DON’T OVERLOOK UNUSUAL MOSQUITO BREEDING SITES
By Chris Williams on August 16, 2017.
When mosquitoes are a problem, we advise customers on emptying items that hold standing water around their yards, things like buckets, plant saucers, wheelbarrows, and birdbaths. It’s fascinating the variety of sites that mosquitoes use for egg laying. We’re always discovering something new that holds just enough water…and mosquito larvae.
THE WATER DOESN’T HAVE TO STAND FOR LONG
Depending on the type of mosquito, eggs are laid in moist depressions that will later be flooded by rains, or in stagnant standing water that contains some organic material for the hatching larvae to feed on. Mosquitoes don’t need much water for egg laying and development either. Less than a half-inch of depth is enough provided it lasts for several days, long enough for the larvae to feed, then pupate, then turn into flying mosquitoes. The hotter the weather, the shorter the time needed for development.
As diligent as we all try to be in finding and eliminating standing water, there are always a few mosquito sites that are overlooked, or more often, never even considered. For example, entomologists at North Carolina State University conducted a research study on mosquito development in the windshield wash basins situated near the pumps at gas stations. Of the 36 gas stations surveyed, almost 28% had mosquitoes developing in their wash basins! The other stations probably actually changed or drained their basins periodically.
As you survey you own yard for mosquito breeding sites, look for the obvious standing water as listed in Patrol Your Yard for Mosquito Sites!, but also consider these unusual sites where water can collect and mosquitoes can breed:
- Old tires – Water that collects in unmounted tires is almost impossible to empty completely. Drill drain holes in old tires or in tire swings.
- Plastic tarps – Tarps that cover woodpiles, boats, deck furniture, hot tubs, sandboxes, etc. almost always have depressions and folds that collect rainwater. Check swimming pool covers, too.
- Flower vases or urns – Outdoor vases holding plastic or real flowers, especially in public places or graveyards, are often forgotten and collect water and mosquitoes.
- Ornamental ponds – Places that always hold water may be overlooked for that very reason, but if ponds are not treated or do not contain mosquito-eating fish, larvae can develop there as well.
- Storm drains – It may not be technically your property, but the mosquitoes that develop in a clogged storm drain or blocked drainage ditch in front of your house are going to visit your yard.
- Nature’s containers – It’s easy to overlook tree holes, depressions in stumps or stones, or simply semi-permanent puddles that are part of the natural landscape.
- Deck or patio furniture – Furniture tubing that is open or missing end caps, patio umbrella holders, fire pits, ice tubs, even barbecue grills can hold rainwater.