When the weather begins to warm up, you can be sure Mosquitoes will be arriving soon. These summertime pests become most active in the evening and nighttime hours. Mosquitos move from larvae stage to adult stage within 10-14 days.
There are more than 170 different kinds of mosquito species in North America. Most mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil. Only the females require blood meals and detect body heat and carbon dioxide in order to find a warm-blooded animal on which to feed. Mosquitoes are vectors of many diseases including yellow fever, encephalitis, West Nile virus and malaria. Many of these diseases mimic other common maladies in the early stages and humans can become very ill before a proper diagnosis may be determined. Keeping grass cut short and debris cleaned up can eliminate some habitat areas for these pests. Emptying any standing water from gutters, flower pots, unused swimming pools, tires and any receptacle that can hold even a tiny amount of water can reduce mosquito populations.
Color – Brown with white rings on the abdomen
Length – 1/4” to 3/8” long
Diet – The male mosquitoes only feed on nectar while the females feed on both nectar and blood. Since they can detect both body heat and carbon dioxide, humans become an easy target for the female mosquito
Habitat – Mosquitoes breed in very moist soil or in standing water such as stagnant ponds, rainwater that sits in one place for a period of time, catch basins and other places where water can sit for a while without drying up.
Impact – Mosquitoes provide food for other insects and nighttime creatures such as bats. However, the impact on humans is less inviting. As they “bite” they inject a little saliva under the skin. The saliva helps numb the skin for a while and keeps the blood from clotting so they can get their meal. It is this saliva that becomes the foreign substance our body doesn’t like and reacts by itching and swelling. More dangerous is the fact that the saliva is the point of entry for Malaria in some countries and West Nile Virus here in North America.
Control - While some mosquito types can fly in from far away, most mosquitoes that bite humans are living in close proximity. During the day, adults rest on the underside of leaves and in tall grass. Most treatment programs target these areas with pesticide placements to kill off biting adult populations. In order to be effective, these treatments must be repeated periodically during the summer season.