Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mosquitos Are Here

Rain and warmer weather are closely followed by increases in mosquito activity particularly with Asian tiger mosquito. Most people still think of swamps, ponds, etc. as the source of the mosquitoes that show up in their yards. However, in most residential areas the source is more likely to be all of those small and inconspicuous water sources that are prime mosquito breeding sites. So, before people start planning a chemical assault on their yards as the solution to their mosquito problems, they should start with the simpler and more long-term approach of eliminating "collectibles". We don't mean souvenirs; we're talking about all of those objects that collect and retain rainwater.
- Bird baths - simply flush them out with a garden hose. The birds will also appreciate the fresh water.
- Old cans, tires, etc. - empty them and get rid of them.
- Outdoor flower pots - empty the water from the dishes/trays underneath them. Your plants have plenty of water without the overflow. This also helps reduce fungus gnat problems.
- Remove all of that built-up debris from your gutters. The water and decaying material attract mosquitoes
- Kids' pools - if they're not being used by kids, they're probably being used by the mosquitoes.
- Drainage ditches - they're meant to collect water *temporarily*. Keep them free of debris so that water flows out.
- Decorative fish ponds can be a source of mosquitoes if they contain a lot vegetation which provides hiding places for the mosquito larvae. 'Mosquito Dunks' are an option here.
- Tree holes - When limbs fall off trees, the remaining hole in the trunk can collect water. Flush that out or put a small piece of a mosquito dunk into it.
Many people ask about treating shrubs in their yard. Mosquitoes *may* be resting there during the day but whether it "controls" a mosquito problem is debatable. Similarly, people that use outdoor foggers will definitely kill mosquitoes but depending on the time of day/evening that they use it, they may be missing the peak activity.
One other point to remember - mosquitoes have no concept of property lines. Mosquito management takes a neighborhood effort to be truly effective.
We have information for you here.

From: Mike Waldvogel and Charles Apperson, Extension Entomology

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