Mosquitoes are troublesome tiny creatures that can wreak havoc in your home if you do not have measures in place to control them. Not only is their buzz irritating but they cause nasty bites, and they are notorious for spreading diseases that can be life-threatening, serious and neurological.
Mosquitoes are also harmful to livestock and pets. For instance, it causes heartworms in dogs and other dangerous illnesses that can as well be spread to humans.
To have the upper hand in your battle towards reducing these pesky insects from your outdoor space, you need to understand their life-cycle and other related issues. These consists of how they breed, their habitats, times of the year when they are prevalent and various factors that support their breeding.
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For starters, you need to be conscious of your surrounding areas. Do you have stagnant water in your compound? Do you tend to your lawn often to reduce chances of it being a habitat? Do you tip over containers that can accumulate water? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself. Most of us are our enemies because we barely start by protecting ourselves even at the most basic level. Start with these measures before you explore other backyard mosquito control techniques.
Mosquitoes breed in no time, once a female mosquito mates with a male mosquito it is only a matter of time before it hatches eggs. It takes 10 to 14 days for mosquito larvae to mature and become an adult and within two days it is ready to breed. Their short life-cycle span explains why they multiply faster making it more important to focus on finding a long-term strategy for greater effectiveness.
Humid and hot weather conditions accelerate their breeding. Mostly, during summer, a slight rise in temperature is enough to increase their populations. Therefore, your outdoor living area may not be a peaceful place to relax and mostly if you have trees and plantations that create shade – where mosquitoes get shelter from the scorching sun.
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Techniques for Backyard Mosquito Control
Numerous ways to rid your patio or deck of mosquitoes are available in the market. These techniques vary and you need to factor in these issues before you choose the strategy that best suits you:
- The area you intend to cover
- The cost of the control method you choose and its maintenance
- The impact of the control measures to you and the environment.
Once you have established these facts, it is time to look into the control strategies that can either be short term or long term. On the other hand, you can opt for a DIY control or a professional control where you hire contractors to get the job done, the same way you may seek landscaping services.
Eco-friendly control measures are also available. These are methods that seek to keep the mosquitoes at bay while still maintaining the natural balance of the environment. Although mosquitoes are merciless on humans, they play a vital role in the ecosystem. They support other animals that feed on them like fish, frogs, spiders, and more since they are at the bottom of the food chain. Thus, eradicating them (though almost impossible) can disrupt the ecosystem.
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Long-Term Control Strategies
These are the methods that have been tried and tested, and they are recommended for a more prosperous battle against mosquitoes.
1. Mosquito Traps
Mosquito traps are high-tech machines that trap mosquitoes by mimicking certain aspects of humans. Also known as mosquito magnets, mosquito traps emit a consistent stream of carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture that are the critical ingredients in attracting mosquitoes. Once the mosquitoes come around, they enter inside where the device holds them by a net or traps them on a stick surface until they dehydrate and die. It is effective for 1-Acre size of land.
Some traps suck in mosquitoes using propellers, and others use a vacuum. The unit usually comes with a gas cylinder that is responsible for the production of carbon dioxide.
Proper maintenance is vital for a more extended use. Despite the fact that it is built with a durable plastic material, frequent replacements of the net bait, the gas tank, or the sticky surface are crucial for better performance.
The downside to its use is that it is only efficient in the slow-moving wind, but windy conditions make it less effective. Also, for highly infested areas, it may not make a significant impact as you may find yourself swatting more mosquitoes than it traps in a day.
2. Mosquito Dunks
These are natural treatments that target and kill mosquito larvae. Dunks are harmless to other beneficial animals like birds, pets, fish or wild animals because they are made out of edible substances.
If you have ornamental ponds, bird baths, or any landscape hydroponic systems, you should use dunks in such areas. Remember also to use them in any place that collects water. Dunks cover up to 100 square feet, and they can offer protection that lasts 30 days.
This technique gets the job done pretty much with its long-lasting performance, and it ensures that mosquitoes are almost non-existent.
This product will bring back your yard, and you will enjoy meals in the summer and get-together with friends and family without any claustrophobic feelings.
If you are environmentally conscious, mosquito dunks may not sit well with you. Dunks kill mosquito larvae which dragonflies depend on for survival. When you take out the dragonflies’ source of food, you also reduce the populations of dragonflies which in turn disrupts the ecosystem.
Another concerning issue about mosquito dunks is that they are advertised as small-sized disks, on the contrary, they are big approximately 5.5 cm. It can be unsettling if you want the dunks to be unnoticeable. Also, it may leave residue in the water which you may need to empty.
3. Mosquito Nets
From time immemorial, mosquito nets have been an all-time favorite mosquito barrier for many people. They are vital for a restful sleep amid the buzzing of mosquitos. From traveling mosquito nets for use indoors and outdoors to traditional-purpose mosquito nets, mosquito nets are a protective shield from mosquito bites.
With different types available in the market, you are bound to keep away mosquitoes. You will find nets with a variety of suspension positions that you can hang in a wedge, ridge, or box style that better suits your sleeping style. These mosquito nets are versatile, and some are even pre-treated with Antimosquito chemicals that repel and kills mosquitoes if they land on them. However, chemically treated nets can be an irritant to sensitive skin, and some of the synthetics used have adverse effects on the environment.
When buying a mosquito net, you should consider the number of holes per square meter. Nets with finer holes keep off even the smallest mosquitoes while allowing sufficient ventilation. Steer clear of mosquito nets with large holes as mosquitoes can quickly pass through.
Mosquito Nets come in handy in the prevention of tropical diseases that can endanger your life. It is advisable to always sleep with a net and tuck it in well for maximum protection. You can also take it outdoors and shield yourself if you opt to relax outdoors.
Besides the nets offering protection, they can be an excellent addition that complements your home’s décor. These nets come in a variety of colors and gracious designs that make them worth every dime.
4. Mosquito Misting Systems
Misting systems are biodegradable chemical measures used to kill mosquitoes and other bugs in the outdoors. They come in two types: tankless systems and the others have tanks. The drum-based systems generate a steady mist only when triggered while the tankless mist units stores a mixture of the chemicals which it sprays when needed.
You can either operate misting systems with a remote controller or a switch depending on its design.
The chemicals the misting systems use have little toxins making it safe for humans and animals to inhale and get into contact. For the advanced models, they feature inbuilt wind sensors, leak detection and more.
Misting systems raise particular concerns. For instance, they can be misused if no one is monitoring them, they endanger useful insect species, they can be toxic if its instructions are not followed, and it can cause mosquitoes to be resistant.
To minimize the dangers of its use, it is vital that you comply with the safety regulations that it has. Otherwise, you have other options like the trap that is harmless to your health besides it being a viable solution.
1. Repellent Sprays
Repellent sprays are insecticides that have chemicals which are toxic to mosquitoes and other insects. Repellents are available for personal use, for use on clothing gear, spraying outdoors and for indoor spraying.
Repellents for personal protection come with varying concentrations of DEET. Although some may not have 100% DEET levels, they repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Too much DEET can cause adverse skin reactions, and it is good to stay safe. It is better to use them sparingly for each application.
Pregnant women and children are the ones on the receiving end of these products. In extreme cases, expectant women can threaten their baby’s life if they use repellents on bare skin, and kids can experience lethargy or headaches.
Some repellents have essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, clove, lavender, and extracts of orange which protect the skin against irritation while providing the needed protection.
Although repellents can protect for a short while, some can stay glued to your skin and trap insects that will stick with you. Most women have aversions to the use of repellents, the smell and their perceptions of such sprays put them off, and the same case is also not unknown to men.
2. Using Natural Predators
Mosquitoes are a delicacy for birds and bats. If you do not mind, you can encourage birds and bats to hover around your yard by providing bird feeders and constructing houses for the bats. Studies prove that one brown bat can consume up to 1000 mosquitoes in a day.
Dragonflies also feed on mosquitoes. You can attract them by filling a pond with water and including plants in it and around it. Plantations act as a cover. Add stones for the dragonfly to perch on. Dragonflies and mosquitoes alike lay their eggs on water, and for survival, dragonfly larvae are a natural predator of mosquito larvae.
However, the best natural mosquito predator is fish. Certain fish species like the bass, catfish, and goldfish devour mosquito larvae, but the most effective mosquito control fish is the Gambusia Affinis, better known as ‘mosquito fish.’
There are also specific plants like marigold, Citronella, Catnip, and Horsemint that are effective in keeping mosquitoes away. Nevertheless, they are ineffective in windy weather conditions. Either way, you can plant them in your yard and use it along with other means of reducing mosquitoes.
To put up a decent fight against mosquitoes you have to be all-rounded for a satisfactory result. You should combine more than two strategies. For instance, you can use both the short term and long term methods.
Bug zappers that electrocute insects that are attracted to light are ineffective when it comes to mosquitoes. Therefore, you may need to use it with a repellent like citronella although it also has its limitations in high-speed winds.
Air fans are also temporarily effective at keeping mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes do not like the windy conditions that the nozzles of a fan generate, they prefer steady wind. You can use these during parties that you host in your yard for short-term protection.
Aside from the above, always trim weed and long grass that can be breeding areas of mosquitoes. Ensure that any items outside that can hold water including kids’ toys are dealt with, and for pools, you can use the mosquito dunks to prevent larvae from surviving in the water.
Now you are knowledgeable about the measures you can take to rid your backyard of mosquitoes. Strategize on the best solutions then launch an integrated attack against mosquitoes. It is the ideal way to reduce and control the dreadful mosquitoes.
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