides. Spiders can be relocated or—in the case of dangerous species—killed. If racoons are raiding your garbage, you can get a rodent proof garbage can. However, mosquitos are not that simple.
To control the mosquito population in your yard, you need to think in terms of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Rather than a single method of controlling the pests, IPM controls mosquitoes with several synergistic methods. These include traditional pesticides—like foggers, in the case of mosquitos—but also include methods like gathering information and habitat control.
Mosquito Life Cycle
The first step to beating the beast, is understanding their ecology. The female mosquitoes are the biters; they need the protein in blood to lay eggs. During the day, males and females rest in shady areas and feed on plant nectar. After a female mosquito bites her victim, she finds a suitable place to lay her eggs. Depending on the species, this could be a clear pond, a tree hole, a fetid puddle, or a ditch that will later be flooded. Whatever the location, mosquitos need water.
The larvae (known as “wrigglers”) need calm water so they can feed and attach to the surface to breathe. During the larval stage, they molt four times (called “instages”) before molting one last time into a pupa. The pupal stage also needs to cling to the water’s surface for air, but it doesn’t eat during this stage. Finally, an adult mosquito will emerge from its pupal carapace, dry off, and terrorize humanity.
Solving the Problem
The number one solution to a mosquito problem is removing standing water. Without it, none of the stages in a mosquito’s life-cycle can survive. This means:
- Empty buckets and other objects that collect water. Even an inch of water can sustain hundreds of wrigglers!
- Keep your gutters and other storm drains clean. Check them after rain to make sure everything drains, and no puddles are forming.
- If you have decorative ponds, birdbaths, or fountains, make sure the water is well-circulated or refreshed daily.
Also, remove shelter that adult mosquitos can hide in. This means, keep your grass short and well kept: adult mosquitos will hide out in long grass and under leaves to beat the heat of the day. They can also hide in sheds, debris, and other places that pesticides have trouble reaching. Certain plants, like the invasive Russian Olive tree, are particularly attractive places to set up camp.
Another major factor in Integrated Pest Management is education! You might have a mosquito-free yard, but if your neighbor’s irrigation ditch keeps flooding, you’re still going to get bitten. Mosquito control is often a community effort, so help your neighbors understand the importance of IPM.
Each year, millions of people suffer from mosquito-bourn illnesses. Together, we can protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Contact Preventive Pest Control today for more information and to schedule a visit from one of our expert pest control technicians!