You can feel it and see it already: milder temperatures, blooming flowers, budding trees, greening grass…Spring is in the air.
And that air will soon be full of buzzing, biting mosquitoes.
That’s right, we are reaching that time of year when one of the Georgia’s most irritating pests begins its life cycle. Generally lasting from March to October (depending on rainfall and temperature fluctuations) the mosquito life cycle has, in fact, already begun. And the exorbitant rain totals, mixed with a few warmer days, means we could be headed for an inundation of the winged blood suckers this spring. Even as I sit and write this (in mid-March) I’m already distracted by an itchy mosquito bite on my right elbow.
With that in mind, there are several steps you can and should take to avoid making your property an inviting home for mosquitoes, which not only annoy and yield those obnoxious bites but can also carry life threatening disease, such as West Nile Virus, encephalitis and Zika (and fortunately not COVID-19) in humans and even heartworm disease in dogs. By the way, only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood; male mosquitoes live only on sugar, such as fruit nectar.
The time to get started on avoiding mosquito infestation is now, because, thanks to an abundance of water, mosquitoes are getting ready to for a breakout season.
To understand why, look no further than the mosquito life cycle, which comprises four stages – eggs, larvae, pupae, adults – and can last anywhere from four days to a month (depending on species) but takes an average of two weeks. And it is a life cycle guaranteed to make an impact on your life in some shape form or fashion.
Mosquito life cycle, from egg to adult
- Stage 1 – Mosquito eggs require water to hatch, so the female mosquito – after obtaining a blood meal (yum!) – will usually lay their eggs, anywhere from 50 to 300 of them, in a convenient water source. Stagnant pools are the ideal environment for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. However, eggs can also survive dry conditions for a few months, just waiting for the introduction of water. That means that some mosquitoes lay their eggs in plants, which collect rain water. After the rains we’ve experienced throughout February and March 2020, however, you can be sure that there is plenty of stagnant water to be found all over Georgia, including, likely, on your own property.
- Stage 2 – When the eggs hatch, larvae emerge and commence to live on or near the surface of the water, where they will feed on algae, plankton, fungi and other microorganisms – some mosquito larvae even eat other mosquito larvae. As the larvae feed, they begin to grow and molt through four larvae stages. Visible to the naked eye, mosquito larvae are commonly called “wrigglers.”
- Stage 3 – Once a larva has grown large enough it will enter the pupal stage. At this point, emerging mosquitoes no longer feed, they simply grow and develop inside its pupal stage. However, the pupae still floats around on the water’s surface. At this stage of the mosquito life cycle the pupae are referred to as “tumblers.”
- Stage 4 – After a relatively short amount of time – from two days to a week, depending on the species – adult mosquitoes emerge from their pupae. If it is a female mosquito, it begins to seek a source of a blood meal, and the whole life cycle begins anew. An adult female’s life lasts anywhere from 42-56 days, while an adult male’s life cycle lasts just 10 days. Contrary to some popular beliefs, mosquitoes do not die after biting you (unless you are quick enough to smack them!). In fact, the blood goes to produce the eggs the female will lay.
So, now that you know what you’re up against, the question is: how do I rid my yard of these pests?
There are several things you can do to discourage both mosquito breeding and the presence of adult pests:
- First and foremost is removing standing water from your property. You may do this by filling in holes in your yard or leveling any low spots that draw water for any length of time. Unfortunately, in the current weather pattern, that will not be easy to do, as water is being replaced almost as soon as it dries.
- Ensure there are no uncovered buckets, flower pots or containers catching water anywhere around your home.
- Cover outdoor furniture – mosquitos can find water in even the slightest cracks and crevices.
- Clean out your gutters and make sure there is no standing water in them. If your gutters are clogged, they will provide little pools of water, which gives the adult mosquito a perfect breeding ground.
- Clean your swimming pool – if you own a pool, make sure it has the proper levels of chlorine or saline in order to keep mosquito eggs away.
There are also things you can do to help keep the adult mosquito out of your home, including installing insulation or screens on your windows and doors and sealing up any holes to the outside around door or window frames.
You may also purchase and hang bug lights in order to attract and kill the adult version of these little blood suckers. And, of course, you should put on bug repellent any time you head outside in order to protect yourself and your family.
However, none of these methods are completely foolproof, and even the most vigilant homeowners will, inevitably face their share of these winged pests at some point during the cycle of spring, summer and fall.
There is another option, however, and that is to call a fully qualified mosquito control management service. Professional pest service providers are trained to eliminate the mosquito populations already present in your yard, while also preventing re-infestation.
Zone has been providing pest free backyards for decades now, and our trained technicians will come to your home and erect what amounts to an invisible barrier between mosquitoes and you.
We do this via a thorough inspection of your entire property for the source of the infestation, seeking out water sources, followed by monthly treatments in order to eliminate eggs, larvae and pupae.
Contact us today for a free quote and to get started. As with all of Zone’s services, you are never bound by a fixed-term contract.
Let Zone allow you and your family to enjoy the warm weather without fear of being attacked by mosquitoes as soon as you set foot out of the door.