We haven’t talked about mosquitos for some time. This is kind of ironic, considering mosquito treatments have always been one of our main ticket items. We’ve braved the storms of West Nile and Zika, laying your fears to rest. But lately, we hardly ever discuss mosquitos with you or even post about them at all. Spring is mightily attempting to conquer winter here in Northern Michigan, which means lots of scenic walks through the forest, as pictured.
What appears to be a picturesque scene to the untrained eye is nothing but a breeding ground in the eyes of a pest control technician. Something you may not know about mosquitos is how they breed. Mosquitos breed in any body of standing water; this includes, but is not limited to:
- Flower pots.
- Bogs, marshes, and ponds
- Rainwater barrels.
- Empty tires or debris – these can fill up with rainwater.
- Untended yards.
Many customers call with one goal in mind: the eradication and prevention of a mosquito problem in the yard. We treat mosquitos a few ways, whatever is best for the situation and customer. However, it is important to rid your yard of any listed above (that you’re able to) in order for treatments to be most effective. To prevent the buzz of unpleasant swarms of mosquitoes around your home, you must understand one simple rule about their breeding and life cycle. The more you disrupt their breeding cycle, the fewer mosquitoes will be around to bite and annoy you. To control mosquitoes on your property, it’s important to know how they reproduce and systematically destroy potential breeding sites near your home. If there are no satisfactory places to lay eggs, the mosquitoes must look elsewhere, meaning you should see fewer of the insects around your home.
Mosquito Breeding Cycle
Each mosquito species has different breeding habits, but most need to lay their eggs near water – usually in still water. Female mosquitoes produce 100-300 eggs at one time, and the eggs typically hatch into mosquito larvae within 48 hours. For about a week, the larva transforms into a pupa, finally emerging as an adult mosquito in about two days. Within two weeks, you have an entirely new generation of mosquitoes ready to begin the cycle again.
On the bright side, mosquitos do not breed year-round. They only become active and produce when temperatures steadily stay 50° or above. Depending on the species, temperatures less than this kills them or drives them into hibernation. For most of the US states, mosquitoes are only a concern in the warm summer months. If you live somewhere with high temperatures year-round, or even early springs, you may experience a long mosquito season.
How to Eliminate Breeding Grounds
Here are several ways you can eliminate places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs:
- Good pond pest control. If you have a pond or a body of water on your property, odds are you are unable to move it. You can, however, make it a less desirable mosquito haven by adding mosquito fish. One fish can eat more than 200 mosquito larvae in just one hour! Another option is to introduce bacteria known as BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis) to kill any larvae in your pond.
- Cover rainwater barrels. Keep your rainwater barrels covered with a (very fine) mesh fabric to prevent mosquitoes from getting through. You can also keep the barrel completely covered when rain isn’t forecasted as a more permanent measure. If covering isn’t an option, empty your barrels within 24 hours of rain. This is before larvae will have a chance to hatch.
- Pump your birdbath. Birdbaths are most often filled with still water— but you can introduce a small pump to keep the water flowing. If, for some reason, this keeps the birds away (it shouldn’t), it truly is best to schedule the daily replacement of the water. It sounds extreme, but it will keep mosquitoes from successfully breeding.
- Eliminate debris on your property. Frequent cleanup of empty containers or surfaces where still water can collect eliminates potential breeding grounds. Regular lawn maintenance can also mean trimming back other plant life so mosquitoes can’t hide.
- Take a good look at the garden. Flowerpots, garden ornaments, and even paving stones often collect water and become a mosquito breeding ground. Encourage good drainage for potted plants. This will not only improve the health of your plants but also prevents mosquitoes. For garden ornaments, look for hollow pieces with small drilled holes to allow water to drain away.