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Fight the Bite with Some Common-Sense Mosquito Control Tactics

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week Begins Sunday, June 20

Are you a mosquito-magnet?  The season for those pesky, blood-sucking mosquitoes is just getting underway.   We provide some tips to help you avoid the bite and make your yard less of an attraction to the local mosquito population. 

The duration of the mosquito season can be surprisingly long and is dependent upon the amount of precipitation and seasonal temperatures. It can begin as early as March and last up through the end of October. There are numerous natural mosquito habitats in our area as well as backyard hotspots where mosquitos will breed. Please educate yourself, spread the message and take steps to control mosquitoes in your backyard and reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

“Over 200 types of mosquitoes live in the continental United States and US territories; of these 200, about 12 types spread germs that can make people sick. Other mosquitoes bother people and are considered nuisance mosquitoes. In general, nuisance mosquitoes do not spread germs. Because you can’t tell which mosquito could be spreading germs when it bites, it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites.”[1]

Mosquito Proof Your Yard

Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs: 

  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Clear weeds and underbrush and trim shrubs.
  • Mow your lawn as often as necessary to keep the grass from growing too tall.
  • Encourage your neighbors to also eliminate sources on their own property.

Use natural controls

  • Use natural controls such as herbs and scented oils around your backyard and grow insect -repellent plants. These naturally repel mosquitoes. Citronella, lemongrass and chrysanthemum, are nontoxic and keep mosquitoes at bay.  Lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary also repel mosquitoes, but quite pleasant to look at and smell.

Keep mosquitoes out:

  • Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
  • Use air conditioning when possible.

Mosquito Proof Yourself

Did you know that bare skin and dark clothing attract mosquitoes?  

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting
  • Properly apply an EPA-registered repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR 3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol outdoors. According to a 2002 study in the Journal of American Mosquito Control, just drinking a single beer was enough to make a body a whole lot more attractive to roving mosquitoes.
  • Time your work outs to avoid the early and the late hours of the day when mosquitoes are most active. Avoiding their busiest times is no guarantee of avoiding the bite though. Lactic acid, body odor, and chemicals found in human sweat all attract skeeters.
  • Did you know that if you are the Universal Donor (O+), mosquitoes apparently feel that they are included in the list of recipients?

Protect Your Pets and Wildlife

The American Mosquito Control Association stresses mosquito-borne diseases do not only affect humans – they also kill countless birds, reptiles, dogs, horses, and endangered species each year. Awareness of these diseases – including canine heartworm, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and Western Equine Encephalitis – is another important component of mosquito control the general public must embrace.

We urge all residents to take a proactive approach to controlling mosquitoes and guarding against bites and mosquito borne diseases during this week and throughout the year.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/mosquitoes/about/mosquitoes-in-the-us.html

Resources

See also Mosquito Proof Your Yard published by the State of New Jersey.

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