Not many animals can provoke the loathing that mosquitoes do. They can easily ruin a hike in the woods or a backyard barbecue with their irritating ubiquitous presence and itchy bites. Mosquitoes have the ability to sense our presence more ways than one. That gives them the incredible ability to evade all our murderous intents and swiftly sway around fatal swats. Their buzzing wings and annoying presence can wake even the soundest of sleepers.
Mosquitoes are in the same group as common house flies Diptera. As of such they have a single pair of wings, narrow, oval body, long thin legs and a head with prominent proboscis. Their average lifespan in the wild is somewhere between 2 weeks to 6 months. Adult mosquitoes size range between 0.3 and 2 cm.
Mosquitoes are best known as a summer pest. Most commonly found in hot, humid environments, but can thrive in all sorts of climates. They breed in moist soil or stagnant water sources such as ponds, flood waters, drainage ditches, and man made containers. A mosquito can develop from an egg to adult in a matter of 10 to 14 days.
People believe that mosquitoes bite us to feed, that is a misconception. Mosquitoes do not bite, they feed on plant nectar. Only females include blood in their diet. Females require the protein to reproduce. To get a blood meal female mosquitoes will fly 14 miles and use their proboscis to pierce our skin and to suck our blood. Mosquitoes are busiest at night, they can detect their prey either by body temperature or by the carbon dioxide we exhale.
Why do they elude daylight? Mosquitoes can come out during cloudy days and lurk in dark shady areas. They are more active from dusk till dawn, because they may desiccate and die from the sunshine.
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Except for being a buzzing and irritating nuisance mosquitoes are carriers, or vectors, for humanity’s deadliest illnesses like malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and encephalitis. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes around the world and not all of them bite humans.
In the UK specifically there are species that bite humans, one of them is called Culex pipiens molestus. It closely resembles another type of mosquito found all over the world Culex pipiens pipiens. The latter prefers to feed on birds, but it will feast on humans also.
Culex mosquitoes can not transmit the organisms that cause diseases in the UK. These type of mosquitoes are not able to transmit or carry malaria even in tropical areas, where the decease is most common.
You don’t need to be told there is a mosquito infestation on your property. If you find yourself with itching bites every time you step outside and there are swarms of mosquitoes around, you have an infestation on your hands. The sudden increase in the number of mosquitoes most often happens during warm weather, typically after rain or floods. In most cases the heavy water will wash away mosquitoes along with their larva. Nonetheless, after the water becomes still and dries up it turns into the perfect conditions for breeding. Natural predators can’t get rid of so many new born mosquitoes and this leads to infestations.
Are the pests you have really mosquitoes?
Before you try any mosquito traps and solutions make sure the insects are actually mosquitoes. Many other insects have the same appearance as them and you can easily mix them up. For instance the Crane Fly looks almost identical, however mosquitoes have a distinctive buzzing sound that no other insect can replicate.
Identify Where Mosquitoes Are Breeding
The first line of defence for fighting off mosquitoes is to locate all possible areas/places where they can breed. Start off with places that can hold water after a light drizzle or a heavy shower. Such a place is your roof gutters. They can potentially turn into mosquito-breeding site. To prevent that from happening, be sure to drain the water and maintain them clean. Leaving water in your gutters for more than seven days can turn in to a hive for mosquitoes.
Look At Your Landscape
Always tend to your garden since it can become the number one source for breeding mosquitoes around your property. They are attracted to dark, enclosed and humid spots. If your garden is damp and muggy with lots of trees and wet leaves you are breeding mosquitoes. Watering your plants and leaving them wet is also a way to attract insects.
That being said by no means it requires you to scrape your garden and turn it into a concrete playground. A more manageable solution would be to regularly mown your lawn and trim all hedgerows. Rather having lots of bushes and hedges consider wide spaces of very trimmed lawns. If you do have a large overgrown lawn pick up the trimmings to prevent it from attracting pests.
Mosquitoes are attracted to moist and damp places so watering your garden with a sprinkle system means you’re inviting all sort of pests to a barbecue. Instead use a sprinkle system aiming at the roots on all plants.
Summer is mosquitoes prime time as the climate conditions are ideal for breeding. When a mosquito bites you the redness is followed with an uncontrollable itch that can cause the bite to swell even more.
People invest more trust in shop bought repellents to safeguard them from mosquito infestations. Nonetheless, a great number of these products include chemicals, which can harm us and some have been linked to memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue etc. Not to mention the effects these repellents can have on pets and children.
There are so many natural alternatives for fighting off mosquito attacks, instead of using these pesticides. Numerous plants have mosquito repellent properties – for example Lavender, Mint, Basil, Rosemary, Lemon Balm and so forth. Plant these around your property or keep them around and won’t have to install any bug nets on your windows.
Here is a great article revealing 24 Plants That Repel Insects.
Note: If you have pets read our blog post on how to prevent flea treatment poisoning pets
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