Mosquitoes are the most unwanted party guests in the world. They commonly appear in summer – a time when most of us like to enjoy the great outdoors; either at home, at friends or on holiday. Is the fact that they turn up when we venture outside a coincidence? Is there any way we can control or prevent them?
A few quick facts about Mosquitoes:
All Mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle.
It is only the female that takes blood; the male only feeds on plant nectars.
Mosquitoes are capable of flying distances of many kilometres, although most species do not venture far from their breeding areas.
There are over 2500 different species of Mosquitoes in the world, and about 300 species in Australia. Of these, only a small number are a direct threat to human health.
Water is required for the immature stages to advance; but the type of water selected by the female mosquito for her eggs that varies from species to species. In coastal areas, the main threats come from tidal water collected on salt marsh wetlands. In places further inland (or away from tidal water), the pests emerge from areas where water collects after storms or rain.
Mosquito Life Cycle
All Mosquito eggs are laid by females who have had a previous blood meal. They will lay their eggs in a place where the water will be ideal for her offspring.
Places favoured around the home include tin cans, barrels, wading pools, pot plants, puddles, creeks, tyre swings etc.
More often, the area preferred is sheltered from the wind either by grasses or weeds.
The female lays up to 200 eggs and contrary to some opinions, they do not breed in tall grasses, although most mosquitoes will frequent shady areas.
Once the adult emerges it must rest on the surface to allow its new cuticle and other parts to dry out and harden. When its wings are dry, the mosquitoes mate and the female of most species must then locate a blood meal to provide protein for her as yet unfertilised eggs. The male, however does not live for long after mating.
The adult will source its blood meal from birds, mammals and even frogs, but basically it will use any food source available. Attracted by heat, Carbon Dioxide and occasionally colour, the female will hone in on any target in its immediate area – including humans.
Potential Breeding Areas
Mosquitoes that may carry diseases often lay their eggs in any vessel which contains standing water with some decomposing organic content.
Examples of these include;
Disused car tyres
Clogged rain gutters
Pot Plant bases
Water features such as decorative fish ponds etc can also be a problem as not all species of fish eat mosquito larvae.
Water that is relatively clear is usually safe from mosquitoes, but the addition of leaves, grass clippings and algae, will quickly turn an area into a breeding site.
Be aware of any area which will retain water for more that 4 days, as these areas will become breeding sites as well. Low lying places in lawns, tap runoff areas, retaining walls and even dog water bowls hich have been left unattended will harbour these insects.
Reduction and Control
The first step in controlling mosquitoes is to reduce the ability they have to breed.
Reduction of standing water will reduce the next generation of mosquitoes.
Remove any disused pots, plastic containers and similar items. Alternatively, simply drill a hole in the bottom of them to allow water to drain away. This is also useful in old tyres or recycling containers.
Clean gutters to prevent water backing up and turn plastic wading pools over when not in use.
Place wheelbarrows upright and regularly change water in bird baths.
Ornamental pools should be aerated or stocked with fish. Make sure swimming pool filters are used and that chlorine levels are kept up.
Literally millions of mosquitoes can infest a swimming pool that has been left derelict. Many people go away for holidays only to come home to a mosquito infested swamp in their back yards.
Have you completed the above steps and still experiencing plagues of mosquitoes? If you live near a creek, pond, waterway, or if your neighbour is breeding mosquitoes, there won’t be a lot you can do to stop them flying into your yard. But by having a Mosquito, Midge and Fly treatment completed at your home, as soon as these pests fly into your yard and land on something, they will be affected by the treatment and die. When completing a mosquito, midge and fly treatment Sandgate Pest Control will treat all external areas – the product we use is completely safe for people and pets, has no odour, and is designed for use outdoors. This means that it will provided optimum protection for you and your family.