With all the rain we’ve been having this summer, you can be sure the mosquitoes are out in full force. Torrential downpours have left standing water anywhere it can pool: in puddles, in discarded tires, in tree stumps, in the folds of tarps, even in toys left outside. They all make perfect breeding grounds for this miniscule menace. That means itch-inducing — and sometimes disease-carrying — bug bites are not far behind.
To reduce your risk of becoming a mosquito’s next meal, it’s important to eliminate standing water everywhere you can find it. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, “Most mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and they don’t need much. A Frisbee or a plastic bottle cap can hold enough water to support mosquito breeding.”
“Mosquitoes undergo four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Disrupting a mosquitoes’ life cycle and habitat may reduce the number of mosquitoes around you and your environment. There are steps you can take to reduce mosquito populations before choosing to use a pesticide product,” the NPIC says.
Here’s what they recommend:
- Find and remove any puddles of water or standing water around your home to reduce breeding sites.
- Puncture unusable tires in the yard to prevent pools of water from forming inside them.
- Wipe out your bird-bath every few days. The eggs can get stuck to the bottom and survive dry periods.
- Maintain your swimming pool to prevent mosquito breeding, and report abandoned pools to your local health department.
- Consider adding mosquito fish to your water garden or small pond if it’s not connected to natural waters.
- If you have rainwater barrel, a rainwater harvesting system, consider methods to kill mosquito larvae, such as implementing a management program.
- Keep in mind that there are biological and chemical options to control mosquito larvae.
Don’t forget to clear these areas, too: ponds, lawn or yard ornaments with standing water features; buckets that accumulate rainwater or runoff; ruts that hold standing water; clogged gutters and downspouts; plant bowls saucers — anything that can hold water.
Dealing with adult mosquitoes
To cut down on encounters with adult mosquitoes, the NPIC also recommends you:
- Keep grass and shrubs trimmed short; this will reduce places for flying (adult) mosquitoes to rest.
- Keep windows and door screens in good working order.
- Use mosquito netting over infant carriers when outdoors, especially at dusk.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors, and consider staying indoors early in the morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active.
- Consider using an insect repellent. NPIC’s Insect Repellent Locator can be useful when deciding on insect repellents.
Just remember that if you use any kind of insecticide, you follow all the directions on the label. Misuse can lead to the contamination of waterways and, eventually, groundwater supplies.
To learn how to make some natural bug sprays, check out one of our earlier posts: Get mosquitoes to bug off – naturally
Here are a few more resources for dealing with these pint-sized pests.
- Tips to Prevent Mosquito Bites: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Success in Mosquito Control: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika Viruses: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Prevent Mosquito and Tick Bites: The American Red Cross
- Integrated Methods of Mosquito Management: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Mosquito Prevention and Protection: American Mosquito Control Association