Are Mosquitoes Eating You Alive?
By Chris Williams on June 30, 2015.
You say your family seems to be getting lots of mosquito bites lately and you don’t know why? You could be breeding mosquitoes in your own backyard! Mosquitoes need water to breed. They especially like still and stagnant water in containers like old buckets and cans, even tires and boats. The female mosquito (the one that bites!) lays her eggs in the water. Soon the mosquito’s eggs hatch into actively swimming “wigglers” (larvae). In a few days, hungry adult mosquitoes are looking to feed on you and your family.
Spraying or fogging your yard can give you short-term relief and might be a good idea if you are planning an outdoor event, but the only way to permanently control mosquitoes is to get rid of the standing water where they breed. Begin by carefully inspecting your entire property. Look for anything holding even a small amount of water.
When you’ve found and emptied the more obvious things like wheelbarrows, wading pools, and buckets, look one more time for the less obvious. Tarps can hold water, saucers under plants can hold water, clogged roof gutters can hold water, pet water dishes can hold water, and old tires are a commonly overlooked source of mosquitoes. If you have a fish pond in your yard, make sure it contains fish that will eat the mosquito larvae.
Water doesn’t have to sit for more than a few days for mosquitoes to develop. You may see the larvae hanging from the surface of the water. If you disturb them, they will dive to the bottom of the container. Mosquito pupae are active and are called “tumblers.” They bounce around in the water until they are ready to turn into adult mosquitoes.
Once you’ve done everything you can to eliminate mosquito breeding sites from your yard, go a little further to protect your family. Remember, many mosquitoes can travel some distance from your neighbors’ yards or the swamp across the road. To avoid getting mosquito bites, you should:
- Avoid outdoor activities between dusk and dawn. This is when most mosquitoes are actively biting.
- Use mosquito repellents when outdoors.
- Wear light-colored, long sleeve shirts and long pants.
- Make sure window screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out.
- Plan family activities to avoid mosquito-infested areas like marshes and wetlands.
Photo credit: Key West Wedding Photography / Foter / CC BY-SA