right. If you've got mosquitoes in your yard, there's a good
chance that they're locals...very local. No matter how they
got there, this article will go through all the tactics used
to fight them. Bug zappers, ultrasonic repellents, chemical
repellents, natural repellents, larvae eaters, carbon dioxide
traps, standing water elimination. Then you can decide which
ones are best for your own situation.
Facts about Mosquitoes
* Some mosquitoes can grow to adulthood in as little as
a tablespoon of water.
* A mosquito can go from egg to adult in 1 week.
* Mosquitoes can live in our attic or basement over the winter
* Most mosquitoes don't bite humans - they prefer birds, amphibians,
or other mammals.
* Only female mosquitoes bite - they need blood to provide them
with enough protein to produce eggs.
* For some reason, black and white fabrics seem to attract the
bugs, so try earth tones.
Not-so-Interesting Facts about Mosquitoes
* Your bites are probably coming from mosquitoes that were raised
in your own yard.
* The mosquitoes you grow probably won't wander beyond your
neighbor's yard unless blown by the wind.
* 90% of the homes in Pinellas County have conditions ideal
for mosquito growth.
* Florida has a greater variety (70 species) and greater abundance
of mosquitoes than any other state.
* Mosquitoes can carry serious life-threatening diseases.
* Pinellas County will spend just under $4 million this year
on mosquito control.
Why do some people get "eaten alive" while others
are barely bothered?
are an estimated 400 chemicals emitted from human skin and about
100 volatile compounds in each human breath that mosquitoes
can detect. The combination and amount of chemicals given off
is believed to be why some people are more readily bitten than
others. Carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat that result from
breathing are believed to be a major factor. Mosquitoes also
need cholesterol and B vitamins and this may affect their choice
of hosts for their bloody meals.
Disease - Mosquitoes come bearing gifts, heart worms
for your pet, West Nile-like virus, encephalitis, yellow fever,
denge fever and malaria for you. Several people have died from
these disease in the US. Because of this, repelling mosquitoes
from our bodies and keeping them from hatching in the environment
has become a big business for chemical companies. As a consequence,
the most common advice you get about repelling mosquitoes usually
involves using toxic repellents containing DEET and the organophosphate
pesticide malathion, both suspected neuroxicants.
Zappers - The popularity of these traps are no-doubt due
to the never-ending sound effects reminding owners that their
investment is working. What they don't realize is that biting
insects make up less than 1% of the insects killed by buy zappers.
Most of the popping sounds are night-flying moths tricked by
the light as they try to navigate by the moon. The longer sizzling
sounds are beetles. Because they are heavier than most other
flying insects, they have more bulk to fry. Scientific studies
find that mosquitoes make up a very small percentage of the
bug zapper's collections. Unfortunately, beneficial insects
are well represented in the night's catch. Zapper owners are
blissfully unaware that their zappers are mostly killing harmless
insects that would otherwise serve as food for wildlife.
Ultrasonic Repellents -
Scientific evidence shows emphatically that electronic mosquito
repelling devices no not work.
Repellents - The most effective mosquito repellent is a
chemical known as DEET (Diethyl-meta-toluamide). It is the active
ingredient found in most of the insecticides and repellents
on the market today. Although some disagree, it is thought to
be safe for use directly on human skin and is approved by the
FDA. (FDA? Aren't those the people that keep recalling drugs
that they have previously approved?) There are other possibilities
that might be safer for body and environment, if not quite as
Make Your Own Repellent - Here
is a non-toxic insect repellent you can make at home.
It will keep the mosquitoes away while not chasing the people
Essential Oil - 10 to 25 drops Pennyroyal, Lemon Balm (citronella),
Thyme, Rosemary or Lavender
Vegetable Oil - 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Aloe Vera Gel - 1 tablespoon (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Dab
a few drops on your skin or clothing.
Dioxide Emitting Devices - Since mosquitoes are attracted
to CO2 (people emit CO2), several products have come out using
this method of attracting, catching and killing them. Prices
vary depending on the size of their effective work area and
by the quality of the product itself. MegaCatch Alpha is such
a product starting at $99.
Garlic? - Who
knew! Mosquitoes can't tolerate garlic. Supposedly only one
treatment will keep mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and gnats out of
your yard for up to a month. The product is called Mosquito
Barrier. It's a strong liquid garlic made from very potent garlic
cloves, much more potent than the garlic found in grocery stores.
The odor of it chases them out of the area and they stay away
for as long as they can detect the odor. The odor of sprayed
garlic juice becomes undetectable to humans within minutes,
but because mosquitoes odor sensing antennae are 10,000 times
more sensitive than the human nose, they will still detect it
for up to a month and more and will stay away from the sprayed
area. And best of all, unlike harmful chemicals it doesn't kill
bees or butterflies and is completely safe for children, fish,
birds, dogs, cats and other pets. Garlic Mosquito Barrier costs
$84.95 for a gallon, claimed to be a years supply. Smaller quantities
are available. One site that offers this is www.mosquitobarrier.com
the Kitchen Sink at them - Then there's the "Throw-the-wallet-at-it"
approach. There's a product called the Bite Shield Mosquito
Trap that is supposed to clear out a whole acre of the pesky
blood-suckers. It looks like a small gas grill and actually
does burn propane. Once the trap has been lit, it will operate
for three to five weeks continuously, capturing mosquitoes on
a single tank of 20 pound tank of propane depending on environmental
conditions. It uses all of the proven mosquito attractants such
as carbon dioxide, moisture, heat, blue light, and octenol to
draw the mosquitoes away from you and into the trap. Bite Shield
Cordless Mosquito Traps sell for $499.99.
Plant a Mosquito Repellent Garden - It's not commonly
known, but there are attractive plants you can include in your
garden that will repel mosquitoes naturally. While they won't
won't eliminate them completely the way a spray repellent might,
they can still assist in keeping hordes of the pests out of
your yard which in turn will keep you from being eaten alive
while spending time outdoors. With all of these plants, the
leaves must be crushed to release the aroma. Otherwise mosquitoes
can’t smell them. And, with rosemary and catnip, you can
simply crush a few leaves and rub on your skin and clothing
to enhance the effect.
Citronella Grass - The grass is actually the source of
the oil used in the candles and lanterns. But there is one drawback,
it can grow as high as six feet tall, which may make it unsuitable
from some yards.
Horsemint - This plant has a scent similar to citronella.
Horsemint grows wild in most of the Eastern United States and
is partial to sandy soils. Native Americans used it as a treatment
for colds and flu. It has natural fungicidal and bacterial retardant
properties because it’s essential oils are high in thymol.
Catnip - It's not just ideal for entertaining your cat.
Ordinary catnip is one of the most powerful mosquito repellant
plants. Recent studies have shown that it is ten times more
effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. It's easy to grow
from seed, and quickly reseeds. It flowers are a delicate shade
of blue. Aside from its intoxicating effects on cats, the leaves
make a very soothing tea.
Rosemary - Is a wonderful herb that we use for seasoning,
but it's also a great, natural mosquito repellant. It has been
used for centuries to keep pesky mosquitoes away. You can get
a good quality rosemary essential oil; mix 4 drops with ¼ cup
olive oil. Store in a cool, dry place. When it comes to fresh
plant oils as natural mosquito repellants, there is every reason
to have the plant in your yard. It's an inexpensive and attractive
way to boost the appearance of the landscape, have seasoning
for your food and a natural mosquito repellants as well.
Marigolds - Insects and humans alike may not love the
scent of marigolds, however there's no denying they have excellent
repellent qualities that not only drive mosquitoes away, but
also other insects known for attacking vegetable plants and
aphids. They also grow vibrant flowers in hues of lemon yellow,
dark orange and shades of red.
Mosquito Plants - Many have questioned its usefulness
as a mosquito repellant, but it is attractive enough to warrant
planting for it’s ornamental value. It was genetically
engineered to incorporate the properties of citronella into
a hardier plant. These are most commonly available via mail
order and online ordering.
Cana - Another Mosquito Plant also known as hummingbird
mint, bubblegum mint, or giant hyssop. It's a member of the
mint family and its leaves have a pungent aroma when crushed.
It blooms late summer to early fall, so it catches hummingbirds
on their annual migration. The long, medium pink flowers reel
in butterflies as well.
Ageratum - This small bedding plant shown in the photo,
contains coumarin, and mosquitoes detest the smell. It is used
in the perfume industry and even in some commercial mosquito
repellants. Don’t rub ageratum on your skin, though. It
has some other less desirable elements that you don’t
want to keep on your skin in quantity. Ageratums are annuals,
and they come in a muted blue and white that compliments most
With all of these plants, the leaves must be crushed to release
the aroma. Otherwise mosquitoes can’t smell them. With
rosemary and catnip, you can simply crush a few leaves and rub
on your skin and clothing to enhance the effect. And you can
also use them to create an all-natural repellent by crushing
the leaves or flowers and placing the resulting oil in alcohol
or vodka. Once the oils have infused the liquid they can be
used the same way as that bottle of DEET.
Cheap, organic AND good looking? Why not? That's the way we
like to do it these days.
What Works Best? - Many of the approaches listed above
can help reduce your mosquito problem to a degree, but the cheapest
and easiest way to control your mosquito population is to simply
keep them from ever being born in the first place. This might
seem like a daunting task. How would you get them all into family
planning classes? And getting billions of mosquitoes to wear
tiny tiny teeny weeny condoms is about as impractical as it
gets. So we've come up with a better plan called "habitat
destruction." That's really all there is to it. Their habitat
is standing water and without it they simply cannot reproduce.
So Here's What to Look for........
receptacle that can hold water, like tin cans, old tires, buckets,
bar-b-que grills, ash trays or other containers. Potted plants
with pans underneath are good breeding sites. So don't over-water
your potted plants and water will not collect in the pans. If
it can hold water, it can be a mosquito nursery. Unused or lightly
used kiddie pools or hot tubs make very good breeding areas.
Repair leaky pipes, outside faucets and make sure your air conditioner
doesn't drain water into places where it can accumulate and
stand. Change the water in flower vases twice a week. If you're
growing cuttings, try growing them in sand. Clean out bird baths
twice weekly, empty watering pans of pets daily. Make sure the
rain water drains completely out of your boat. If it's a small
boat, turn it upside down. Keep your roof gutters clean. Water-filled
holes in trees are a favorite breeding site, so fill those holes
with sand or mortar. Flush your bromeliads twice weekly. Flat
roofs that get lots of leaf litter can harbor mosquitoes, so
clean off the water holding debris. Even keeping your grass
mowed can help.
you have ornamental ponds, stock them with fish that eat mosquito
larvae. Common goldfish, killifish, and guppies are three types
of fish that are known to eat mosquito larvae and will get along
well with other fish. If you have a pond or any water source
that does not have any fish, consider adding some gambusia affinis,
better known as the mosquito fish. Mosquito fish are about an
inch long and look similar to a guppy. A large female gambusia
is capable of consuming over two hundred mosquito larvae in
an hour. They are very aggressive fish and begin attacking the
larvae when they are only a couple hours old. You do not have
to worry about them over-populating since they are also very
aggressive towards each other. Unfortunately, they will also
attack dragonfly larvae (which are another predator to mosquito
larvae) and will be aggressive toward other fish and tadpoles.
Ultrasonic repellents and bug zappers are hoaxes that are marketed
solely for economic gain. Mosquito fighting plants can be somewhat
effective, but only if the leaves are crushed to release their
scent. They are more effective when applied to the skin. Carbon
dioxide traps are marginally effective. Bats and birds can help
in reducing the population but even bats and birds combined
can only make a small dent in the population. Purple
Martins specifically have been thought to eat large quantities
of mosquitoes, but scientific studies have failed to bear this
out, finding that only a miniscule portion of the Purple Martin's
diet consists of mosquitoes. Numerous studies have shown that
birds remove an extremely small portion of mosquitoes.
The bottom line is you've got to get them before they become
adults. There is no substitute for prevention. It is by far
the most effective way of significantly reducing the number
of biting mosquitoes. It only takes a few days to produce a
crop of hungry mosquitoes. Stop them from feeding on you and
your family by eliminating them before they even start. If each
of us does his and her own part in keeping our own yards free
of mosquitoes, we'll have a happier and healthier community.
Pinellas County Mosquito Control is eager to help you get your
home grown mosquitoes under control. You can call them at 727-464-7503
or e-mail email@example.com
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