Mosquitoes are significant public health pests because they transmit disease-causing pathogens to humans as well as wild and domesticated animals. In addition, mosquitoes are considered nuisance pests because their bites interfere with human activities Most mosquitoes are active during twilight hours and at night; however, mosquito species that are common around the home, are active during the day.
Since mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle, the source of a mosquito problem is often difficult to pin down as larvae can accumulate nearly anywhere that water can collect and become stagnant. Typically, these areas are difficult to detect. Contrary to popular belief, farm ponds and lakes are typically NOT major breeding areas for the mosquitoes that most concern us. Natural predators such as fish, and predatory insects often keep mosquitoes in these environments in check.
Due to their cryptic breeding sites as well as propensity to move away from those breeding sites, mosquito control at the individual level is difficult and population management often requires community-wide approaches. For instance, the Asian tiger mosquito, the most common mosquito species in North Carolina and an aggressive daytime biter, can fly anywhere from 100 — 300 yards from where they emerged. This means that a mosquito that did not originate on your property can still affect you by invading from surrounding areas in the neighborhood.
A community-wide effort is needed to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate mosquito breeding sites. Around your home and neighborhood, natural tree holes and man-made objects such as bird baths, boats, canoes, discarded tires, and plant pots collect rainwater and allow mosquitoes to breed literally right in your backyard. Stagnant water in abandoned or poorly maintained swimming pools becomes an ideal breeding site as well.
Wearing long-sleeved, light colored shirts and long pants outdoor will help to reduce mosquito bites but can be uncomfortable during hot summer months. Instead, insect repellents can provide personal protection from mosquitoes. Many of these products contain DEET, but the US EPA has updated its information on selecting repellent products. Select the desired formulation containing the highest% of active ingredient and/or longevity period. Repeated use of repellents over a short period of time is not recommended, especially for children and pregnant women. Also, don’t forget to protect your pets.
Exclusion works well to keep mosquitoes outside. Install tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to help keep mosquitoes out of your home. Although bats and birds, such as purple martins, consume mosquitoes as part of their diet, they do not have a significant impact on mosquito populations. You can install nesting boxes around your property to attract these natural predators to the area. However, bear in mind that the feeding activity of insect-eating bats and birds may not be sufficiently selective to cause noticeable reductions in mosquito populations. Also, many of our major mosquito problems occur when some predators are inactive, or less active. For example, the Asian tiger mosquito is most active during the daytime when bats are normally roosting.
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