Mosquito Reduction: Effective Outdoor Control Methods
Mosquito control has many methods that together will deliver the best reduction again mosquito bites for the yard. Backyard mosquito control is a major concern for those who want to enjoy their yards and pool without the nuisance of mosquitoes buzzing in their ears and biting them. More than a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry and pass on diseases, so controlling them in your yard is important.
In South Florida, home mosquito control is a year-round concern. Many parts of the country have a mosquito season, but South Florida offers a climate in which they can thrive throughout the year.
Before the development of effective techniques for mosquito control, certain areas like Florida were basically uninhabitable because of these pesky and dangerous bugs.
Now, let’s talk about the surprising history of mosquitoes as well as effective methods for home and backyard mosquito control. However, in South Florida, mosquitoes are still very prevalent, and help from a professional pest control company is often needed. If your needing some help to take your yard back from mosquitoes, call Hulett Environmental Services today. Hulett is a local pest control company offering pest control and mosquito services for over 50 years.
Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes
Mosquito-born diseases are spread when an infected mosquito bites you. Mosquitoes can spread several diseases, some of which are quite serious. Those diseases include:
Zika virus: results in often mild symptoms like joint pain, red eyes, fever, and rash for most people, but when pregnant women are infected, their baby is at risk of the birth defect microcephaly, which results in brain damage and microencephaly. At-risk regions include the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and South and Central America.
West Nile virus: most people do not have symptoms, but some develop joint pain, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or a rash. Rare complications include brain infections like encephalitis or meningitis. Present in the mainland U.S.
Chikungunya virus: most recover but may experience fatigue, nausea, headache, and rash for months or years. Found in Asia and India, but is spreading to Europe and the Americas.
Dengue: symptoms include bleeding, fever, rash, headache, bleeding gums, and bruising easily and can lead to hemorrhagic fever. Less common in the U.S. but present in many tourist destinations like Latin America, Southeast Asia, Puerto Rico, and the Pacific Islands.
Malaria: rare in the U.S., but widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and South Asia. Causes fever, headache, chills, and vomiting.
Yellow fever: named for one of the symptoms, jaundice, which can result from more severe infections, less serious cases result in symptoms like chills, vomiting, and backache. If you travel to Africa, Latin America, or some other place where the disease is present, be sure to take proper precautions.
Several of these diseases are carried in the U.S. or places that Americans commonly visit, so be vigilant about taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself against bites from disease-carrying mosquitoes. In South Florida, several diseases carried by mosquitoes like dengue and West Nile virus are on the rise in recent years.
In a recent book by historian Timothy C. Winegard, he estimates that mosquitoes are responsible for the deaths of 52 billion people and goes on to call them humankind’s “deadliest predator.”
Malaria was prevalent in the U.S. and in Florida until the early 1950s. Federal programs and Mosquito Control Districts made area-wide land modifications, habitat modifications to reduce breeding, and mosquito treatments. Now, South Florida is one of the most visited locations in the world.
Fun Historical Facts About Mosquitoes
Florida’s History with Mosquitoes
Florida was not always a paradise that attracted tourists, retirees, and new residents. Not all that long ago, the state was famous as an uninhabitable place due in large part to its population of mosquitoes. The state has 80 different species of mosquito. At best, the mosquitoes were very irritating to visitors. At worse, the mosquitoes spread dengue, malaria, and yellow fever.
Northern Florida was where the first settlements were located, but even this part of the state struggled with its mosquito populations. Its major cities — Pensacola, Tallahassee, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville — were known as the “Malaria Belt.” Summer was a challenging time, a season when many developed fever and died as a result of bites from disease-carrying mosquitoes. Anyone who could afford to would migrate north during this season. Florida’s mosquito problem was even used by some as a reason to not give it statehood. Congressman John Randolph of Virginia said that Florida was a “land of swamps, of quagmires, of frogs, and alligators and mosquitoes” that could never be developed.
Things started to turn around for Florida during World War I. To prevent the spread of malaria, the U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Army, and the State Board of Health started using larviciding and drainage at Camp Johnson just outside of Jacksonville.
In 1919, Perry was one of the worst places in Florida in terms of malaria cases. It was the site of the first non-military attempt to control the mosquito population. The City of Perry, State Board of Health, and the Burton Swartz Cypress Company set up a large malaria-control project in Perry.
After a dengue epidemic in Florida in 1922, things started to turn around when Dr. Joseph Porter, a resident of Key West, signed on as Florida’s first health officer. He established the Florida Anti-Mosquito Association (now called the Florida Mosquito Association) and proposed some methods to control Florida’s dense population of mosquitoes, which lead to the creation of mosquito control districts throughout the state of Florida.
Mosquitoes and the Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a famous waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in Panama. Construction on the canal began in 1881 and was not officially opened until 1914. It is among the largest and most difficult engineering projects in human history.
The French initiated the project and had to face many challenges in the canal’s construction. The site was a jungle full of snakes, spiders, and insects that could be deadly. The greatest risk to the project, however, was posed by mosquitoes. Many workers contracted and died from yellow fever, malaria, and other diseases. Over 200 people per month were dying by 1884. At that time, no one understood the role that mosquitoes were playing in transmitting diseases. The high death toll on the project made it nearly impossible to keep an experienced workforce deployed on-site. About 10% of the workers on the project died every year from tropical diseases like malaria and yellow fever.
Eventually, the U.S. took over the project from France, and in 1904, Colonel William Gorgas was made the chief sanitation officer. Benefiting from recent medical research on the role that mosquitoes play in transmitting disease, Gorgas used a number of methods to minimize the spread of diseases like yellow fever and malaria. To this end, he invested in several sanitation projects, which were met with some opposition. He proposed the fumigation of buildings, spraying insect-breeding areas with oil and larvicide, elimination of standing water, city water systems, and the installation of mosquito netting. These efforts nearly eliminated mosquito-borne diseases within two years and were crucial to the completion of the canal.
7 Tips for Getting Rid of Mosquitoes
For the best backyard mosquito control, you need to use a number of approaches to get good results. Your mosquito control district will likely already put some mosquito-control methods in place in your general area, but for the best results of keeping populations of mosquitoes on your property as low as possible, treatment directly to the resting areas on your property by a professional mosquito service is needed. There are also helpful tips that homeowners can do around their home to decrease mosquito activity in their yard.
The most important step is to eliminate any standing water in your yard, but there are many other tips, too. With the simple methods outlined below, you can take advantage of the best mosquito control for the yard.
Eliminate Standing Water
For decades, this has been the best, most effective method for mosquito control. This technique is designed to keep mosquitoes from showing up in the first place. Eliminating standing water works because it removes the place where mosquitoes tend to breed. Even a small container of water can act as a breeding site, so you will want to do a thorough inspection of your yard for even the smallest amount of standing water. Common places in your backyard where standing water accumulates can include toys, planters, boats, garbage cans, gutters, water dishes for pets, fountains, bromeliads, and kiddie pools. Swimming pools are not usually a concern because they contain chlorine, which drives mosquitoes away.
You may need to look into fixing any drainage problems in your yard if standing water pools in the same area after heavy rain and takes a long time to drain. The pooling water will continue to attract mosquitoes until the drainage issues are addressed.
Keep Grass and Vegetation Trimmed
Direct sunlight deters mosquitoes from gathering in your yard because they tend to prefer cool, shady locations. Eliminating or trimming trees and shrubs or regularly cutting grass and brushy areas can help eliminate the cool areas where mosquitoes tend to rest and congregate. Trimming the overgrown areas will help eliminate wet or damp spots that attract mosquitoes in your yard.
Plant Mosquito-Repelling Vegetation
You can incorporate some plants into your landscaping that repel mosquitoes. Citronella is a clumping grass that is well-known for its mosquito-repelling properties. It gives off a strong smell that will cover up other scents and drive away mosquitoes. Other plants like geraniums, marigolds, and pennyroyal grow beautiful flowers while delivering practical benefits by working as a mosquito repellent. Many herbs and other aromatic plants drive mosquitoes away. Consider planting basil, rosemary, peppermint, lavender, lemon balm, and garlic. Additionally, you can control mosquitoes and delight your cat by planting catnip. Catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET at preventing mosquitoes from biting, so establish this plant in the spots in your yard where you hang out most frequently.
This simple but effective solution for backyard mosquito control can be very effective. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans emit naturally. The breeze from the fan works to break up the carbon dioxide that helps bugs find you. Additionally, the breeze makes it more challenging for the bugs to land on and bite you. They have the added benefit of providing a nice breeze during the warmer months when mosquitoes are at their peak. For any covered outdoor areas, you might consider installing a ceiling fan, but an oscillating fan can do the job, too.
Professional Pest Control and Mosquito Services
For a yard where the mosquito problem is out of control, it may be time to get help from professionals. Perhaps your own efforts are not working or you need a bit of help. Pest Control and Mosquito treatment can be a great solution to a severe mosquito problem. a Professional pest control company will use EPA-approved products, when properly applied by a trained mosquito-control expert, will control mosquitoes and reduce their populations on your property.
Hulett Environmental Services, a pest control company offering pest control and mosquito services for over fifty years, will send a trained professional to inspect your yard and develop and implement a plan to manage the mosquitoes on your property.
A tried and true classic in many backyards, citronella candles will help repel mosquitoes in the area immediately around it.
You can replace the outdoor lightbulbs in your outdoor areas with “bug lights.” This special yellow bulb is designed to emit a light that will not attract bugs. These lights will allow you to illuminate your yard without huge clouds of mosquitoes forming around your property. Often outdoor lights are installed near the entrances to your home, which is the last place you want mosquitoes gathering. In addition to not attracting bugs to your backyard, these lights make it more challenging for mosquitoes to enter your home.
Bug zappers work to attract and kill mosquitoes. The ultraviolet light source with an electrocuting grid is irresistible to mosquitoes, so when they are flying near your yard, they will be attracted to and killed by the zapper.
Applying insect repellent to your person can be an effective way to add another layer of protection from disease-carrying mosquitoes. Using a repellent while spending time outside in combination with the other methods discussed above can be very helpful in preventing mosquito bites.
Leave Home & Backyard Mosquito Control to the Experts at Hulett
The DIY products we have discussed may only provide a temporary fix and may not be able to get to the root of your mosquito problem. Often this is because mosquitoes are breeding near or around your property, and until that issue is addressed or treated, mosquitoes will continue to appear in your backyard.
At Hulett, a friendly and experienced mosquito control expert will inspect your property and the surrounding area to determine where the mosquitoes are breeding and resting. These areas will be treated with a residual product and insect growth regulator. If completed alongside maintenance Pest Control service, all entry points to your home will be treated with a micro-encapsulated product that will work to create a protective barrier between your home and yard pests. At Hulett, we have you covered for all of your pest control and mosquito yard treatment needs.
Just call Hulett today for a free inspection!