Ask people what they love about the warm weather months and you’ll get a variety of answers. They love the sun, the warmth, camping, picnicking, boating and just being outside with family and friends. However, if you ask them what they like least about being outdoors during the warm weather months, the answer is simple — mosquitoes.
Everyone is familiar with the buzzing of a mosquito by their ear or the itchy sensation that accompanies a mosquito bite. However, concern regarding mosquitoes has grown in recent years as these insects are capable of transmitting potentially serious diseases to humans, including the West Nile virus and Zika virus.
Follow these tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) to reduce biting mosquitoes around your property:
* Ditch that standing water. A small puddle of water or a child’s toy filled with rainwater may seem insignificant to you, but it is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Eliminate stagnant water areas — including emptying the water out of clogged gutters, flower pots, bird baths and children's pools — and you deny mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs. Don't ignore even the smallest water collection as mosquitoes can breed in as little as a 1/2 inch of water — that’s about the size of a bottle cap.
* Protect the indoors. Adding screens to your windows and doors allows you to welcome warm, fresh air into your home without letting mosquitoes in as well. Carefully inspect existing screens and repair any holes using a patch kit.
* Minimize outdoor activity at peak times. Mosquito species are most active at dawn and dusk, so try to remain indoors during these periods. Plan indoor activities for these times and save your outdoor fun for time periods when mosquitoes are less active. However, the Aedes species responsible for transmitting the Zika virus is a daytime biter, so protective measures should be taken when spending time outdoors as well.
* Double your protection. When you are outside, double your protection by wearing long clothing and properly applying insect repellent. Long clothing that is loose fitting will make it harder for mosquitoes to bite. Also, use a repellent that contains at least 20 percent of either DEET, picaridin or IR3535, or at least 30 percent lemon eucalyptus oil. Apply over top of sunscreen and according to the product label.
* Contact the experts. If you’ve tried all of the tips above and your mosquito problem is still a concern, it may be time to hire a professional. A pest control expert can help you rid your property of mosquitoes and pinpoint those hidden breeding grounds. Visit pestworld.org today to find a pest control professional in your area and to find more tips on how you can prevent pest problems in and around your home.