May 14, 2018
Know Your Pest! Mosquitoes
If you’re a resident of the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia area, you’re quite familiar with mosquitoes and the irritating, itchy bites they leave scattered across your legs. Hot and humid weather creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes to live and breed, which explains why mosquito activity in NoVA is so high throughout the summer months.
Although we often regard mosquitoes as little more than a simple annoyance, these pests are not to be underestimated. Mosquitoes
are one of the leading causes of global infectious disease, leading to millions of deaths each year. It’s important we know how and why mosquitoes are attracted to humans, and how we can avoid contact with them.
What do mosquitoes look like?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency,
there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes, about 200 of which live in the United States. Although mosquitoes are pretty easily recognizable, there are a few other insects, like the crane fly, that mosquitoes can be mistaken for. Here’s how you can identify mosquitoes
- Mosquitoes have two wings, long legs, and hair-like scales that cover their bodies. They range in size from a quarter to half of an inch when fully grown.
- Mosquitoes vary in color by species. Markings to look out for are white stripes across both the body and legs of the insect. This is indicative of an Asian tiger mosquito, which is one of the most dangerous species in the U.S. as they are carriers of various harmful diseases.
When does mosquito season start?
The start and end of mosquito season
can typically be predicted by weather patterns, specifically temperature. Mosquitoes become more active once the temperature hits 50 degrees. The warmer it gets, the more mosquitoes you’ll see, which is why mosquito season tends to overlap with summer months.
Once the temperature drops down under 50 degrees, mosquitoes either go back into hibernation until it warms up again or they die off.
Why do mosquitoes bite?
Mosquitoes don’t just bite humans — in fact, they prefer to feed on other mammals like horses and cows. Female mosquitoes bite because blood provides them with the necessary nutrients to produce eggs.
Mosquitoes are attracted
to humans by our breath and sweat. They use their long antennae to detect carbon dioxide, which tells them when a blood supply is nearby.
Bacteria in sweat can also attract mosquitoes, which is why you’re more likely to be bit in areas that retain moisture such as your feet and around your ankles. Be sure to keep these areas covered up when outdoors, especially at night when mosquitoes are most active and your risk of being bitten is highest.
Are mosquitoes dangerous?
Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance — they’re carriers of harmful diseases.
“Mosquitoes are perhaps the most dangerous animals in the world,” explained Omar Akbari, PhD, an assistant professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, for an article on Healthline
. “They are the primary vectors for major human diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, and dengue fever, which together infect hundreds of millions of humans worldwide and kill millions each year.”
Other deadly diseases
mosquitoes can carry include:
? West Nile virus
? Zika virus
? Chikungunya fever
If you’re traveling out of the country for vacation this summer, be sure to take the necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites, as the risk of contracting illness varies across different regions.
How can I get rid of mosquitoes?
Enjoy the outdoors worry-free this summer. Here are some home mosquito control methods
that can help you avoid those bothersome pests:
Drain standing water. Mosquitoes need only a small amount to water to lay their eggs, so be sure to either cover or frequently drain any objects that easily collect water like flower pots, bird baths, or buckets.
Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris can build up in your gutters and prevent water from draining, which attracts mosquitoes as they seek out a breeding ground.
Replace damaged window screens. Worn or damaged window screens provide mosquitoes with a point of entry into your home. Be sure to check the condition of screened-in decks and porches as well.
Repair cracks. Seal off any cracks or openings in your home’s foundation and exterior walls to keep mosquitoes out.
Clean swimming pools. Make sure your pool is well-maintained and covered when not in use for an extended period of time. If your pool is covered for a while, be sure to remove standing water from the top of your pool cover.
Use mosquito repellents. While these products won’t eliminate your pest problem, bug sprays, citronella candles, and bug zappers can help prevent mosquitoes from bothering you while spending time outdoors.
Mosquito-proof your home this summer.
Let's put together a mosquito control plan that makes life at your Northern Virginia home safe and fun for everyone. Our five-star technicians
can clear away your mosquito problems with safe and effective pest control. Just give us a call at 1-877-740-6657 or contact us
online today to schedule an appointment.