Mosquitoes…Oh No!

mosquitoWe are finally getting some much-needed rain to the area. Most of Southeast Nebraska is either out of the drought or only in the first category of drought, which is abnormally dry. Due to all of this rain we have been seeing, we are also starting to see problems with mosquito populations in the area.

Mosquitoes are a type of insect that is in the same order as flies. These insects have a complete lifecycle, which includes an egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. They are also vectors of many different diseases. Because of these factors, we need to do what we can to eliminate the problem and reduce mosquito populations.

The first three life stages of a mosquito are completed in or near bodies of water, typically standing water, the adult is the only stage not in the water. Because of all the recent rains we have seen in Southeast Nebraska, mosquito populations should be fairly high this year. The mosquitos are out laying their eggs on all the standing water left behind by the recent rain events, which will lead to large populations throughout this summer.

During the summer we all tend to spend a great deal of time outdoors working in the garden, mowing, or just having outdoor get-togethers and grill-outs. It is during this time we really notice the mosquito problem and want to do something to eliminate the problem. This isn’t an easy fix, but there are steps you can take to reduce the problem and make it more enjoyable to be outside.

Bug Spray Collage 2

  • Eliminate any breeding locations for the mosquitoes
    • Eliminate any standing water from your property
      • Clean bird bath’s and pools weekly
      • Dump buckets and old tires that may have water in them
      • Check for low areas in your landscape that may have water sitting in it
  • Make sure your lawn is mowed properly and your shrubs are all pruned correctly
    • Often we find mosquitoes in the edges of lawns where the native grasses are taller and there is a lot of overgrown landscaping. If we keep our lawns mowed, we will have less of a mosquito population.
  • Use bug sprays that have the ingredient DEET in them
  • Use citronella candles around our outdoor functions
  • Even barbeque smoke will help deter mosquitoes from the area
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and long socks to limit skin exposure to the insects
  • Use Bug Zappers
  • Use larval control methods such as Bti products in the bird bath or baby pool
    • Bti is harmful to the larvae of mosquitoes but not to birds, fish, mammals, or other organisms
  • If you are planning an outdoor gathering, you can control the resting adult mosquitoes on lawns, flower borders, smaller trees, and shrubs with a labeled insecticide about three hours prior to the planned event, according to Barb Ogg, Fred Baxendale, and Jim Kalisch from UNL Extension. Just be sure to read and follow all label directions when working with pesticides.

It is best to utilize some methods to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes because they spread many diseases including West Nile Virus, which is currently the most important mosquito-vectored disease in the U.S. Most people who get West Nile Virus have no symptoms or have flu-like symptoms. However, from 2001 to 2009 1,100 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to West Nile Virus. Most of the deaths occurred in people ages 65 and older.

Information for this article came from “Residential Mosquito Control” NebGuide by Barbara Ogg, Extension Educator; Frederick Baxendale, Extension Entomologist; and James Kalisch, Extension Associate.

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