In Florida, mosquitoes are a year-round problem, but the summertime is when Floridians struggle most with these bloodsucking pests. Mosquitoes like warm weather, so Florida is just as much a paradise for them as it is for humans. In the summer, Floridians enjoy backyard activities like cookouts, games with family, and sunbathing, and mosquitoes can make these activities unbearable. While mosquitoes tend to bite more at dusk or dawn, the mosquito that spreads Zika bites during the daytime, so mosquitoes are a threat during the times when you want to enjoy your backyard most. Identifying potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes in your backyard is the first step to ridding yourself of these irritating backyard pests and making the most of the summer months. We have you covered with a guide to locating mosquito breeding grounds, so that you can get back to having fun with your family.
Why Mosquitoes Are a Concern
Mosquitoes are annoying, and their bites can cause itching and discomfort. More importantly, they can spread diseases that can kill humans, making them a deadly predator throughout history and today. In Florida, the West Nile Virus and dengue are on the rise thanks to this common backyard pest. Mosquitoes can also spread malaria, Zika, and many other dangerous diseases.
How Long Do Mosquitoes Live?
What's even more alarming is that these annoying and dangerous insects can make their way into your home, putting you at risk indoors for the lifespan of the mosquitoes. You might be asking, "How long do mosquitoes live?" Although it can vary among species, if a mosquito invades your home it could live two or three weeks, or perhaps longer. If the mosquitoes lay eggs during this time in areas like potted plants, drains, gutters, or other sources of standing water or soil, you will be at risk for even longer, as more generations of mosquitoes make themselves comfortable in your home. It is important to address the mosquito breeding grounds in your backyard to help keep mosquitoes out of your yard and home.
Where Are Mosquito Breeding Grounds?
If you have standing water, mosquitoes can breed in it. Mosquitoes only need about an inch of water to lay their eggs. You can minimize your chances of developing a mosquito problem in your backyard by removing any sources of stagnant water. Common sources of standing water in your backyard can include ponds, swimming pools, fountains, yard containers, birdbaths, and depressions in your yard where puddles accumulate. These mosquitoes can torment you while you are in your backyard or even follow you into your home if you do not have adequate window and door screens.
A swimming pool is a fun feature of your backyard where you spend hours relaxing with your family. With the higher temperatures in the summer, taking a dip in your pool is an essential way to help you cool off. However, the pool can be a place where mosquitoes breed if unkept. Using chlorine and cleaning your pool regularly should prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your pool. If you go on vacation and are unable to take care of your pool for an extended period of time, be sure to install a pool cover or drain the pool. If you use something like a kiddie pool, be sure to drain it adequately whenever you are not using it.
Having a water feature like a pond or fountain in your backyard is a great esthetic addition to your home that you love. However, stagnant water in a pond is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. You can prevent your pond from becoming a mosquito breeding ground by making a few tweaks to your beloved water feature. Consider adding a mechanical aeration feature like a fountain to keep the water moving, and keep vegetation around the pond trimmed. Taking steps to control the algae in your pond will also help. You might consider adding some fish that eat mosquito larvae to your pond, too.
You love your birdbath because it attracts beautiful birds that you can view. Unfortunately, birdbaths also attract mosquitoes that are looking for a breeding ground. You can still enjoy your birdbath, though. Drain and clean your birdbath once a week to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground. This will remove any eggs or larvae that may have developed over the past week. If you have a severe mosquito infestation in your backyard, you might want to consider leaving the birdbath unfilled until the problem is under control.
Pooling Water in Ground
Your yard may have areas where water pools after rainstorms. If your yard does not drain adequately, try to address the problem and find a solution to prevent water from pooling. You may need to fill in any depressions in your yard with dirt. You might also look into extending the rain spot, installing drains, or fixing the grading or slope of your yard.
Standing Water in Yard
If you do not have any water features or issues with yard drainage, you may think you do not have any spots in your yard where mosquitoes can breed. However, even a small bottle cap filled with water can serve as a mosquito breeding ground, so you want to examine your yard carefully for even the smallest spot or containers where shallow water can accumulate.
Here are some common areas where water collects and mosquitoes breed:
• Flower pots
• Trashcan lids
• Grill covers
• Discarded cups
• Pet water bowls
• Rain barrels
• Tree holes
A quick fix for some containers where water collects is to drill a hole in them. This allows collected rainwater to drain. This solution will not work for every item. For wheelbarrows, turn them upside when not in use, so that rainwater does not have a chance to accumulate. While you obviously want to give your pet water when they need it, avoid keeping a bowl in your yard that is constantly full. If you keep a designated bowl in your yard for your pet, drain and flip the bowl over when you are your pet are not in the yard.
Clogged gutters are an ideal environment for both adult mosquitoes and their eggs and larvae. During the summer months, gutters and drains are the perfect home for mosquitoes in all stages of life. It offers standing water for mosquito breeding as well as debris like twigs and leaves that are great hiding places for adult mosquitoes. You do not want all this mosquito activity so close to your home's windows and doors where they can enter. Prevent this from happening by cleaning your drains and gutters.
Where Adult Mosquitoes Like to Hide
To address your backyard mosquito problem, you need to consider mosquito breeding grounds as well as the spaces where adult mosquitoes hide and rest. We have already discussed the importance of keeping your gutters and drains cleaned because adult mosquitoes can hide there. There are other places in your yard where adult mosquitoes like to hang out and rest, as well.
Wind is not a friend to the mosquitoes in your yard. Even the smallest breeze can send them back to their hiding spot in your yard's vegetation. Try to eliminate as many spots that help protect them from the wind as possible.
An overgrown yard gives adult mosquitoes many hiding spots, so keep your yard well maintained. Overgrown bushes, tall grasses, and other thick natural vegetation provide protection from the wind as well as a damp environment that they love. Remove any piles of leaves or grass clippings and turn your compost piles frequently to keep mosquitoes from making their home in them.
Why Hire a Mosquito Control Professional?
Simply eliminating the breeding sites and hiding spots may not be enough to address a mosquito problem in your yard. At Hulett, we deal with mosquitoes every day. We know what works to control mosquitoes in South Florida. Our experienced technicians are trained to know what to look for and how to implement a plan to solve your mosquito problems. Our mosquito control technicians have the knowledge and experience to fully answer all of your questions. They can tell you the cause of the problem, why the mosquitoes invaded your yard, and inform you of the next steps to take. We know the best, most effective methods for mosquito control, like mosquito fogging. Just call Hulett today to schedule a professional consultation.