Latin Name: Culicidae
Nearly everyone in the entire world has had an encounter with a mosquito at least once, if not many times each year. Mosquitoes are flying insects that have long wings and legs, and a long nose, which is called their proboscis. The proboscis is used by the female mosquitoes to bite and draw blood, and can also cause the spread of serious infectious diseases.
There are currently over 3,000 different recorded species of mosquitoes, with over one hundred found with in the United States. While different species may vary in terms of color and markings, most mosquitoes are smaller than 20 millimeters in length and weigh approximately 2 milligrams. Different species will vary in size, but most are quite slender, with long legs, and the most common varieties are brown in color.
While mosquitoes are extremely adaptable and can live in a wide variety of environments, they tend to prefer warmer tropical climates and areas with a lot of stagnant water. The females bite and extract blood in order to be able to support the growth of their eggs, which they deposit into shallow and stagnant water. They tend to live near ponds and marshes, but they can also be attracted to standing water in birdbaths or other containers around residential areas.
As mentioned, the females extract blood from a host, commonly humans, in order to be able to produce eggs. When they do this, they inject a small amount of saliva. This saliva helps the mosquito extract the blood she needs, but it also causes a small area of irritation that can become red, swollen, and itchy. Some people are allergic to mosquito saliva, and can have serious allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to the bites can range anywhere from severe itching to respiratory problems similar to an asthma attack.
While majority of mosquito bites only end in irritation and annoyance, these pests must always be considered very serious health risks because their saliva can also transfer diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, or the West Nile virus. While mosquitoes in certain regions may have a higher probability of being carriers of diseases, any mosquito is capable and steps should be taken to prevent an infestation.
Getting Rid of Mosquitoes
Having a large population of mosquitoes around your house can be both inconvenient and dangerous. These pests may keep you from being able to enjoy your own yard, and you could also be exposing your family to serious and avoidable health risks. There are many ways that you can reduce the presence of mosquitoes and prevent their bites.
- Protect your skin. If there are mosquitoes in the area, they are going to be drawn to you as soon as you leave your house. Try to wear long sleeved shirts and long pants when spending time in an area where there is a high population of mosquitoes. If the problem is especially bad, it may be necessary to keep your clothes tucked in wherever possible to eliminate any gaps where the insects could enter.
- Use insect repellants. Mosquito repellents come in many forms, including sprays, candles, lotions, and numerous others. Cedarcide Original is CedarCide’s organic and safe mosquito repellent. These can provide effective ways to reduce the number of bites for a few hours at a time, but will not solve the overall mosquito infestation problem. When using any of these products, always take the necessary safety precautions and follow the label directions carefully. It is always better to take natural mosquito repellents as they do not cause any harm to the body.
- Kill larva where mosquitoes breed. If you have a pond, or any other area of water that may be home to mosquito larvae, on your property, larvicides will help to ensure that the larvae are not able to mature into full-grown adult mosquitoes. The products are applied directly to the water, and create a thin layer across the surface, which is where the larvae will be located. This prevents the developing mosquitoes from having access to the air, causing them to drown before they can mature, disperse, and reproduce. Treating the larvae is one the most effective ways to reduce mosquito population.
- Spray outdoor areas where mosquitoes live. In addition to treating the breeding areas, there are also products that can be applied to areas where adult mosquitoes are a significant problem. CedarCide sells PCO Choice with an included hose-end sprayer for outdoor areas. Depending upon the size of the area, the pesticides can be applied using a low-volume sprayer via an airplane, truck, or even a backpack sprayer. The best places to spray are areas around the property where adult mosquitoes tend to nest, including low-hanging vegetation. These pesticides will exterminate the mosquitoes on contact, and will also make the treated area inhospitable for them.
- Remove standing water. Even if you do not have a pond or swamp near your home, you may still have many places where mosquitoes can deposit their eggs. Any container of stagnant water can be a breeding area for mosquitoes, no matter how small or shallow. Common breeding places for mosquitoes around homes include birdbaths, stagnant and untreated swimming pools, overturned tires, buckets, or clogged drainage areas. By doing a brief survey of your property, and eliminating stagnant water, you can significantly reduce the mosquitoes’ ability to reproduce and thrive in the area.