Summer is here and people are spending more time outside. If you are out during the dawn or dusk hours, you may have found yourself swatting at little insects buzzing around your ears or landing on your body.
Mosquitoes are one of the most common pests around the world and the most deadly because of the viruses that they carry. The news about mosquitoes in 2017 has not been any better. Already, in Pennsylvania alone, there have been mosquitoes confirmed carrying West Nile virus and others carrying Zika.
You still have to remain vigilant about mosquitoes to keep them away from you and your family.
You can also contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control specialist to discuss the mosquito treatment options available to you.
Why do mosquitoes feed on blood?
Mosquitoes are built by nature to feed on blood for the purpose of reproduction. Only female mosquitoes feed on blood and they must do so in order to lay eggs. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, often right on the surface, where they hatch and become larvae. Male species eat nectar from plants and fruit. Although females also eat nectar, they need blood’s iron and protein to create eggs.
How do mosquitoes feed?
Female mosquitoes have the ability to find the best place on a human body on which to feed. They have a very long proboscis, which is the mouth part of the mosquito, that comes together to form a small tube with a sharp point. They pierce the skin and enter a blood vessel where they inject an anticoagulant that prevents it from clotting. The blood then rushes down the tube and into the mosquito’s stomach. If you watch a mosquito, you can see their midsection distend and turn red as the blood fills them up.
How do mosquitoes spread disease?
Mosquitoes are what are referred to as “vectors” of disease. This means that they carry diseases because they feed on blood. Certain viruses can actually infect the mosquito itself, getting into the anticoagulants and other chemicals that they transmit when they bite. When the mosquito injects their proboscis into the flesh and blood vessel of their intended meal, they can pass along those viruses.
The viruses mosquitoes can spread
There are numerous diseases that mosquitoes have been documented as spreading. Not every mosquito carries all of these diseases, but different species have the potential of carrying them. They include:
- West Nile Virus
- Zika virus
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
- Western Eastern Encephalitis (WEE)
- Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
- La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC)
- Heartworm (a concern for pets)
How do you prevent mosquito bites?
The best way to prevent mosquito bites is not to get bitten at all. They are most active in the dawn and dusk times during the day. Mosquitoes rest during the middle of the day and at night. Staying indoors during these times can greatly reduce the risk of being bitten and prevent a transmission of diseases. Wearing long sleeves, long pants and reducing the amount of exposed skin can mitigate the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
To prevent mosquito bites inside your home, make sure that doors and windows are closed (especially during dawn and dusk hours) and make sure that screens are free of holes. Mosquitoes can use very tiny openings in any surface, so make sure they are all sealed.
There are other things that can be done to prevent mosquito bites. For example, using a fan on a porch can prevent mosquitoes from being able to attack. They are notoriously bad fliers and even a small wind can be too difficult for them to conquer.
Finally, there are numerous ways to prevent mosquito bites using sprays. The best bet is to use a mosquito repellent that is loaded with a substance called DEET. This works the best and longest and is least likely to need repeated applications.
There are some natural mosquito repellents, too, such as oil of lemon eucalyptus and citronella, but they often require more frequent reapplications or may not be as effective as DEET.
How to keep mosquitoes away from your property
The best way to keep mosquitoes away is to remove places where they breed and lay eggs.
Mosquitoes must lay their eggs in still water. Even a small current will make the water non-viable for laying and hatching mosquito eggs. Stocking fish that eat mosquito larvae in fish ponds can help, too. Removing still water is important, including dumping out rain water in hanging plants, flower pots and even bird baths. Mosquitoes can use a thimbleful of water to lay eggs.
Remove vegetation and keep it trimmed to reduce the amount of shady places where mosquitoes can rest during the day.
Contact the mosquito experts!
Ehrlich Pest Control has been providing home and property owners with effective mosquito treatments that will remove mosquitoes, destroy eggs and larvae and stop them from coming back. The treatments can last for months, allowing you to enjoy your yard free from mosquito bites.
Contact your local Ehrlich mosquito control specialist and discuss treatment options today!