2012-04-11 / Columns

Ag Line

MOSQUITO MANAGEMENT
By Wade Parker

County Extension Coordinator

It is quite obvious that mosquitoes have made their way to our back yards. With spring arriving earlier than normal, they are out with a vengeance! Many mosquitoes that bite you may be breeding in your own yard. If mosquitoes are biting you during the day, you probably have Ades albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito). Since they don’t fly very far from their breeding area, you could be raising them. Below are methods you and your neighbors can use to reduce mosquito breeding: Clean out eaves and gutters. Remove old tires or drill holes in those used for playground equipment to allow them to drain. Tires are very attractive breeding sites for several mosquitoes that bite humans. Cover stacked tires with plastic or store under a shelter to avoid rain filling them with water. Check boats for holding water, clear the drain hole, turn over, cover or increase boat angle to aid drainage. Check tarps on boats or other equipment/ items that may collect water in pockets or indentations. Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water. Turn over or remove plastic pots. Pick up broken, unused or discarded toys that hold water. Pick up all beverage, containers and cups. Replace water in birdbaths twice a week. Replace water in pet and other animal feeding dishes or troughs at least twice a week. Dispose of broken or unused kiddie pools. Don’t leave garbage can lids lying around upside down.

As you read through the list above, how many of us have these things around the house? Just having one object lying around will increase your mosquito population five times.

There are a variety of methods to kill mosquitoes: Hand held fogging devices using a pyrethroid insecticide can be purchased from hardware and garden shops to give temporary control outdoors. Residual insecticides ( malathion, permethrin) can be applied to areas where mosquitoes rest during the heat of the day. Sites many include shrubbery, ground covers and underbrush. Goldfish in ornamental ponds will feed on larvae. One tablespoon of salt or two squirts of dishwater detergent in an automobile tire will kill the mosquito larvae.

In my opinion, prevention is a lot easier than treating mosquitoes. If you are having mosquito problems, take a few minutes and examine your yard for potential breeding grounds.

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