Mosquitoes 101: Everything You Need to Know
- Posted by livewell in Landscaping Tips
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July is prime mosquito season. Pop-up thunderstorms and heavy rain leave puddles and standing water in all sorts of places. That’s all the mosquitoes need to lay their eggs and let loose a new swarm.
So, what’s a homeowner to do? First off, educate yourself, then take action. To help you do that, we’ve compiled some common questions about mosquitoes, along with the answers.
Do Mosquitoes Have a Purpose? Are They Helpful?
We may not think so, but yes, mosquitoes do have a purpose other than annoying us when we’re outside. There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes, and many of them do not bite humans.
Mosquitoes are helpful in several ways, including:
They are pollinators.
Males never feed on blood and instead feed on flower nectar, and they transfer pollen from flower to flower. Female mosquitoes also feed on flower nectar, except when she is going to lay eggs.
They’re an important part of the food chain.
Mosquitoes are prey and a primary source of food for many aquatic and land-based animals, including dragonflies, bats, turtles, and several kinds of birds.
Do Mosquitoes Carry COVID-19?
This is a relatively recent question that comes up because of the pandemic. But in a word, no. Mosquitoes do not carry COVID-19. They do, however, carry and transmit other nasty diseases, including:
- West Nile virus
- Zika virus
- Yellow fever
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Me and Not Others?
There’s no easy answer to this one. If you’re prone to getting mosquito bites, take precautions such as using a mosquito repellent.
There are a few things that we know attract mosquitoes, including:
- The smell of sweat
- Body odor
- Higher body temperature
- Pregnant women
- The color black and other dark colors
You can’t change what you smell like or what your resting body temperature is. But you can take several measures to avoid getting bitten.
- Use mosquito repellent
- Wear long sleeves and pants, if possible
- Wear light-colored clothing
- Avoid going outside at dawn and dusk (peak activity time for mosquitoes)
Of course, the biggest way to avoid getting bitten in your own backyard is by taking steps to eliminate mosquitoes. Keep reading for more information on how to do that.
How to Eliminate Adult Mosquitoes Outside
There are several things you can do to eliminate mosquitoes in your yard. Some are more eco-friendly than others. They include:
Spray your yard
You can hire a pest control company to spray your yard or you can buy various sprays and foggers. One thing to know about some of these insecticides is that they can also be harmful to bees. These methods also only target adult mosquitoes.
Light a fire
Candles, lanterns, and your fire pit will keep adult mosquitoes away. Candles should be scented with an odor known to repel mosquitoes.
Those scents include:
How to Prevent Future Mosquito Problems
All of the methods we discussed above target adult mosquitoes. But there are a number of other things you can do to make your property less of an attractive breeding ground for these pests.
Get rid of standing water
Most mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. And it only takes a week for those eggs to hatch. That means you need to check your property every time it rains, and get rid of any water that has collected in slides, children’s toys, garden pots, etc.
Other things to do:
- If you have a birdbath, change the water regularly – twice a week is a good idea.
- Check your gutters for clogs and clean as necessary.
- Walk around your property and look for low spots that collect water or drain poorly. Address the issue as needed.
Plant mosquito-repelling plants
If mosquitoes don’t like the smell of your place, they may lay their eggs elsewhere. Plants you can put in the ground or in pots to repel mosquitoes include:
You may not have realized that by planting an herb garden, you make your yard unattractive to mosquitoes It’s a win-win!
We hope you found this information helpful. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
Dream It. Build It. Live It.
While the team here at LiveWell Outdoors can’t rid your yard of mosquitoes, we can certainly help you expand your outdoor living space. Schedule a consultation by filling out the form, or call us at 301.720.1000 to get started turning your yard into your personal paradise.
We work with homeowners in the Capitol Region including Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia.