Why are mosquitoes considered a dangerous pest?
Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases and are often described as one of the deadliest animals on earth. Some of the most common and well-known diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include Zika, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue and equine encephalitis (EEE). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mosquito bites result in the death of more than 1 million people every year — the majority of these deaths are attributed to malaria and not in the United States.
Where are mosquitoes found?
Mosquitoes are found throughout the U.S., although some species are more common in certain regions. One of these, the Asian tiger mosquito, is found primarily in the South, but it has gradually expanded into the northeast over the past few years. Asian tiger mosquitoes are unique in that they feed during the day, unlike many mosquitoes that feed only at dusk and dawn.
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a ½ inch of standing water. This underscores the importance of homeowners regularly checking their property for containers that could be collecting water and providing a safe harbor for mosquitoes to breed.
Are mosquitoes more prevalent during a specific season?
Mosquitoes are considered one of summer’s most dangerous pests, but they also thrive in the spring and fall. In fact, mosquitoes will remain active as long as the temperature is above 60 degrees.
What are some precautions that can be taken to help prevent mosquito bites?
There are a number of precautions that people can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips:
- Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites around the home. This includes birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, baby pools, unopened swimming pools, tires and other objects where water collects.
- Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any source of standing water that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
- Screen windows, doors, and other openings with fine mesh, sealing around all screen edges and keeping doors and windows shut to prevent entry.
- Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
- Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. But, also take proactive measures during the day to protect against daytime biters, like the Asian tiger mosquito the main carrier of Zika.
- When outdoors, wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus on exposed skin whenever outdoors.