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WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE MOSQUITOES AGAIN?

By Chris Williams on March 2, 2017.

Spring weather seems to arrive earlier every year. I was very worried last summer about mosquitoes and mosquito bites because of Zika and all the other mosquito news. Will we have a little bit of time before it gets warm when we don’t have to worry about wearing repellent all the time? L. B., Newmarket, NH

Sorry, but if you want complete protection from mosquitoes you’ll have to be on your guard starting in very early spring, like now. Some mosquitoes are already active on warm days (see It’s Not Too Early for Mosquitoes!). Mosquitoes that spend the winter in the adult stage waste no time “waking up” so they can begin laying eggs to start the next generation. But, to develop and lay her eggs, the female first needs a blood meal…and that’s where you come in.

Other types of mosquitoes that did not spend the winter as adult mosquitoes show up a little later. The Asian tiger mosquito, for example, starts out in the spring from eggs that have spent the winter in low areas due to be flooded by snow runoff or spring rains (see Get to Know the Asian Tiger Mosquito!). Once the weather is warm enough and the eggs are flooded, mosquito larvae will hatch out. Obviously it will take a little longer for these mosquitoes to get going and to get to the biting stage. Larvae develop over a couple of weeks in standing water, eventually emerging as hungry adult mosquitoes to start the cycle again.

A few mosquito species even spend the winter as larvae. These guys have to thaw out to become active and resume their development to adult mosquitoes.

IT’S TIME TO CHECK FOR MOSQUITO BREEDING SITES

The point of all this is that you need to start surveying your yard now in early March for mosquito breeding sites. Emerging female mosquitoes will be looking for standing, stagnant water in which to lay their eggs. It doesn’t take much water either, a little overflow in a plant saucer can serve just fine. Think about the less obvious things in your yard that will collect and hold water like the folds in that tarp over the woodpile, or the old tires stored behind the shed, or the wheelbarrow parked next to the garage.

And, if you’ve been putting off that drainage or re-grading project, now is a good time to eliminate those areas in your yard where water tends to collect. Any time you eliminate mosquito breeding sites, you are helping to protect your family from mosquito diseases and you are making outdoor time in your yard much more enjoyable.

For advice on how to conduct a mosquito site check and what to look for, see these Colonial blogs:

Photo Credit: Public Domain

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