by Eric Gibson
In South Florida, summer comes early. The month of May brings it all: the 85 degree heat, the 40% humidity. Watermelons are stocked in the produce aisle at Publix, and the smell of burning charcoal can be found at every public park. But the biggest symbol of our South Florida summer is not our humid weather or the last ring of the 7th period school bell. It’s the mosquito.
Starting in May, the mosquito somehow integrates itself with our outdoor lifestyles. Repellant and long-sleeved clothing all of a sudden become a necessity when leaving the house. Working in the garage at night becomes impossible, too, as dusk and dawn are the peak hours for mosquitoes.
Since mosquitoes can be carried by various weather patterns, it’s hard to completely eliminate them from your yard. But the mosquitoes that are considered to be vectors of disease mostly breed in local containers that hold standing water. So,you can stillmake a differenceand drastically improve your situation.
Here are a few Do It Yourself tips on how to abate the mosquitoes that are breeding in your yard:
- Make sure your outdoor faucets aren’t leaking in order to prevent pooling water.
- Seal major tree holes and stumps with a sealant.
- Clean gutters frequently. Sometimes leaves can clog your gutters, allowing them to hold water.
- Make sure sprinklers aren’t overwatering.This prevents weed growth as well as limiting mosquito breeding areas.
- Store items that accumulate standing water. Anything that’s laying around your yard or patio that can possibly collect rain water needs to be removed, i.e. tires, buckets, plant pots, catch trays.
- Keep your swimming pool chlorinated and clean. Also make sure your pool cover is cleaned.
Those are the basic DIY measures that you can take to reduce mosquito levels around your yard significantly. But no matter how many measures you take, you can’t eliminate mosquitoes completely. So it’s best to take the following measures to reduce your chances of being bitten by these disease-carrying insects:
- Avoid peak mosquito hours. Mosquitoes are most active an hour or so before the sun goes down and an hour before the sun rises. If you can’t avoid peak hours, wear extra protective clothing.
- Wear clothing that covers your body. This includes long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks.
- Apply a repellent.If you are using an EPA-approved repellant like DEET, be sure to follow all of thedirections on the label. Forkids, make sure the repellant is comprised of no more than 10% DEET.
Although it’s impossible to eliminate all of the mosquitoes in your yard, it’s possible to eliminate “containerized mosquitoes.” Containerized mosquitoes, like the Aedesalbopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito), breed in the water collecting containers listed above. If you eliminate their breeding, you will limit their numbers. But how can you eliminate the adults? That’s where a professional pest control company comes into play.
Since containerized mosquitoes are a major vector of Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and now the Zika Virus, it is in your best interest to proceed with the aforementioned DIY measures AND to have a pest professional treat the daytime resting areas for the adult mosquitoes. A pest professional can also treat decorative ponds or nearby lakes using an environmentally responsible IGR. Call Nozzle Nolen www.nozzlenolen.com for a free inspection, and learn more about our new Mosquito Abatement program!