Mosquito Protection and Control
A continuously wet spring and warmer temperatures means that mosquito season isn’t far behind. Frequent and heavy rains means that every low spot, every empty flower pot and anything that holds water will be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes.
So what’s a person to do?
Personal protection from mosquitoes
- When outdoors, apply insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). The more DEET the repellent contains the longer, not better, it will protect you. However, the use of products containing more than33 percent DEET is not recommended. Pay close attention to the product label, especially regarding the use for children.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants treated with repellents containing DEET or permethrin. Keep in mind mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing. Do not apply permethrin directly on your skin.
- Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn, which are the periods when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquito traps based on release of CO2 do not reduce the mosquito population to the level where there is a noticeable decline in mosquito numbers.
- Traps based on ultrasound technology are not effective for reducing the nuisance level.
- Make sure that screens on doors and windows are tight and without holes.
Control methods for property
- Eliminate artificial water-holding containers. If that is not possible, empty buckets, cans, bottles, used tires and other containers at least once a week.
- Clean birdbaths and water bowls for animals at least once a week.
- Fill or drain tree holes, stumps and puddles.
- Irrigate gardens and lawns carefully to prevent water standing for more than a few days.
- Check for water trapped in plastic covers on boats and swimming pools.
- Make sure rain gutters are clean and do not hold water.
- Stock garden ponds with mosquito-eating fish, such as minnows and goldfish.
- Aerate ponds and swimming pools.
- Eliminate aquatic vegetation around the edges of garden ponds, which allow predatory fish and beneficial predatory insects to reach the mosquito larvae.
- When feasible, raise and lower the water level to allow predatory fish to reach the mosquito larvae.
- Before considering chemical control, make sure mosquito larvae are present. Use a white container attached to a long pole to scoop a water sample. Wigglers (larvae) and tumblers (pupae) are easy to spot. Always read and follow the instructions on the product label.
For more tips, check out our this publication from Kansas State University Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus