Residential Mosquito Prevention
Did you know that you could be hatching your very own mosquitoes? It's true, certain species of mosquitoes like the Asian Tiger Mosquito prefer to live in urban environments close to humans.
Often we simply don't realize that mosquitoes could be breeding all around us in things we would never even think about. The empty dog dish that's been collecting rainwater, the fish pond that the fountain stopped working in a week ago, that old stack of tires by the garage that we've never disposed of, the boat cover that filled with rainwater a month ago, the bucket we put under the window air conditioner to collect runoff, all are examples of excellent habitat for our uninvited guest the mosquito.
With mosquitoes comes the ability to transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, with this in mind it is in our family's best interest to make sure these dangerous pests are not making a home in our own backyard. There are many ways that we all can protect ourselves and our families from the danger that mosquitoes and their ability to carry disease pose. The information below is given with the intent to help the home/property owner to control mosquito problems around their residence and to inform the individual on the best means of protecting one's self and family from being bitten by mosquitoes.
Eliminate All Breeding Areas
Tires, buckets, wheelbarrows, boat covers, tarps, pet dishes, plant pots and drip trays, kids wading pools, and clogged rain gutters are just a few examples of items in most people's backyard that can collect rainwater and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The good news is that mosquito larvae cannot live without water, if you eliminate the water you will eliminate them. You should empty or flush all of the containers in your yard at least once per week. The best way to prevent mosquitoes from taking up residence around your property is to eliminate their breeding areas and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
If your yard has low lying areas that fill with rainwater and do not drain, they can be a perfect area for mosquitoes to breed in. Typically, standing water must stay around for 4 days or more for it to be a suitable habitat for mosquito larvae. During warm weather, the mosquito’s life cycle (from egg to adult) can take anywhere from 3 to 10 days, depending on temperature and species. So if rainwater pools in your yard and then is gone in 2 to 3 days it is usually not a mosquito problem. If the standing water stays around longer it will be a mosquito problem. If you cannot fill in the area that holds the standing water or if you have a container that is too large to be tipped over or drained, treating the area with a mosquito larvicide will prevent mosquitoes from using it as a breeding ground.
There are various products available to the public to control mosquitoes around their home/property. These products can be broken down into two main categories, adulticides (to kill mosquitoes in the adult stage) and larvicides (to kill mosquitoes in the larval stage). Home use ULV and thermal foggers to apply adulticides can be found at many hardware, home improvement stores, and online retailers like Amazon. If using a ULV type fogger, to apply an effective spray cloud the fogger should be able to produce droplets under 30 microns. Larvicide products intended for use by homeowners can also be found at many hardware, home improvement, and online retailers such as Amazon. These products can come in the form of liquid sprays, granules, or donut-like disks. BTI is the most common active ingredient in many of these products. As with any pesticide or chemical product, you should always read and obey all the directions for use on the manufacture's label. If you would like more information on this topic, you can call our office at 225-214-5900
Larvicide Products Available From Our Office
We have some mosquito larvicide products available free of charge for residents of West Baton Rouge Parish. These products can be picked up from our office during regular business hours. You will need to provide your name, phone number, and address. For more information regarding the products we give out, you can call our office at 225-214-5900.
Mosquito repellents are an excellent method for protecting yourself and your family from mosquitoes and some other nasty creatures like ticks and chiggers. Generally, for mosquito repellents, products containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus in a 15-30% concentration work the best.
As with any chemical read the manufactures instructions and follow them. For more information on mosquito repellents, follow this link for the CDC's guide to insect repellents. For a handy interactive tool to find the right repellent for your needs, follow this link to the EPA's guide to registered insect repellents.
Install "yellow" Bug Bulbs
Installing "bug" light bulbs into your outside light fixtures could reduce the number of mosquitoes that are attracted to your house. Having outside security, porch, or carport lights on at night could be attracting a huge amount of mosquitoes and other insects to your home. Manufacturers claim that the yellow coating on a "bug" bulb makes the light "invisible" to insects. Whether this is true or not we cannot say, but they do seem to work fairly well at cutting down on the number of insects that show up to your outside lights.
Repair Broken Screens
Replace broken window/door screens and all other possible entry points that mosquitoes could use to enter your home. One favorite entry point for hungry mosquitoes is improper sealing around window air conditioner units. The Southern House Mosquito is so named because of its ability to find its way into the home and feed at night, and it is not the only species that will take up residence in the home if given the chance.
Wear Protective Clothing
Wearing long light-colored clothes whenever possible is a great way to reduce your chances of getting bit by mosquitoes. For an extra layer of protection use mosquito repellent on top of wearing long clothes, for those with sensitive skin, this has the added bonus of not exposing your skin to the ingredients in the repellent.