Mosquitoes are one of nature’s most hardy and persistent creatures. They are capable of breeding hundreds of offspring in only an inch or so of water who will be feasting on you and breeding again in a matter of weeks. These pests are not only an annoyance; they also carry infectious diseases such as Malaria, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and parasites. Knowing this, what can you do to minimize mosquito infestations and interference with your outdoor activities? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Eliminate Breeding Grounds
Since mosquitoes require water to breed, the best way to prevent a mosquito infestation is to eliminate standing water from around or near your property; this includes stagnant pet water dishes, old tires, rain gutters and downspouts, broken sprinklers, planting buckets, and uneven pavement areas that could hold water.
Use mulch around plants, trees, and shrubs to avoid standing water that can accumulate in these areas. Keep hedges and shrubs trimmed back to minimize resting areas where mosquitoes will gather to get out of wind or excessive temperatures.
Don’t let them Feed
Mosquitoes need to feed on blood in order to breed. To minimize bites, and impair the female mosquito’s ability to feed replace or repair broken screens, utilize mosquito deterrent tools such as fans, light colored clothing, and patio screening.
Water Feature Solutions
If you have water features on your property, make sure that all of the filtration and circulation systems are working properly. This keeps water from sitting stagnant and creating an ideal breeding ground for thousands of mosquitoes at a time.
You should also include natural mosquito predators in your pond or water features such as Western Mosquitofish, dragon flies, frogs and lizards. Ideally you want to choose a variety of mosquito predators that will not interfere with each other. Since Mosquitofish will also eat tadpoles and other mosquito eating insects they would not be a good pairing with frogs or dragonflies. However Dragonflies are a great option since they spend the majority of their life, up to the first five years, as larva in the same water as mosquitoes feeding on mosquito larva.
Nearby Slow Moving Streams or Drainage Systems
If you have stagnant streams or drainage ditches that run nearby or through your property, consider installing bat boxes to entice migrating bats to rest and feed in your area. This will help minimize your mosquito population without using pesticides that negatively affect the ecosystem as a whole.
Although bats eat an enormous amount of mosquitoes, they also eat other mosquito eating insects. However, the sheer magnitude of the number of mosquitoes that just one bat can eat offsets this downside, still making them a viable mosquito population control predator.
Mosquitoes are not simply a pest or nuisance at your bar-b-que or outdoor activities. They are also a health and safety concern that should be addressed before they are able to breed in excess. Using common sense through keeping standing water cleaned up, and natural mosquito predators to control the mosquito population on and around your property will keep you enjoying your yards throughout the mosquito breeding seasons.