It’s Not Too Early for Mosquitoes!
By Chris Williams on March 11, 2015.
Mosquitoes are not just a summertime pest. Spring mosquitoes can be a real problem in certain areas. The Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project says that by mid-March, they are already checking and treating wetland areas for mosquito larvae that hatched in late February!
Mosquitoes don’t just die off in the fall. They spend the winter in different stages, depending on the type of mosquito. Asian tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, spend the winter in the egg stage. Salt marsh mosquitoes in the genus Ochlerotatus spend the winter as either eggs or larvae. As the weather warms in the spring, or after spring rains, these mosquitoes slowly begin to develop, and it will take several weeks or even a month or more before they become biting adults.
But some mosquitoes (Culex and Anopheles) are primed for an early start in the spring. They spend the winter as adults and are ready to begin feeding as soon as there is a hint of warm weather. Already mated adult females will hide during the winter in protected places such as tree holes, under decks, in animal burrows, in sheds, in storm drains, etc. where they go into a sort of hibernation.
These mosquitoes may suddenly appear on the first warm days in late winter or very early spring. They will look for a blood meal that will give them the needed nutrients to lay eggs in standing water.
Our Heavy Snows Could Mean a Mosquito Spring
In New England, we could have a bad spring mosquito season thanks to all of the snow pack left to melt. There will likely be wet conditions and puddles around for a long time. Any place with standing water can breed mosquitoes.
One group, the spring floodwater mosquitoes, takes advantage of leftover winter. In late summer, females lay their eggs in ground depressions which may be dry at the time, but which are destined to have standing water come spring. That water can be from snow melt or early spring rains. The eggs can remain viable for up to 7 years in case of a dry spring.
What Can You Do About Spring Mosquitoes?
The best way to control mosquitoes around homes at any time is to eliminate sites with standing water. This can mean cleaning gutters, or emptying buckets, or regrading low areas (see Spring is the Time for a Mosquito Check of Your Yard). No water for the larvae to develop in…no biting mosquitoes. You can’t always eliminate large areas of water, however.
Each situation is different. Call Colonial Pest for a mosquito evaluation of your property. Treating areas of standing water to kill mosquito larvae (called larvaciding) is one control method we use that prevents adult mosquitoes from ever developing. If biting adult mosquitoes are a problem, we can treat for those as well.
For a list of possible mosquito breeding sites around your home, check out this Colonial blog: How to Eliminate Mosquitoes From Your Yard – Advice From the Pros.
By Alan R Walker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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