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Mosquito Control

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Mosquitoes are a pain to have around in summer.  When you most likely to be enjoying the balmy summer outdoors, nothing is more annoying than having to spend half your time trying to kill mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes aren't only a mild annoyance for some people, they are also a potentially deadly carrier of diseases like West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis etc.  Most of these diseases can result in fatalities, others result in some form of chronic fatigue syndrome which is hard to shake.  So prevention is your best bet.

Mosquitoes - a few facts

There are more than 2000 species of mosquitoes worldwide but only a few of them are equipped to carry viruses which can infect humans (or animals).  Only the female mosquitoes drink blood.  After a blood meal, she can then go on to lay a couple of hundred eggs.  She will lay her eggs in pools of stagnant water (pot saucers with water are the ideal spot or any leftover puddle will do for her, even the dog's water bowl or your bird bath). The eggs take a while to hatch (a few  weeks), the little wrigglers then develop rapidly in the next 2-3 days and become adult mosquitoes themselves.  Mosquitoes track down their potential prey by tiny hairs on their antennae which have the ability to detect movement, heat, carbon dioxide levels and moisture.

Mosquito control - the different approaches

You need to approach mosquito control from various angles.

  • Reduce the numbers by stopping water from pooling anywhere in your garden - take special note of the following
  • pool covers - if you use these, remember to get rid of those pockets of stagnant water.
  • drill holes in your pot saucers or don't use them at all.  Alternatively, if you want to keep them, check them regularly for mosquito wrigglers and empty them when necessary - tip : it's usually bad for most potted plants to be standing in a saucer full of water anyway - it causes root rot.  Or you could opt to use those enclosed water storage (self watering planters) to deter mosquitoes from breeding.
  • keep your swimming pool well chlorinated.
  • any possible container that can catch rain eg watering cans, wheelbarrows, unused pots etc should be either placed under cover (in your outdoor storage shed) or positioned so that they can drain the water trapped in them.
  • Avoid working in your garden at dusk and dawn - these are times when mosquitoes are most active so work around these times.
  • Wear proper clothing - I know it's tempting to wear short sleeves and shorts when the weather is warm and sunny but wearing a light long-sleeved shirt or blouse and long pants will reduce the surface area exposed to mosquitoes for biting.
  • Use repellants if necessary.  DEET is popular but it can be poisonous to children at a lower dose rate.  Read the labels of mosquito repellants BEFORE applying.
  • If you have a pond and are worried that your fish aren't dealing with all the mosquito wrigglers, then you can buy mosquito dunks which are essentially bacteria which are harmful to the mosquito larvae but are not to mammals.
  • Spraying with pesticides - can reduce adult mosquito numbers but most pesticides aren't terribly discrimatory and will take out 'good bugs' like bees, and can affect the fish in your pond and can potentially affect you (eg if you grow vegetables and aren't careful in washing before you ingest) or your children - outdoor toys can get coated with the pesticide and children tend to put their hands in their mouths (amongst other things) all the time and therefore their exposure is a lot greater.

Flower pots home>garden supplies>mosquito control

mosquito control
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