The Itchy Facts About Mosquitoes

My curious streak, especially when it comes to pests, inspires me to do a little detective work now and then. My sleuthing of newspapers, magazines (you should see the stack in my office!), talking with colleagues and customers, and scanning websites for new information on what’s happening with pests yields some interesting material.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5,387 cases of West Nile virus disease were reported last year to CDC, the highest national total since 2003. In California, there were a total of 451 cases reported and, sadly, 16 deaths, and in Arizona there were 125 reported cases.

In California alone there are more than 50 species of mosquitoes and 60 mosquito and vector control districts responsible for protecting the public from these potentially deadly pests that enjoy taking their blood meal from humans, birds and animals. Friendly sorts I guess? Not!

While a good number of these mosquitoes pose no threat to consumers, there is a nasty contingent of mosquitoes that has less than honorable intentions. Mosquitoes of the Culex, Aedes and Anopheles species are the primary vectors of the West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and dog heartworm to name a few.

Mosquitoes are light brown with no distinct markings and are drawn to water. Any standing water – bird baths, rain barrels, standing water on pool covers, stagnant ponds or landscape water features, and even a saucer underneath a potted plant – is prime real estate for mosquitoes.

Home and business owners can protect themselves, their families, co-workers and customers from the threat mosquitoes pose in two ways this summer – personal protective measures and cultural measures designed to reduce the number of mosquitoes in and around your living and work environment.

Mr. Little and the pest and public health professionals at Western Exterminator have put together a list of “Eight Great Tips to Keep Mosquitoes Away” that you can follow to safeguard your home or business against mosquitoes. The list includes:

  1. Eliminate standing water in and around your home or office. Even small plant saucers can support a hungry mosquito population.
  2. Clean out roof gutters of debris that can trap and hold water, and empty bird baths on a weekly basis.
  3. Keep water off of pool covers and maintain good water quality.
  4. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants (when practical) if outdoors at dusk.
  5. Place mosquito netting over infant carriers and strollers.
  6. Make sure your window and door screens are in good repair, and fix or replace any with holes or tears.
  7. Use an insect repellant that contains DEET – there are several good brands on the market.
  8. Avoid excessive irrigation of your lawn and plants to avoid excessive moisture build up.

One thing to keep in mind when trying to eliminate mosquitoes from your premises: Adult mosquitoes can fly several miles from where their primary harborage is located. Even if you successfully control mosquito larvae in your backyard, the mosquitoes from “down the street” can still pose a threat. Talk with your neighbors about mosquito control and have everyone keep an “eye to the sky” for possible signs of infestation.

If you have a problem with mosquitoes in and around your home or business, I would like to hear about it. Please send me an e-mail with the details to [email protected] and I will get back to you right away with more information.

Until next time, enjoy the summer and thanks for making Western Exterminator Company “The Final Word in Pest Control®”

Have a pest free day.

Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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