Controlling Mosquitoes In and Around Your House
There is nothing more terrifying than lying in your darkened bedroom, in your comfy bed at night and hearing that familiar high-pitch squeal from a mosquito in your ear. Knowing there is a bloodthirsty mosquito lurking in the shadows of your bedroom is enough to bring anyone out of their slumber.
The lights come on and the search for the culprit begins. And who knows how many friends it may have brought along for a midnight snack?
Mosquitoes are everywhere, except Antarctica, but who wants to live there. In fact, there are nearly 3,000 different species of mosquitoes in the world. But you don’t have to live in mosquito-infested world; there are many tips and techniques for reducing the mosquito population in and around your house.
The Life Cycle of a Mosquito
If you want to reduce the mosquito population around your home, you first have to understand the life cycle of a mosquito. It is only the female mosquitoes that bite. The females need blood to develop her eggs. And the females lay a lot of eggs. She can lay anywhere form 100 to 300 eggs at a time and it only takes 7 to 10 days for these eggs to hatch into adults.
The female mosquito is very picky about where she lays her eggs. Most mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in stagnant water rich with decomposing organic matter. Some ideal environments include polluted streams, catch basins, and standing water from septic systems. Other areas such as water that collects in buckets, discarded tires, clogged roof gutters, birdbaths, and roadside ditches are also ideal places for the momma mosquito to lay her eggs.
After she finds a suitable place, she lays her eggs. Some mosquito species lay their eggs directly on the water’s surface, while others leave their eggs in an area that will flood later. The eggs then hatch into an aquatic organism known as a mosquito larva.
The mosquito larvas are wingless, legless and wormlike in appearance. The larvae skirt and scurry about in the water as they shoot to the surface of the water to obtain oxygen and dive to the bottom to find food. They feed off of organic matter in the water and grow rapidly at this stage.
The larva then sheds its skin and molts becoming a pupa. The pupa lives in the water until it becomes an adult with it’s legs, wings and other adult features now intact.
Many mosquitoes are born in the wild and never come in contact with humans but instead obtain blood from animals in their habitat. The mosquitoes that breed around homes are considered “domestic species.” These mosquitoes feed off of humans and will even enter homes in search of blood.
Mosquito Species Around the Home
The most common species of mosquito found in the urban and suburban areas is the Culex pipens. This mosquito will lay her eggs any place where there is still stagnant water that contains decomposing organic matter.
Another common mosquito around the home is the Aedes triseriatus, otherwise known as the eastern tree-hole mosquito.
This mosquito lays its eggs in the tree holes of a variety of trees. These tree holes provide the perfect environment since the water that accumulates in the holes becomes very stagnant from the decomposition of the wood in the rotting process.
Discarded tires that contain water and decomposing leaves simulate the tree-hole habitat therefore attracting these mosquitoes as well.
What can be done to prevent it?
There are several ways to keep mosquitoes at bay, thereby protecting your home and family. When West Nile Virus is a possibility, then some of the more drastic measures may be in order.
However, if you prefer a more old school, do it yourself approach, then there are some traditional methods to keep in mind.
Old Traditional Methods:
- Citronella Candles
- Lemon Eucalyptus oil
- Mosquito Netting
All of these have shown some success in the past for deterring mosquitoes, but they are not the strongest possible methods and they might not get the job done as well as more current stronger methods.
- Pyrethrin Aerosols
- Propane fogging devices from hardware or garden shops
- Misting solutions
- bug zappers
- Putting salt in watering holes
Now you might wonder why putting salt in areas where water may collect around the house is a good idea. The life cycle for all mosquitoes begin in water.
Once a female mosquito (only the females bite for reproductive reasons) draws blood from a host, she is then able to lay her eggs according to InsectHobbyist. Which she does so in water, in groups known as rafts. The egg becomes larva on up into adulthood.
Disrupting anything that may be a water source near your home can deter mosquitoes from your location.
Some ideas are:
- Storm Drains
- Pans or anything near the house that can hold water like a cup
- A/C units
Of course, if you have tried all the above, or if you are just more careful than usual due to the West Nile Virus being at stake, try to use a professional pest control service. Find one that gives out free inspections and who are certified by their state to do business.