Warmer temperatures and rain means mosquito season is underway in most of the state. With an increase in mosquitoes comes an increase in bites. While these insects pose a big annoyance for Texans, here are five tips on how to protect your home from mosquitoes this summer.
Eliminate standing water: Mosquitoes develop in stagnant water. Limiting water-filled breeding sites around the home can reduce populations in proximity. It takes an immature mosquito around 10 to 14 days to develop in water, so it is a good rule of thumb to replace or remove water that has been sitting for longer than five days. Potential areas to check for standing water include water dishes, bird baths, plant saucers, leaky faucets, and gutters. Observe your surroundings for water that is standing for more than a few days and dump the water or make sure it is free of larvae.
Utilize screens and closed doors: Mosquitoes are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide that is emitted when we breathe. While screens on open windows and doors are an effective barrier to keep mosquitoes from entering homes, it is vital to ensure that screens do not contain holes and that doors stay closed. It is highly recommended that you use screens on your windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside. Mosquitoes are going to do what they have to in order to get to us.
Keep a well-trimmed yard and shrubbery : While preferences with personal property may vary, it is vital to prevent the type of habitat where adult mosquitoes thrive. Potted plants, thick, tall grass and overgrown landscape plants provide shelter for mosquitoes. By managing these types of environments around your home, you prevent the likelihood of mosquitoes following you into your home. It is important not to have too many potted plants or overgrown shrubs because those serve as harborages for adult mosquitoes to thrive in. If provided with a still water source, mosquitoes can reproduce at a rapid rate. Reducing this, in addition to managing other ideal living environments, plays a big part in protecting your home from mosquitoes.
Utilize repellents and be consistent: Texas is home to over 80 species of mosquitoes that thrive throughout the warmer months both during the day and at night. If you are outdoors, using is one of the only sure-fire ways to prevent mosquito bites. Spray products like “Off!” are recommended because they are better able to mask our scent from mosquitoes. Citronella candles are not nearly effective since the scent does not travel far enough to provide any protection in an area.
Be aware of mosquito activity: it is important to be aware that mosquito activity varies from species to species. Some are active early in the morning while others are active at dusk and during the night. Preventative measures can reduce mosquito populations in or near your home, and consistent use of repellents can reduce bites. If you see or notice a public area where mosquito populations are heavy, notify your local public health department to report sites. Action by public health professionals can reduce mosquito populations and mitigate their spread to other areas. For more information on this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].