Protect Your Property and Residents from Mosquitoes
By Hope Bowman, Technical Specialist, Western Pest Services
Mosquitoes may be small, but these pests can cause big problems. Mosquitoes are one of the most dangerous pests in the world, causing more than 1 million deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization.
Most active in warm weather, mosquitoes are the greatest threat during summer. Sometimes, they can even be a problem into the fall until the first freeze. Mosquitoes are known transmitters of a multitude of diseases including malaria, West Nile virus, encephalitis, dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika virus. Add in the fact that female mosquitoes can lay up to 3,000 eggs in their lifetime, and it becomes clear that mosquitoes can become a problem in no time.
Considering the health threats mosquitoes pose, it’s easy to see why you don’t want these pests on or near your property. But what can you do to help prevent them?
The best way to keep mosquitoes away is by preventing them from breeding on your property. Here are five key steps you can take to help protect your property and residents from mosquitoes:
- Eliminate standing water. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and don’t need much to do so (it only takes about an inch of water), so it’s important to regularly monitor for and remove any sources of stagnant water, even the smallest amounts. Saucers under planters, toys left outside, fountains, buckets, and clogged gutters are all examples of places where mosquitoes could breed if standing water is left for too long. Additionally, drain and/or clean wading pools, bird baths and fish ponds on a regular basis.
- Maintain landscaping. Overgrown vegetation can create an ideal environment for mosquitoes to rest and dry their wings. Mow grass regularly, trim back bushes, and trees surrounding your building and thin out heavy vegetation.
- Keep mosquitoes outside. Install window screens and repair damaged screens to prevent mosquitoes from flying inside. Work with an HVAC professional to create positive air flow (when air flows out, not into, your building) to ensure you aren’t sucking mosquitoes inside. Mosquitoes are weak fliers, so you may even consider installing air curtains – fans mounted at entrances/exits that create a wall of air mosquitoes can’t fly through.
- Protect against bites. Encourage tenants, employees and anyone spending time outdoors to use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent and wear protective clothing that limits skin exposure such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Outside workers may even want to consider wearing hats with mosquito netting to protect their faces and necks. When looking for a repellent, make sure that it contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (para-menthane-diol) or IR3535, all of which are recommended by the CDC.
- Consult a pest control provider. If you’ve implemented these tactics and still notice a lot of mosquito activity on your property, contact your pest management professional. Mosquito populations can grow quickly when not addressed properly, so taking prompt, decisive action as soon as you notice a problem is a must.
It’s important to take a proactive approach when it comes to mosquito control. By removing potential breeding sites, addressing the areas of your property conducive to mosquito activity, and encouraging everyone to take precautions when spending time outdoors you can help protect your tenants, employees and community from the risks associated with mosquitoes.
Hope Bowman is a Technical Specialist and Board Certified Entomologist with Western Pest Services, a New Jersey-based pest management company serving businesses and homeowners in major Northeastern markets.