Control for Homeowners
by Barb Ogg, Ph.D, Extension Educator
Mosquitoes pass through four distinct stages egg, larva ("wiggler"),
pupa ("tumbler") and adult. Depending on the species, eggs are
laid on soil, vegetation, in tree holes, or on the surface or
along the edges of still water. Eggs may hatch immediately or
may persist for years, waiting for the proper conditions for
hatching still water with depleted oxygen.
adult female mosquito lives approximately two weeks given favorable
conditions. They are good fliers, and can move several miles
from an emergence site if necessary. In larger cities, where
river flooding is not involved, most mosquitoes emerge locally.
Female mosquitoes possess piercing-sucking mouthparts and require
a blood meal to produce viable eggs. Eggs are laid in batches
between blood meals. One female may deposit several hundred
eggs in her lifetime. Under favorable conditions, a generation
of mosquitoes can be completed in less than a week.
your property: Eliminate all mosquito breeding areas. Examine
leaf-clogged gutters, rain pools, bird baths, sewage lagoons,
old tires, cans, bottles, children's wading pools and construction
debris. Look for anything that might catch and hold rain. Drain
water from these containers. Rinse the bird bath out weekly.
Walk around your neighborhood. Try to spot possible breeding
places near your home.
water in birdbaths or ponds may be treated with Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt) in the form of biscuits, available at
some garden and hardware stores, and suppliers. The sustained
release of the active ingredients of these products may provide
up to 30 days control of mosquito larvae. These products specifically
attack mosquito larvae and will not harm fish or birds or wildlife
that drink the water.
all doors, windows and window screens, making sure these are
in good repair and tight. Screens should be 16-inch mesh or
smaller to prevent mosquito entry into the home. Keep porch
lights off as much as possible in the evening. Or, replace traditional
white light bulbs with yellow ones to help reduce the attractiveness
of your home to mosquitoes and other night-flying insects. But,
because female mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide
that we exale, using an insect repellent while outdoors can
be the most important method to prevent mosquito bites.
outdoors: Wear long-sleeved shirts and full length trousers.
Two layers of clothing are more difficult to penetrate by biting
mosquitoes. Wearing light-colored clothes will reduce your attractiveness.
If you do a lot of garden work, consider buying a mosquito net
at a sporting goods store wear it over your hat or cap. You
may elect to use DEET (diethyl toluamide) repellents. These
come under many brand labels and many formulations (lotions,
gels, aerosols, creams, sticks). Nearly all contain DEET as
the active ingredient. Percentages of actual DEET may range
from 5% to 95%. Skin applications, especially of the more concentrated
materials, may cause problems for sensitive people, small children
or the elderly. Apply more highly concentrated products to clothing
rather than bare skin.
you are concerned about DEET, try Avon's Skin So Soft Moisture
Plus or other lotions that contain oil of citronella, a mild
outdoors when it is cooler, or when there is a brisk air movement
or strong sunlight. Different species of mosquitoes have specific
feeding periods, but many are very active in early evening hours,
generally from 5 to 9 p.m.
barbecuing: Treat flower borders, smaller trees and shrubs
around the patio with either malathion or Sevin (carbaryl) about
three hours before your outdoor event. Mosquito foggers are
available and aerosol "fogs" are reasonably effective
(some active ingredients contain pyrethrins, permethrin, resmethrin,
or tetramethrin). These pyrethroid insecticides are short-term
insecticides that have repellent properties so you should not
expect long-term control. Check the label to verify uses and
plants to avoid possible plant sensitivity and injury.
for more information on Flies, Gnats and