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Mosquitoes and disease

Before and after images of mosquito feeding on human

The warm temperatures and rain in the spring triggers flowers to bloom, grass to grow, and, yes, mosquitoes to wake up!  These bloodsucking pests generally begin popping up around April and continue to be a problem until sometime around September or October.  In warmer areas of the country, mosquito activity can begin earlier in the year and extend well into the winter.

These pests can be quite annoying because of their biting habits, but more importantly because many of them play a role in transmitting various human and animal pathogens.  Therefore, by controlling and educating the public about mosquitoes and disease, pest management professionals play an important role in protecting public health.

Mosquitoes are efficient vectors of many harmful disease-causing organisms.  In fact, mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths annually than any other living creature. This is because mosquitoes transmit a variety of debilitating and deadly parasites and viruses throughout the world.

In the United States, mosquitoes vector pathogens to both humans and animals. These pathogens include several types of encephalitis viruses and canine heartworm.  Probably the most notorious mosquito-vectored pathogen in the U.S. right now is West Nile virus (WNV).  In 2012, the U.S. saw a record number of WNV outbreaks, including 5,387 reported human cases and 243 WNV-related deaths.

The Impact of Mosquitoes on Humans

Because mosquitoes can have such an impact on humans and animals, it is important to be educated on their biology and behavior so you can avoid them using a variety of integrated pest management techniques.  Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis, with egg, larval, pupal and adult stages of development.

The immature stages (egg, larva and pupa) are aquatic.  Mosquito eggs are laid either in water or in flood prone areas.  All mosquito eggs require water to hatch, allowing larvae and pupae to develop underwater.

Once the pupal stage is complete, adult mosquitoes will emerge from the water.  Only adult female mosquitoes bite, as they require the protein from a blood meal for egg production.  Adult males feed on nectar.  The time it takes for a mosquito to complete its life cycle is about 10 to 16 days.  This rapid development time means that severe mosquito outbreaks can happen with little warning.

So what can our customers do to avoid the bites of these blood suckers?  The first step in any mosquito control program is to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.  This means draining any container (i.e. flower pots, bird baths, children’s toys etc.) that can hold a cup or more of water.

Additional steps to take to avoid mosquitoes and disease include keeping vegetation mowed to eliminate mosquito resting sites and the use of screens to exclude mosquitoes from a home or building.  When spending time outdoors, wear light colored clothing and use an insect repellent with an EPA-registered active ingredient.

In addition to steps that customers can take to avoid mosquitoes, Rentokil North America can also provide mosquito management services.  Our primary service package features season-long mosquito control which entails controlling adult mosquitoes.

Controlling Mosquitoes and Disease

Controlling adult mosquitoes can be done by performing a barrier treatment around a home or building by making a liquid pesticide application to perimeter vegetation, ornamentals and mulch areas.

Treating vegetation, ornamentals and mulch areas will target adult mosquitoes, because they will come into contact with these treated areas when they land to rest.  Other mosquito services we provide include larvicide services and one-day mosquito barrier treatments for outdoor parties.

Learn more about mosquitoes and disease by contacting your local Ehrlich office or visit our mosquito prevention page.

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Do you have any mosquito-related questions? Ask away in the comments! 

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