With this year setting records for West Nile virus infections, reducing the number of mosquitoes has never seemed more important. The mild winter and, oddly enough, the drought much of the nation is experiencing have come together to produce a bumper crop of mosquitoes. This is the peak breeding season, so we still have at least a few more weeks to get through before mosquito populations die off a little. Freezing weather will finish them off. Orkin, a pest control company has put together a list of tips to prevent mosquitoes and their bites. And that’s before you call them.
Get rid of any standing water around your home and yard. You’ve probably already checked the obvious places, like the bird bath and flower pots, but don’t forget to check gutters and downspouts, children’s toys and playsets, even piles of leaves or other yard debris can hold small amounts of water. Other overlooked places might include a car, a landscape statue, a rain gauge, or a plastic garbage bag. Some landscaping plants can collect water at the place where the leaves meet the stem. Mosquitoes can breed in less than a thimble’s worth of water, so check carefully.
Unfortunately, your neighbor may not be as diligent as you, and wind can blow mosquitoes in from other areas. So you still have to:
Wear long sleeves and long pants and use mosquito repellent. The more skin you cover, the less area the mosquito will have to bite. Put mosquito repellent on any exposed skin.
Stay indoors an hour before and an hour after both dusk and dawn. Those are the times when mosquitoes are most active. The heat of the day seems to keep them from coming out, but watch out for them in the shade. They like shade as much as you do.
Replace outdoor bulbs with yellow bulbs that are less attractive to mosquitoes. I had never heard this one before. I checked and our outdoor bulbs are yellow, but we also have geckos that hang out around the lights and keep any mosquitoes from surviving a trip near the patio.
My only addition to their tips would be to have a yard that encourages mosquito-eating wildlife. We have geckos and toads out at night and some lizards and a variety of birds to keep the mosquito populations down. Check out how to build a frog pond. A properly built and maintained pond shouldn’t breed mosquitoes.