You may have noticed an increase in the mosquito population in areas that have flooded, such as Houston and Nashville, thanks to hurricane Harvey. Weather affects the numbers of mosquitoes – they like standing water and heat. Since mosquitoes are cold-blooded, their temperature is about the same as their environment.
Rain and mosquitoes go hand in hand. If you have a wet spring, expect to see more mosquitoes. If you have a hurricane that floods, as the recent hurricane Harvey did in August and September 2017, and as the upcoming hurricane Irma may well do – definitely expect to see mosquitoes as long as flood waters remain. To breed, most mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Flooded areas bring plenty of opportunity for standing water. Even after the floods recede, pockets of standing water may remain, and these are the perfect places for mosquitoes.
A female mosquito needs just an inch of water to lay her eggs. Mosquitoes lay batches of eggs that contain up to 200 eggs. Once the mosquito eggs hatch, the turn into larvae in 24 to 48 hours. The entire life cycle of a mosquito ranges from as little as four days to a month, depending on conditions, including the availability of water and the temperature. Mosquitoes will breed in temperatures as low as 50 degrees, but they really like temperatures above 78 degrees.
The warmer it is, the better chance of a mosquito spreading disease it may be carrying, including West Nile Virus and Zika virus. These diseases are more effectively transmitted in warmer temperatures because the warmer air causes the viruses to incubate faster.
While you won't be able to eradicate all mosquitoes without spraying, you can discourage them from making your backyard a home. Remove all breeding grounds for mosquitoes from your yard to help control these pesky bugs, including:
Old tires. If you are using an old tire as a swing, drill holes in the bottom of the tire so that the swing doesn't retain water.
Make sure all tarps and trash can lids are positioned so that they don't hold water. Use sticks or other braces to make a teepee out of a tarp so water doesn't build up on it.
Make sure drainage ditches around your property and your gutters are clean so that water flows through them. Clogged ditches or gutters allow for standing water, a mosquito's favorite place to lay eggs.
Replace the water in planters, birdbaths and animal watering dishes every day.
Pick up any cups, bowls, toys, pails and other playthings that hold water.
If any hardwood trees in your yard have holes that hold water, spray the holes with an insulating foam sealant spray.
Be sure to cut the grass and keep all vegetation trimmed – adult mosquitoes like to hide in these cooler areas when it gets too hot. Once dusk comes and the temperature cools down, the mosquitoes will come out of their cooler hiding places, and you are the perfect target for feeding.
Check all window and door screens in your home to ensure that there are no holes. Repair holes if you often leave the windows open.
If you live in an area that already has problems with mosquitoes, such as Houston, flooding only exacerbates the problem. Doing your part helps to control mosquitoes throughout the city.
If you have problems with mosquitoes even after picking up the yard and cleaning ditches and gutters, contact Clint Miller Exterminating so that we may spray for these pests and help you further control them.