Given Georgia’s subtropical climate, mosquitoes thrive in the state, including invasive disease-carrying mosquito species like the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. At least 63 mosquito species have been documented as inhabiting Georgia, and most of these species are not considered pests. Culex quinquefasciatus, or the “southern house mosquito,” as the species is more commonly known, is capable of transmitting a relatively high number of disease-causing pathogens to humans in Georgia, and these mosquito pests are in the habit of entering homes, just as their common name suggests. The west nile virus is spread primarily by the southern house mosquito in Georgia, and this species is the primary vector of St. Louis encephalitis.
Many people are under the impression that mosquitoes are solely outdoor pests that pest control professionals do not control within or around households, but this is not the case. In fact, mosquitoes are one of the most commonly controlled insect pests on residential properties, and according to a recent nationwide survey of pest management professionals, the southern house mosquito was the second most commonly controlled mosquito species in and around homes during the year of 2016. This species dwells in close association with humans, and during the day it often rests indoors or within protected harborages on residential lawns. At night, females emerge to collect blood meals, and they are unusually aggressive biters that are not easily discouraged by hand-waving.
In order to breed, southern house mosquito females rely primarily on stagnant water sources that have collected in containers on residential lawns, including flower pot saucers, clogged gutters, birdbaths, downspout extensions, cups, cans, wheelbarrows, kiddie pools, garbage and recycle bins, tarps over firewood stacks, and pools of water that form from dripping outdoor faucets. Removing containers that can collect rainwater, maintaining gutters, and regularly changing birdbath water is particularly important from August to September when the West Nile virus season is at its peak. Mosquito repellent containing DEET or picaridin are both favored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one of these products should be applied before stepping outdoors.
Do you make a point to prevent stagnant water from collecting on your property?