Controlling mosquitoes in Oklahoma
We’ve had an amazingly rainy spring in Oklahoma — lakes stricken by years of drought are overflowing. While all of that rains brings about new life and beautiful flowers, it also brings lots of mosquitoes. This is the season to be outdoors with fun summer activities, outdoor parties, and barbeques. How can you keep the mosquitoes at bay so you can enjoy your yard? We have answers right here.
Know your Enemy: The Mosquito
Most people know all about mosquitoes. For such small insects they can sure be a nuisance. Beyond that, though, they are also known to carry serious diseases such as West Nile virus and encephalitis.If you could look at a pair of mosquitoes under a microscope you would see that the male has fuzzy, full antennae while the female’s antennae are sleeker and thinner.
It is the female who sucks blood from humans and animals; the male does not have the physical capabilities to do so. Contrary to popular belief, the female does not drink the blood or ingest it. She collects it to nourish her eggs. Like the male mosquito, she dines on nectar from flowers.
Just like any other insect, mosquitoes need food, harborage, and water in order to survive. If you can remove the water and the harborage you have eliminated a great deal of the problem. If you want to get rid of them it is important that you know what attracts mosquitoes to your home.
The primary attractant for mosquitoes is standing water anywhere in the yard around the house. Check these areas around your home where water tends to stand:
- gutter drainage systems
- underground drainage
- bird baths
- tools or equipment
- pet’s water dish
- children’s toys
- swimming pool covers
- boat covers
- knot holes in trees or crotches of trees
Remember, anything capable of holding water can contribute to the problem.
You may also want to check storm drains in your area or near your home. Sometimes they can settle and hold water which will attract mosquitoes. If you find a storm drain that is holding water, call your county and have them take care of it.
Mosquitoes desiccate rapidly in the sunlight so they prefer shade. Look for areas on your property that have dense, consistent shade. Those areas are a haven for mosquitoes.
In areas where lakes had dried up or it has been particularly dry, there is a likelihood that there are dormant mosquito eggs that were never activated. They have been sitting, waiting for water. With all the rain in the area the water activates them which means there will be even more mosquitoes.
Trapping and Repelling
Mosquitoes can be difficult to control. They can come from as far as a mile away to pester your guests. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the problem.
CO2 generating mosquito traps – This device generates carbon dioxide which is what draws mosquitoes to humans and animals. Ever notice that when you use your propane grill you get more mosquitoes? That’s because when you burn propane it produces CO2 and attracts them. If you are going to use these traps, place them at the extreme edge of your property. If you have less than an acre though it will create more of a problem by drawing mosquitoes to where you are. You want these traps as far away from your home as possible.
Pesticide – If you are going to apply pesticide yourself, concentrate your application on areas with constant shade and dense vegetation – areas where mosquitoes are
Citronella candles – These do work to repel mosquitoes, making them good for times you are outside or while you are having an outdoor event. Place them along the perimeter of the area you will be enjoying.
Fan – For an outdoor event use a large fan that blows horizontally and place it at the edge of the patio so that it keeps a consistent breeze blowing. Mosquitoes are terrible flyers so the breeze will keep them off balance and they will avoid the area. Overhead fans are also effective – two or three small ceiling fans work quite well.
Gravid trap – These traps are very effective but you want to place them on the extreme edge of the property. If you can place it in shade that is even better. It will trap most of the females which are the primary pests, plus they are less expensive than Co2 traps and are appropriate for smaller lots as well as large ones
For extreme mosquito problems, or if you live near a body of water such as a public lake or pond, call the county to treat the area. If you are on private property and feel like you can’t handle the problem yourself, contact a pest professional who specialized in mosquito abatement
Make your Yard Inhospitable for Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes come to your home and yard looking for food, harborage, and water. If you want to keep them away, you need to make your home and yard as unfriendly to mosquitoes as you can. Cut back any shrubbery. That is harborage for mosquitoes (shade) and they love to hide in it. Keep it well maintained and cut it back regularly. Overgrown foliage is the perfect home for mosquitoes
You also want to limit the number of flowering plants around the areas where people will be. The nectar in the flowers is mosquito food. Also, don’t forget to empty containers that hold water. Standing water is the main attractant for mosquitoes.
In the end, all you can do is make your property as uninviting as possible. It is important to stay on top of lawn maintenance and remain vigilant when it comes to keeping your yard free of standing water. Mosquitoes are on a short breeding cycle. The larvae mature in 10 to 14 days, so even if you spray today and get rid of them completely you could see more in a couple of weeks as their offspring come to pay you a visit.
It is an ongoing battle, but you can decrease the number of mosquitoes that come into your yard, and you can protect your family and pets from these bothersome insects.