You don’t want to send the wrong message to mosquitoes and have them think they’re welcome in your outdoor space, do you? Unless you’ve walked around your property the day after it rains or the sprinklers do their thing, you could be providing the perfect habitat mosquitoes need to reproduce. Here’s how you can put a stop to that and how you can prevent the insects from biting you.
How To Prevent Mosquitoes From Breeding
My guess is that you don’t want to get bitten right and left when you walk out your door or hang out on your balcony. If you want to put a dent in the mosquito population, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) recommends doing the following around your residence:
- Empty or get rid of cans, buckets, bottles, old tires, empty pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water outdoors.
- Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water. Remove standing water around structures and from flat roofs.
- Change water in pet dishes at least once a day. Change water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
- Fill in low areas in the yard and holes in trees that catch water.
- Maintain your backyard pool or hot tub and be sure someone takes care of it if you are out of town.
- Stock ornamental ponds with fish that eat mosquitoes.
- Cover trash containers so they will not collect water.
- Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
- Repair any leaking plumbing and outside faucets.
- Screen rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
- Keep drains and ditches clear of weeds and trash so water will not collect.
The reason there’s a heavy focus on standing water is because mosquitoes spend two out of the four life cycles in water, and they also need water to breed. If you take away the water, you take away their resources needed for life.
While there are mosquitoes that hatch after floods, the species that have the potential to carry diseases like West Nile virus breed in stagnant water left behind by overwatering sprinklers and post-thunderstorm rain in pots.
If you want to learn more about the mosquito lifecycle, head over to the American Mosquito Control Association’s site.
How To Stop and Prevent Mosquito Bites
No one method is foolproof but following these steps can help you limit your exposure to mosquitoes.
- Cover as much skin as possible. Less skin equals less access.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 on exposed skin, says TDSHS.
- If you’re wearing thin clothing, TDSHS also advises spraying your attire with a repellent containing permethrin, since mosquitoes can pierce through thin apparel.
- Limit the time you spend outside from dusk to dawn, when the mosquitoes with the capacity to carry diseases are most active.
Here is some additional advice from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks to cover gaps in your clothing where mosquitoes can get to your skin.
- Cover all gaps in walls, doors, and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- Make sure window and door screens are in good working order.
- Completely cover baby carriers and beds with netting.
For more information, check out the EPA’s Mosquito Control site.