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Recycle A to Z

alternatives to pesticides - bugs/pests - MOSQUITOES


Actual size: 1/3 inch

The mosquito is a common flying insect that is found around the world. There are about 2,700 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can fly about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour (1.6-2.4 kph).

Mosquito Bites: Females drink blood and the nectar of plants; the males only sip plant nectar. When a female bites, she also injects an anticoagulant (anti-clotting chemical) into the prey to keep the victim's blood flowing. She finds her victims by sight and smell, and also by detecting their warmth. Not all mosquito species bite humans.

Disease Carrier: The mosquito is often a carrier of diseases, such as malaria, encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever, dog heartworm, West Nile virus, and many others. The females, who drink blood, can carry disease from one animal to another as they feed.

Bird Baths - Change the water in bird baths and plant pots or drip trays at least once each week.
Boats - Store boats covered or upside down, or remove rainwater weekly.
Clothing - Wear appropriate clothing. Long-sleeved tops and long pants made of tightly woven materials keep mosquitoes away from the skin. Avoid wearing perfume, bright colors, flowery prints, and bright jewelry as these items attract mosquitoes. Keep trouser legs tucked into boots or socks.
Holes - Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.
Level Ground - Level the ground around your home so water can run off and not collect in low spots. Fill in holes or depressions near your home that accumulate water.
Location, Location, Location - Avoid places and times when mosquitoes bite. Generally, the peak biting periods occur just before and after sunset and again just before dawn. Each species, however, has its own peak period of biting. Tree-hole and Asian tiger mosquitoes, for example, feed during daylight hours in or near shaded or wooded areas.
Natural Predators - Encourage natural predators such as dragonflies or praying mantises. If you have an ornamental water garden, stock it with mosquito-eating fish (e.g., minnows, "mosquito fish," or goldfish). They eat mosquito larvae.
Netting - Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in an unscreened structure and to protect small babies any time.
Pools - Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use. Unused swimming pools should be covered or drained during the mosquito season.
Screens - Be sure door and window screens are tight-fitting and in good repair.
Stagnant Water - Remove or empty water in old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or other places where mosquitoes might breed. Be sure to check clogged gutters and flat roofs that may have poor drainage. Make sure cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks, fire barrels, rain barrels and trash containers are covered tightly with a lid or with 16-mesh screen.
Water Bowl - Empty your pet's outside water bowl daily.
Weeds and Grass - Keep weeds and tall grass cut short; adult mosquitoes look for these shady places to rest during the hot daylight hours.

Citronella - Burn citronella candles to repel insects.
Basil - Plant basil around the patio and house to repel mosquitoes.
Bacillus Thuringiensis - Bt the bacterium that paralyzes the digestive system of the pest, may be used according to label directions. However it is difficult to deliver to the areas where the larvae are feeding. The rolled leaves provide good protection.  Bt is a bacteria used to control certain pest larvae, primarily caterpillars. Bt is not toxic to humans or other mammals but will kill butterfly (“friendly”) caterpillars as well as the problem ones. The bacterium kills larvae by interfering with digestion. Bt lasts on leaf surfaces five to seven days and must be ingested to be effective. There are many strains of Bt commercially available now, including strains for controlling mosquito and beetle larvae.

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