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Draining standing water is one effective mosquito control method as it eliminates places where they could possibly breed. If you have a pond or water trough for animals, however, this isn't really a viable option.
One natural way to control mosquitoes in this type of situation is to purchase some mosquito-eating fish (such as the Gambusia affinis) and to plant them in the affected impoundments and waterways. A single fish may consume over a hundred mosquito larvae in one day.
A new method of mosquito control has recently become available. The LarvaSonic is an acoustic larvicides system designed to kill larvae using sound. Sound energy is transmitted into water at the resonant frequency of the mosquito larvae air bladders and instantly ruptures the internal tissue causing death.
Some natural mosquito control products use a kind of germ warfare to control mosquitoes. Ornamental pools may be treated with biorational larvicides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), under certain circumstances.
Commercial products called "Mosquito Dunks" and "Mosquito Bits" containing Bti can be purchased at many hardware and garden stores or mail-order catalogues for homeowner use.
Some of the best mosquito control systems in the world are found in nature. Many animals and insects eat mosquitoes (such as bats, toads, insectivorous birds, and dragonflies).
Bats are especially voracious mosquito eaters. You can purchase “bat houses” to hang in trees or other appropriate locations where mosquitoes are a problem. These houses will lure bats in, giving them a place to rest during the day and allowing them to hunt pests at night.
Larviciding is the application of insecticides targeted at immature mosquitoes (the larvae or pupae). These mosquito control systems are applied to bodies of water harboring the larvae. However, since larvae do not usually occupy the entire body of water, larvicides are applied only where the larvae reside (usually the areas near the shoreline of the lake, stream, or ditch). Larvicides differ from adulticides in that they are directed at a limited targeted area (i.e. the body of water and often only that area where the larvae grow and mature).
Window screens and flyswatters, though old, remain some of the best mosquito control products available. On warm, sunny days only screened windows and doors should be opened (be sure that screens are in good repair).
If mosquitoes do get inside your house, use a commercial insect spray or a swatter to get rid of them. Be sure, however, that any sprays you use are safe to use inside your home.
Many of the mosquito problems that trouble homeowners and the general population cannot be eliminated through individual efforts, but instead, must be managed through an organized effort. Many states have organized mosquito control programs, either at the state, county, or city level. Some residential communities organize to control their mosquito problems. There has been an increase in the number of these organizations in the United States since the West Nile arbovirus outbreak in 1999. If mosquitoes are a problem in your area, you might be able to look to these programs for help.
Adult mosquitoes like to rest on weeds and other vegetation. A great way to control mosquitoes is to reduce the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter. Eliminate large weeds around the home and cut the grass regularly.
To further reduce adult mosquitoes harboring in vegetation, insecticides may be applied to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs and other vegetation. Products containing allethrin, malathion or carbaryl have proven effective. Paying particular attention to shaded areas, apply the insecticides as coarse sprays onto vegetation, walls, and other potential mosquito resting areas using a compressed air sprayer. Always read and follow label directions before using any pesticide.
Mosquitoes use plants and shrubs to feed and for shelter during resting periods. When breeding, however, most species need standing water where the females can lay eggs and the larvae and pupae can develop.
A good natural mosquito control is to eliminate standing water (which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes).
*Remember that even a discarded soda cans or water collecting inside of an old tire hold enough space to support a colony of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes breed in standing water so allowing standing water to gather around your home allows these pests to thrive. Some ways to prevent this include:
• Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than 2 days
• Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs
• Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days
• Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week
• Stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows to consume mosquito larvae and pupae
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|