No matter where your home resides, mosquitoes are inevitably part of your summer. Unlike other types of flies, these pesky insects are more than just a nuisance. Their bothersome buzzing and biting can make spending time outside unbearable. What’s more, mosquitoes are a major public health risk because they can serve as vectors of numerous human diseases like West Nile virus.
To control mosquitoes, knowledge of the insect’s development is required. Mosquitoes have a complete metamorphosis with four life stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. If conditions are ideal, the life cycle can be completed in less than two weeks. (It’s easy to see how populations can explode when females can lay dozens to hundreds of eggs at a time.)
Since the first three life stages require water, the most effective method of control is to reduce or alter the water that can be used as a breeding habitat. Keep an eye out for empty pots, bottles, barrels, bird baths and other vessels that might hold water. If found, turn them over so water can’t collect and support mosquito development. Should containers need to be upright, empty them weekly to disrupt the mosquito life cycle.
In terms of insecticides, what you use will depend on the stage of development you’re targeting. Larvicides prevent mosquitoes from ever reaching adulthood by treating the water in which they develop. The primary advantage to this is mosquito larvae are confined in one place. This means they can easily be killed with minimal applications of insecticide before they reach adulthood since mosquito larvae and pupae must remain at or near the water’s surface to breathe.
Killing adult mosquitoes presents a greater challenge because they can spread out over larger distances. When they aren’t active, mosquitoes generally rest in shaded and protected areas. Localized treatments best target these spots; however, you’ll require a pest management professional to apply the insecticide as fogs or mists.