Mosquitos. If you step foot outside during the warmer months, you’re sure to encounter them. The small but mighty blood-sucking insects thrive in hot, humid, moist environments and can be hard to get rid of. They can quite literally suck the fun out of summer outdoor experiences.
Mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile and Zika are becoming more common all over the country, so it is important to keep them to a minimum. Reducing the number of mosquitos can be done by interrupting a mosquitos’ life cycle before they can multiply. Mosquitos go through four life cycle stages that include egg, larva, pupa and onto adulthood. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/controlling-adult-mosquitoes), the first three stages occur in water, but the adult is an active flying insect. Only the female bites and feeds on the blood of humans or animals.Here are some tips to keep your home mosquito-free and avoid bites!
- Mosquitos often breed in standing water, so it is very important to make sure you discard any containers that can hold stagnant water in or around your home at least once a week. This can include bird baths, trash cans, ponds, and anything that holds water after rain.
- Clean out gutters regularly or invest in a covered gutter system.
- Repair leaky outdoor pipes or faucets.
- Keep grass and weeds trimmed short. Adult mosquitos tend to die out in grass or shrubs during the daytime.
- Install yellow CFL “bug lights.” They attract less bugs than regular outdoor bulbs.
- Make sure all of the doors and windows in your home close tightly so they can’t sneak in. Avoid leaving doors open or windows cracked. Install window and door screens if your home does not already have them.
- If any of your trees have holes that collect water, fill them in.
- Schedule outdoor activities to avoid dawn and dusk when possible.
- When you go outside in the evenings, cover your skin with long-sleeve shirts, pants and socks whenever possible.
- Cover baby strollers or carriers with netting.
- If you have a swimming pool, make sure the water stays clean and chlorinated. It should be drained or covered when not in use.
- Invest in a fan that can be used outside. The breeze prevents the weak-flying mosquitos from circling your outdoor space and bugging you.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, and IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) / para-menthan-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents
- Treat clothing with Permethrin, but do not use directly on skin.
- If mosquitos make their way into your home, use an indoor spray or fogger. They hide in dark places like closets and under sinks. Make sure you follow all directions and remove animals and children from the home.