What you can do to enjoy your yard this year, mosquito free.
We all want to be able to enjoy our backyards and other outdoor living spaces, especially if we’ve invested in making them more livable. If you’ve invested in making your yard more livable through adding pergolas, decks, intricate patios, pools and other outdoor living space enhancements you want to be able to enjoy them. Maybe you just enjoy sitting outside, or having friends, family, or neighbors over for a barbeque, watching the kids or dogs play, or just relaxing on the back deck or patio with that perfect cigar or glass of wine, whatever it may be no one wants to have their outdoor experience ruined by bugs.
No one likes to be chased inside by pesky, annoying, biting mosquitoes.
Let's look at why mosquitoes bite, what are their optimal breeding conditions and habitat, why they are dangerous to us, as well as some tips we can all do to help reclaim our yards.
Why do mosquitoes bite anyway?
Simply, to reproduce and continue the species. Female mosquitoes require the protein and iron provided by a blood meal to produce eggs. So female mosquitoes are the ones responsible for all those itchy bites we experience come spring and summer. Male mosquitoes and female mosquitoes alike eat nectar, plant sap, and honeydew. Nectar is a large part of a mosquitoes diet which makes them plant pollinators. During the pupal stage mosquitoes don’t eat at all. In the larvae stage they eat bacteria, algae and other microorganisms that are found in the standing water in which they were laid. So the adult female mosquito is the guilty little vampire who likes to suck our blood and give us those painful itchy bites every year. But she’s doing so to allow her to have the nutrients needed to reproduce and perpetuate her species.
Female mosquitoes aren’t just attracted to humans, they will feed on any warm blooded creature. From crows, sparrows and other birds, to dogs, cats, cows, horses and that pesky squirrel, mosquitoes will feed off of any mammal. The reason mosquitoes are attracted to humans is because we are usually easy targets. We are large in stature, especially compared to a smaller bird, squirrel or other small mammal, we exhale a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is like ringing a dinner bell to a mosquito. Humans, especially when enjoying our yards, are slow moving and often are sitting or standing in one place for significant periods of time making us easy targets. Mosquitoes are also drawn to us when we wear darker clothing. So if you are wearing something dark in color, sitting on your back patio or deck, breathing normally exhaling large amounts of CO2, you become a very appealing and easy target for the female mosquito who is looking to load up on nutrients she needs to produce and lay her eggs.
Habitat and breeding conditions
Aedes and Culex mosquitoes, the two mosquito species found in the Chicagoland area that Ampest serves, typically do not travel far from where they breed and are born. Adult mosquitoes can be found on your property in their preferred habitat, namely under leaves, shrubs, and other shade providing plants. Mosquitoes can also rest under other man made shaded or protected areas like decks, porches, under pots and other areas they can hide that provide them the cover and shade they seek. Mosquitoes will be found near ground level or up to several feet high. Hanging pots or other elevated vegetation can provide them their ideal habitat as well.
Mosquito season in the Chicagoland area is typically April through October. Mosquitoes require water to breed. Naturally in the spring and summer months we receive rain. The mosquito gestation period from egg to fully formed adult is approximately 7 - 10 days. Any areas or vessels that have standing water for that amount of time or longer is an optimal location for a mosquito bloom.
A bloom, when talking about mosquitoes, is the result of eggs hatching, going through their life cycle, egg, larvae, pupal, adult, and emerging as those adult mosquitoes. Of those adult females that emerge from a bloom, they are looking to start the process all over again so they are looking to warm blooded mammals for that next blood meal to perpetuate the cycle. And as we’ve stated above we are very much so on the menu.
Mosquitoes will lay eggs in any standing water areas, they typically do not like moving water, they prefer stagnant, standing water. Ideal places for them to lay their eggs especially in our yards include,
- Birdbaths, especially if they water doesn’t get changed often Kiddie pools
- Low lying areas of a property that may result in standing water after heavy rain
- Wheel barrels that aren’t turn upside down
- Planters that can have standing water
- Any other areas that water can pool for days at a time
Remember, the lifecycle of a mosquito is only 7-10 days so it’s not long after a heavy rainfall that we can expect an influx in mosquito activity.
The Deadly Disease Transmitting Mosquito
Mosquitoes are likely the deadliest creatures on earth. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 million people die every year from diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can carry and transmit numerous diseases. Mosquitoes are most commonly known to transmit diseases like: malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, yellow fever, Zika, lymphatic filariasis, meningitis, and encephalitis. In 2018 alone the Continental U.S. saw a 25% increase in West Nile virus cases.(*https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/stories/world-deadliest-animal.html source the cdc website)
Protecting ourselves against these tiny blood sucking creatures is very important. Not only because we loathe their irritating, itchy bites, of the female mosquito, but also because they carry and transmit some deadly diseases. These diseases not only effect us but can also effect our beloved pets as well.
Helpful Tips to keep mosquitoes away.
There are some simple things we all can do to help keep down the mosquito populations on our property. We can also incorporate simple behaviors and tips to keep our outdoor living areas enjoyable and fight back against the pesky mosquito.
- Make sure there is not standing water on your property, especially after heavy rain
- Refill bird baths often remember the mosquito gestation time frame is as little as 7 days
- Dump out standing water from pots, buckets, planters, etc
- Utilizing citronella candles and plants which help repel mosquitoes
- Incorporate fans into your outdoor living areas like decks and patios. Airflow also helps reduce and deter mosquitoes.
- Wear lighter colored clothing, whites, khaki, and other light colors are hard for mosquitoes to recognize, darker colors attract mosquitoes so wear lighter colored clothing when outdoors, it will help keep you cooler too.
- Wear loose fitting clothing. This makes it harder for mosquitoes to feed through.
- Use mosquito repellent if outdoors for extended periods of time.
- Implement a barrier treatment program from a professional pest control company.
These are some simple things we can do to help mitigate the number of mosquitoes in our yards. But remember, even though mosquitoes don’t typically travel too far from where they hatch they can still enter your yard from surrounding areas. Ultimately, barrier treatments applied by professionals as well as following these tips will give you the optimal defense against the annoying and painful, itchy bites of the female mosquito.
As pest control specialists we recommended having a mosquito treatment program provided and applied by a professional. Ampest offers specific multi spray barrier treatment programs specifically for mosquitoes.
For effective treatment, regular applications throughout the mosquito season are essential. The mosquito season in the Chicagoland area is typically between April and October, depending on weather conditions. An effective mosquito program consists of multiple applications with approximately 21 day intervals.
Ampest does offer full season spray options with a full season treatment package including 7 treatments. Once the season is underway smaller treatment packages are available.
Ampest Exterminating & Wildlife Control also provides one-time mosquito treatment for special events and occasions.
Ampest's Mosquito Treatment Service Area
Interested in protecting your yard from mosquitoes?
Have Questions? Call at : (630) 538 - 8913