Mosquito Control

What to do about Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are challenging to live with. At a minimum, they are a nuisance. Mosquitoes are carriers of many diseases which are on the rise in the U.S. Whether you are looking to protect against itchy bites that last for days, or taking public health precautions, there is information you ought to know while considering your options. Professional help through a local exterminator is the best place to start. Your quality of life should be the main priority of any exterminator. A responsible professional who possesses the education and ability to control mosquitoes in a variety of ways without impacting the rest of the environment, including your pets and family, is essential as well.

Nuisance Pest or Public Health Threat

Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, but when diseases are not a threat, everyone still has a different reaction to a bite. The first thing we usually do is purchase a can or two of Deet spray and cover any exposed skin before venturing out to the yard; this will help repel the mosquitos, but won’t control any population. The oily skin and unbecoming smell are worth the mild protection it offers. We may also pick up a few tiki torches or repellant candles. As these options take their course, we finally sequester ourselves to the home and happily enjoy the view of the back yard. Occasionally, we muscle through the preparation of having the family outside and succumb to the risk of mosquito bites. Finally, we decide to look for some professional help that will improve our family’s quality of life.

Even governments around the world have programs in place to help control the mosquito population. According to the United States, Environmental Protection Agency,” EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) work closely with each other, along with other federal, state, and local agencies to protect the public from mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and the West Nile virus. The CDC works closely with state and local health departments, monitors the potential sources and outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, providing advice and consultation on prevention and control of these diseases. EPA ensures that state and local mosquito control departments have access to effective mosquito control tools that don’t pose an unreasonable amount of risk to human health and the environment.

State and local government agencies play a critical role in protecting public health from mosquito-borne diseases. They serve on the front line, providing information through their outreach programs to the medical and environmental surveillance networks that first identify possible outbreaks. They also manage the mosquito control programs that carry out prevention, public education, and vector population management. These agencies determine if the use of pesticides for mosquito control is appropriate for their area.”
https://www.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol/general-information-about-mosquitoes 

Diseases

Mosquitoes pose a greater threat to human health and existence than any other animal worldwide. Malaria and Yellow Fever account for more than 1 million deaths per year worldwide, primarily through the transmission of Malaria. Although Malaria does not affect the U.S. there are a few other diseases that do, and these numbers are rising, and outbreaks are expanding. Some diseases that occur in the U.S. because of mosquito bites include:

VECTOR CONTROL

Breaking the Mosquito Life Cycle

Mosquitoes have a 4-stage life cycle – Egg, larvae, pupa, and adult.

Egg – Once females obtain a blood meal (for protein), they can lay 100 – 200 eggs. The eggs are either laid on top of still water or near a water source. The eggs can dry out (desiccation) or go through a freeze until precise conditions (water and temperature) are met, and the eggs can still hatch; this tenacious process of dormancy is called “diapause.” Once conditions are livable, the life cycle begins. Each complete life cycle can last 5-14 days. The life span of an adult can be as short as a week or several months.

The best method of breaking this life Cycle: Eliminate Standing water, add koi or other fish to your ponds that like to feed on eggs. Treat standing water with appropriate pesticides.

Larva – Eggs hatch to become larvae and are aquatic. Also known as “wigglers”, they will feed on algae and bacteria that lie on the surface of the water. When threatened, they will dive below the surface for protection. Public Pest Professionals will take samples of water and count the larvae present to determine the need to apply any control procedures.

The best method of breaking this life Cycle: Larvacides contain growth regulators that inhibit the larva from pupating into its next life cycle. When the larva stage ends, they die and sink to the bottom of the reservoir. Some Larvacides are non-toxic to fish and birds, which makes this a great choice to protect the environment while effectively eliminating any future mosquitoes.

Pupa – There is no feeding during this stage, but the pupa must breathe air to survive. Like the larva, when threatened, they will dive to the bottom until they feel safe again. After a few days or longer, the adult mosquito will emerge while the lifeless pupa exoskeleton drifts on the surface.

The best method of breaking this life Cycle: the same as the larva stage, the insect growth regulators found in larvacides are just as effective in this stage of life.

Adult – Within a few days of adulthood, mosquitos will mate. Males will congregate in swarms, and the females will swarm to mate. Males will die in about a week from the time of the pupal stage. During their adult life, they feed on nectar and other sugars; the males do not bite humans and do not require protein since they don’t have eggs to develop. The female can live from a week to a month and lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime. Once a blood meal is taken, she digests for a few days and lays eggs. Then she looks for another host and blood meal. She continues this cycle until she dies. Most species of mosquitoes will only feed at dawn and dusk. They will try to stay cool and rest during the day on the underside of leaves but will bite if agitated. Some genus of mosquitoes “Culex” does not require a blood meal to form their first brood of eggs. In contrast, others have a distinct way of finding their prey and prefer the following among humans – Type 0 blood, heavy breathers, skin bacteria presence, high body heat, and pregnant women.

The Best method Breaking this life Cycle:  If your goal is to repel or to kill the mosquitoes, then your methods will vary even more.

Repelling-

Aerosol repellants like OFF and Repel are most common and have been used for decades. Tiki torches and other scented candles can help repel the mosquitoes while in your yard. At best, the candles and torches are moderately effective. Aerosols and lotions that contain the active ingredient, DEET, have the best results. There are essential oils that offer a holistic approach with diminished results as well. Nets can keep you safe from bites at night as you sleep and have saved many lives throughout the world.

Killing-

UV lights zap all flying bugs that come in contact with it; this can be gratifying, but the problem is that you are not targeting only mosquitoes, and the UV lights attract flying bugs to zap them, thus creating a bigger problem. Pesticides labeled for mosquitoes from the local hardware store can provide temporary control but lack any residual and require a precise application (i.e. Directly spray the mosquito). Your local Exterminator can use pesticides that provide 3 modes of action, instant knockdown, residual control, and growth regulators. With proper precautions and equipment, this method is most effective when used in conjunction with eliminating and treating standing water.

Mosquito Treatment Best Practices

When an exterminator is faced with the challenge to eliminate the mosquitos that are affecting your family’s ability to enjoy your backyard, there are some critical components in assuring the best possible results. Here are a few things to make sure you are getting with your Mosquito Service:

  • How often are treatments taking place, and what is the guarantee?
    • If you are looking for a one time shot to help accommodate for the event coming up in your backyard, then inform your professional. Don’t expect any control other than the short 3-4 weeks, and this may not even be guaranteed.
    • If your goal is to have ongoing control, then the best plan to have is a minimal monthly service from April to October. Several companies will recommend every 21 days and provide a guarantee in that time frame. Bulwark offers a 30-35 day service with a guarantee of free services if any activity is found.
  • How are the pesticides being applied?
    • The best method to apply pesticides for an adequate mosquito treatment is by using a backpack blower/mister; this allows for efficient use of pesticides and the ability to target the areas where mosquitoes congregate. The backpack acts as a blower that feeds the mixed pesticide in, to create a mist; this equipment is best used for a residual control, but can also have a knockdown and growth regulator added to the mist. Another piece of equipment used is a fogger; this is a ULV (Ultra Low Volume) Treatment and gives excellent coverage that can reach into any crack or crevice; this will only kill the adults and has no residual. Also, the ability to target your site of control becomes difficult, with winds over 5 miles per hour. Bulwark uses a backpack blower/mister, which helps provide a 30-day guarantee on each service.
  • Where are the pesticides being applied?
    • The best way to eliminate mosquitoes is by targeting them at their source. They prefer to rest on the underside of leaves of bushes and trees that are up to 20 feet high, the cover of leaves or fallen leaves can act as harborage for them. The backpack blower treats the leaves on the ground and in the trees while the mist is applied.
    • It is also important to ensure that pesticides are not applied to the misted areas. It is best to avoid misting where pollinators may be present or to patio furniture, children’s toys, birdbaths, fishponds, and windows of houses. Hopefully, this is common practice with every company, not just Bulwark Exterminating.

Backyards are all different; some can be more difficult than others to control. Mosquitos will sometimes fly up to 3 miles for a blood meal, so if you have a neighbor with an unclean pool or pond or a sewage drain that never dries out, these are areas outside of your backyard that should be treated to help with your mosquito issue. We want to help you address those issues as well. Therefore, a company that knows what they are doing is vital for you to enjoy your backyard again. Our technicians at Bulwark are dedicated to helping you be bug-free and feel safe at your home.

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