Mosquitos buzzing around bugging everyone

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 25, 2018

It’s a sure bet that with the constant rainfall over the past few weeks and even more this weekend, mosquitoes will soon be out in force.

Pop up summer evening showers provide the perfect scenario for breeding through standing water. Any standing water in gutters, flower pots, bird baths, clogged drainage ditches, tree holes etc. provides a perfect mosquito breeding ground and needs to be drained wherever possible.

Often overlooked breeding sites around homes are the receptacles that are placed under potted plants to collect water.  Studies showed that over 50 percent of the plant pot saucers contained mosquito larvae or pupae.  While this may conflict with people’s need to water plants, it is preferable that water not be allowed to remain in the saucers beneath plants.

Another approach to help eliminate mosquitoes is to use “Mosquito Dunks.” These are often sold as donut-like tablets that contain beneficial bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) that kills mosquitoes, fungus gnats and a few other fly species. As with any pesticide, the instructions for using the products are on their labels.  These products are not intended for use in bowls or buckets used as drinking bowls for pets.

Many people ask if they can spray insecticides to control mosquitoes. Researchers at N.C. State reveal that spraying provides a temporary fix but it does not completely solve mosquito problems if standing water providing the breeding sites is not addressed. Eliminate these rain collectors and you’ll have more success at reducing mosquito populations.

But please note — Asian tiger mosquitoes fly only 300 feet while other species can fly up to 3 miles. If you decide to spray for mosquitoes, be advised the spray will only control the pest in the immediate area and only for a very short time. If you do decide to spray, please remember to follow the label.

Try to avoiding treating flowering plants that are most likely full of beneficial pollinators. Spraying lawns and shrubs will kill resting mosquitoes, but again it is not likely to have a tremendous overall impact.  Also be aware that insecticides applied with foggers tend to drift and may cross boundaries.

Commercial pest control companies now offer services with sprays on a regular basis. Make sure these companies are adequately licensed pesticide applicators before you allow them to spray any pesticide.

Health officials and entomologists are recommending the careful use of insect repellents, limiting their use on small children as the best method for controlling mosquitos. Go to https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/mosquito-control-around-homes-and-in-communities/ for more detailed information on how to use repellents.

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