The weather is warming up, and with it comes backyard BBQs, lawn care (of course!) and….mosquitoes. We know those bites can be a pain (literally). Although most mosquitoes are simply a nuisance and not inherently harmful, several species’ bites can also transmit pathogens that cause human disease, making them a serious outdoor pest.
It’s easy to tell a mosquito apart from a crane fly or a non-biting midge when they’re feasting on your arm, but how can you really tell a mosquito is a mosquito? First of all, crane flies are quite a bit larger than mosquitoes and non-biting midges usually have very fuzzy antennae. You can also listen for soft buzzing or humming as a small and delicate fly-like bug approaches. Then look for a long needle-like mouthpart looking to actively feed. But hopefully, this ID doesn’t result in one of those painful and itchy red welts they tend to leave.
Two of the most common mosquitoes in the US are the Northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Northern house mosquitoes are less than 1/2″ long and brown.
Asian tiger mosquitoes are 1/2″ long and have black and white stripes on the body.
Why do these particular species matter? These are the most common mosquitoes you’ll find biting your skin and they’re located nationwide – essentially present and active in every region of the US. Plus, these are the mosquitoes you’ll likely be managing for using IPM strategies below and Sunday’s Mosquito Deleto.
Although the stray mosquito might work it’s way into the house, mosquitoes are most common outdoors in yards and gardens across the US. Mosquitoes reproduce by laying eggs in or on water. You may notice small wriggling creatures in water that has been left out – those are mosquito larvae. Some need large pools of standing water, while others can breed in as little water as is found in a soda bottle cap. Most mosquitoes won’t venture more than a mile or two from their breeding sites, though some can travel several miles.
Well, it depends. Northern house mosquitoes will start biting when temps hit 61°F and these lil’ vampires are most hungry at dawn and dusk. Asian tiger mosquitoes start developing at 50°F – once they mature, they like to snack (on you) all throughout the day.
Mosquito control starts, well…at the beginning. The best way to prevent a heavy mosquito outbreak is to prevent successful mosquito growth and reproduction.
Sunday’s Mosquito Deleto uses cedarwood and lemongrass oils for a natural approach to mosquito control. This product will not help prevent mosquito outbreaks, but can be used once the weather warms up and mosquitoes come out. Here’s how to use it:
SundayProTip: Foliar sprays to shrubs can kill night-feeding mosquitoes resting there during the day. However, some plants may have adverse reactions to foliar applications (leaf burning or death) and non-target organisms, including pollinators, could be negatively affected as well. If breeding sites are eliminated by removing standing water, mosquito treatments may not be needed.