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Darrell Blackwelder column: Mosquitoes

Late-summer months mosquitoes are an extreme nuisance upon those that venture outdoors. Pop-up evening showers provide the perfect scenario for breeding through standing water. Any standing water including gutters, flower pots, bird baths, etc. provides a perfect mosquito breeding grounds and should to be removed as soon as possible.

Another approach is 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 kill mosquitoes. These products are not intended for use in bowls or buckets used a drinking bowls for pets. Other products on the market such as “Spartan Mosquito Eradicators” also reduce mosquito populations.

Researchers at N.C. State reveal that spraying insecticides provides a temporary fix but it does not completely solve mosquito problems if standing water providing the breeding sites are not addressed. Eliminate these rain collectors and you’ll have more success at reducing mosquito populations. 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 long-lasting impact. Also be aware that insect foggers tend to drift and may cross boundaries. Go to https://entomology.ces.ncsu.edu/mosquito-control-around-homes-and-in-communities/ for more detailed information on mosquito control.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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