In a recent article titled, "Do we take mosquitoes seriously enough?" we discussed the threat mosquitoes present in our service area. Now we're going to turn our attention to the importance of year-round mosquito defense. And, yes, we did say year-round. While most people consider mosquitoes to be a spring and summer issue, there are actually many things you can do during the colder months that will help you reduce bites during their active season. Here's what you need to know most.
Spring and Summer Mosquito Prevention
Every time you step out into your yard, you're at risk of contracting a mosquito-borne virus. But you can decrease the chances by reducing the population of mosquitoes in your yard. Why? Because mosquitoes don't usually travel more than a few hundred yards in their entire life. The mosquitoes that bite you in your backyard are likely to be mosquitoes that hatched there as well. Try these ideas to reduce mosquitoes:
- Remove containers - Mosquitoes can hatch from eggs laid in an inch of still water. Look around your yard and get rid of any containers that can capture rainwater. This might be a toy dump truck, a discarded cup, the seat of an old tractor, etc.
- Alter containers - If you have an item, such as a tire swing, that holds rainwater, give that water a hole to escape and soak into the ground.
- Protect containers - If you have an item, such as a kiddie pool, that you can't poke a hole in to let rainwater drain out, consider flipping it over when it's not being used or store it in the shed or garage.
- Unclog gutters - Your gutters can act like a container if they allow water to pool up. One way this can happen is when leaves land in your gutter system and get clogged.
- Prevent pools near your foundation walls - Mosquitoes like to hide in bushes, ornamentals, and shaded locations near your foundation walls. This gives them the perfect opportunity to leave eggs in still pools of water near your home. Fix leaky spigots or hoses, make sure downspouts channel water away, loosen compacted ground, trim bushes and trees to allow sunlight in, and take other measures that prevent water from pooling.
- Remove plants - Some plants act as containers because they have broad leaves. If you have a lot of mosquitoes in your yard, these may be part of the problem. Not only do they collect rainwater, they collect sprinkler water and water from your hose when you give your plants the water they need to survive.
- Add plants - If you don't want to part with plants that capture water, you may try adding some plants to your landscape that repel mosquitoes. Some great options are lemongrass, lavender, catnip, rosemary, basil, and marigold.
Fall and Winter Mosquito Prevention
You can reduce mosquito breeding sites during the fall and winter as well. When you do, you make it harder for mosquitoes to survive the winter. A female mosquito only lives about 2 months and males barely survive a week. Only eggs make it through the winters in our service area. Your goal should be to stop them. Here are some ideas:
- Rake leaves up - When leaves are not raked up, they can get moist and compact on the ground. When they do, they allow vernal pools to develop. Mosquitoes are quick to use these earthy water sources for overwintering eggs.
- Refrain from putting bagged leaves against your foundation walls as insulation - When rain lands on a bag of leaves, it creates a nice pool for mosquito breeding. Those bags will also create pools in spring when the snow melts.
- Lawn clutter - If objects are left in your yard in the fall and get covered by snow, they can become mosquito breeding pools in the spring.
Everything you do in fall and winter works to help prevent a severe mosquito infestation in spring. And, when you combine this with ongoing mosquito service from a professional, it is a one-two punch that can make your yard nearly mosquito-free.
In our Springfield service area, we get a lot of mosquito activity due to stagnant water created by the Connecticut River. So mosquito pressures are high. That means the risk of mosquito-borne diseases is high too. Get protected with seasonal mosquito control from American Pest Solutions.