Here's the scoop on how to turn your home into an anti-mosquito fortress.
It’s that time of year--mosquito season. This year, people in the United States are extra skittish with news that the Zika virus is quickly spreading through the Americas. Not to mention the other mosquito-borne diseases.
On Tuesday the Texas Department of State Health Services announced a locally transmitted case of the debilitating disease chikungunya, which add to the mosquito angst. While West Nile Virus remains a problem in many states.
So what can you do to help lock-down your yard against this annoying and potentially dangerous insects?
First things first.
The most critical first step is to get rid of mosquito-breeding sites in your yard. A mosquito only needs a tiny bottle cap-size pool of water to lay up to 200 eggs, which is why removing standing water is critical.
Here’s a list of things you need to do to avoid standing water:
Be sure to scrub.
Even after dumping the water out of buckets or pots, eggs can remain stuck to the sides and survive for months. Be sure to scrub right above the water line, which is where the mosquitoes lay their eggs. That way they will fall on the ground. They can't hatch in the grass.
Keep your grass and foliage short.
Remember that mosquitoes like to hide in heavy foliage to avoid the sun. Long grass and dense foliage gives them more places to hide.
Be skeptical of backyard sprays.
Currently, there it no retail product which is been proven to repel mosquitoes effectively. Many yard sprays are made with what are called exempt pesticides, which means they have not been reviewed by the EPA for safety. Be sure you read the label and, if you still want to buy or try yard sprays, look for one with an EPA registration number.
Bug zappers and trappers don't do a lot.
Traps and zappers will kill a few mosquitoes. But they don't significantly reduce the population in your back yard.
Candles aren't strong enough.
While citronella oil candles and torches are very popular they don't do a lot. They will repel mosquitoes if you are right in the midst of their scent, but if you are sitting at a table with a candle burning your ankles are far enough away from the candle to be immune from their benefits. So you will likely still get some bites. If you're going to use candles be sure you're using other methods as well.
Birds or bats are good for the ecosystem.
While birds and bats are part of many backyard ecosystems, mosquitoes only make up 1% of their diet. So don't rely on them for mosquito control.
Keep yourself covered.
Be sure you and your family wear light colored clothing that keeps your arms and legs covered. Mosquitoes prefer to bite lower extremities. So be sure your legs and ankles are covered.
Not all repellents are created equal.
You should also use repellents with around 20 to 30% DEET or ingredients like picaridin, oil-of-lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane–diol or IR3535.
Don’t waste money on wristbands.
Research has shown that these wristbands are pretty much are worthless in the fight against mosquitoes. All you're doing is protecting your wrist.
Get your neighbors on the same team.
While you can take all of these steps, if your neighbors are waging the same war you could pay the price. Standing water in a neighbors yard could significantly increase the population in your yard. So work together and encourage your neighbors to also adopt mosquito control habits to keep the community safe.
Get professionals involved.
While you can certainly decrease your mosquito exposure and the number of bites you'll receive by following these steps, the only way to reduce the mosquito population in your yard up to 95% is to call in the professionals. Mosquito Squad is America's first mosquito-focused pest control company. Our team of professionals are experts in killing mosquitoes. That's our specialty. Call or fill out our free quote form to get a no obligation estimate so you can enjoy your yard without the nuisance and dangers of mosquitoes.