Mosquitos can carry a variety of diseases, and with heightened concerns over West Nile and Zika, you need to take action to keep you and your family safe.
Eliminating a mosquito problem is a methodic, well thought out process. Most mosquitos live and stay in areas outside of direct sunlight during the day and where it is cooler, such as underneath leaves and close to the ground. Moreover, mosquitos lay their eggs in shallow pools of water of less than eight-inches deep, and they sense heat, light and the presence of carbon dioxide, which is the gas you exhale, to identify potential blood sources. Some mosquitos, such as the Tiger mosquito will actually bite during the day too. Fortunately, you can stop the onslaught of mosquitos by take the following steps:
- Mist or spray mosquito repellant and insecticides within four-feet of the ground. This will kill 95 percent of the mosquitos in your yard.
- Drain sources of water that are less than eight-inches deep. For example, standing water in your yard is bad, but mosquitos cannot breed in an in-ground pool.
- Mosquitos are attracted to sources of heat, so eliminate incandescent light bulbs where possible, and reduce the amount of lighting outdoors.
- Since mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide, which you cannot prevent from exhaling, wear a DEET-containing mosquito repellant during twilight and nighttime when outdoors until you have successfully treated the area.
You may also want to follow a mosquito treatment schedule, which includes two treatments during each month. The first treatment in each month takes place between the first and the 15th. The second treatment is between the 16th and the last day of the month. Moreover, the treatment schedule is best implemented throughout the duration of mosquito season, which spans from April to October.
Identifying the Signs of a Mosquito Problem
If you have mosquito problem, you have likely been bitten already. But, you may have a mosquito problem and not realize it if you do not spend much time outdoors during the evening or early morning. You may also notice unusual bumps or scratching from small children and pets.
Look for areas of pooling water in your gutters, near sprinklers, your pet’s water dishes, on pool covers, near tarps or any other area where water accumulates. Drain these area of water immediately. You may notice small mosquito larvae in the water, but the larvae are difficult to see. As a result, it is best to just completely drain the source of water.
Mosquitoes of Long Island
Daytime Biters: Tiger Mosquito
This is the time of year when Long Islanders are focusing on the traditional activities of summer, including an increase in time spent outdoors for everything from barbecues to hiking to athletic events and days at the beach. Every summer, Arrow receives thousands of calls about mosquito problems across Long Island neighborhoods. In recent years the mosquitos turn out to be Tiger mosquitos, often found in containers of water on or near residents’ property. Tiger mosquito larva can complete its development into an adult biting mosquito in as little as a tablespoon of water. Tiger mosquito activity increased by 220% between 2010-2012 in Nassau and Suffolk counties, based on figures from both county health departments. Tiger mosquitos are only active during daylight hours, but generally avoid open sunlight. This is a particular problem in neighborhoods that have a lot of shade where the mosquitos usually inhabit the foliage of a bush or shrub, waiting for a person or animal to walk by. Unlike other mosquito species, they are more likely to bite a person on the ankles, and the back sides of arms and legs. Tiger mosquitos are a potential health threat because they can transmit diseases that include West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis.
Nighttime Biters: Culex Pipiens
Culex mosquitos are painful and persistent biters also, but prefer to attack at dusk and after dark, and readily enter dwellings for blood meals. Domestic and wild birds are preferred over man, cows, and horses. Culex mosquitos are generally weak fliers and do not move far from home, although they have been known to fly up to two miles. Culex usually lives only a few weeks during the summer months. Those females, which emerge in late summer search for sheltered areas where they “hibernate” until spring. Warm weather brings her out in search of water on which to lay her eggs. Reducing breeding sites of mosquitos around your home will help protect your family from mosquito-borne diseases.
Arrow’s 6 Steps to Effective Mosquito Control
- Inspect areas of pooled water that cannot be drainedIf you have areas of pooled water than cannot be drained, ensure the depth is not less than 8 inches. If it is less than 8 inches, you will need to treat the water with an insecticide or drain it.
- Remove breeding sites, e.g., pooled water
Drain all sources of breeding water of less than 8 inches as soon as it forms. For example, check your grounds for standing water after rainstorms or running the sprinkler.
- Treat outside perimeter to eliminate roosting calls (nests)
Mosquitos form large nests while flying, and they can seem like a swarm. However, treating the perimeter of your property can prevent these swarms from forming.
- Identify lights and how they attract mosquitoes.
Remove incandescent light bulbs, and eliminate all lights where possible. For example, garden lights may attract mosquitos, so you may want to remove them from areas where you spend time outdoors when mosquitos are active.
- Monitor and track the presence of mosquitoes
If you notice an increase or dramatic decrease in the activity of mosquitos near your home, let Arrow’s technicians know about it. This will help keep the problem under control.
- Schedule prevention treatments
If you have an upcoming event or party outdoors, schedule preventative treatments before it. This will help to reduce the presence of mosquitos during the event. For example, a pre-party treatment can help keep mosquitos from bothering your guests.