Getting Rid of Mosquitoes
Bookmarks on this page:
- About Mosquitos
- Keeping mosquitoes off you
- Protecting Aviaries / Bird Flights from Mosquito Infestations
About Mosquitoes ...
Mosquitoes are common pests that can be found in most parts of the world - from the tropics to arctic regions.
Mosquitoes serve as vectors for a variety of diseases that affect humans, pets and wildlife; including malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis, some types of encephalitis, as well as West Nile Virus and Canary Pox.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of water, either singly or in groups (or rafts) of 30 to 300. The larvae lives in water but must either surface for air or obtain oxygen from the underwater portions of plants. Males usually emerge first.
Males do not bite -- they feed on plant fluids, nectar and honeydew. Adult females also feed on plant fluids and nectar; but they also suck the blood of vertebrates - which includes fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and humans -- and in doing so can spread serious diseases to animals and humans.
Generally, the peak biting periods of mosquitoes occur just before and after dark, and again just before dawn. However, each species has its own peak period of biting activity. Outside the biting periods, adult mosquitoes can be found resting in grass, shrubbery or other foliage.
Mosquitoes represent a serious health risk, especially if the West Nile virus has been identified in your area. Steps should be taken to protect yourself from their bites.
Keeping mosquitoes off you:
Taking protective measures is especially important in the peak mosquito times — usually in the mid to late afternoon.
- Wear protective clothing:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- You may want to consider wearing gloves and socks
- In areas of heavy infestation, you may also want to get netting to protect you from mosquito bites. Outdoor-gear stores usually carry head drapes that fit over your hat and cover your neck.
- Rub Citronella soap or scentless skin oil on your skin to repel mosquitoes.
- Herbal Repellants:
- Pennyroyal - crushed Pennyroyal leaves and foliage exhibit a very strong spearmint fragrance. Pennyroyal essential oil is used as an insect repellent. However, there are numerous studies that show pennyroyal's toxicity to humans and animals.
- Essential Oils: The following herbal mix is safe to be used on plants, pets and people and will repel ants, aphids, bean beetles, black flies, cabbage root flies, cabbage white flies, carrot flies, caterpillars, cutworms, flea beetles, fleas, flies, greenflies, lice, mosquitoes, moths, nematodes, plant lice, rodents, ticks and whiteflies;
- 2 cups water
- 4 drops lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and sage essential oils
- Combine ingredients in spray bottle; shake well before use.
- Some report that placing a dryer sheet in your pocket keeps the mosquitoes away when you are in the garden. Putting dryer sheets in pet areas (out of reach of the pets though) will keep those blood-sucking pests away from your pet's area. This being said, I didn't find it effective. The different opinions may be based on some species being more sensitive to the smell than others. It's worth a try though - as some people swear by this method.
- Eucalyptus aka Blue Gum Essential Oil: Deters mosquitoes and other insects (Note: "Eucalyptus Essential Oil" is toxic to birds, as well as being non-edible and poisonous to humans when ingested. Only use as directed. Avoid use around birds.)
Eradicating mosquitoes from your home and garden:
Steps should be taken to eliminate places where water collects outdoors. This will not only eliminate mosquito breeding habitat, but also help get rid of cockroaches. Mosquitoes can breed in very small amounts of water, so you need to eliminate the obvious breeding grounds
- It is important to get rid of, or treat, any standing water, no matter how little. This includes saucers under flower plots, plastic toys, old tarps, tires, and cans that might be lying around, even tree holes, etc.).
- Change the water in bird baths frequently. Using a fountain-type bird bath (with moving water) will prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your bird bath.
- Treat any permanent water features
Invite mosquito predators into your yard ...
- Bats: Welcome bats to your yard by hanging up one or two bat houses. Each bat can eat up to 500 mosquitoes per hour!
- Dusky Thrushes eat a wide range of insects, especially mosquitoes and earthworms - they also like berries.
Devices, Screens & Mosquito Repellants:
- Insect screens and netting are recommended. Available at most home improvement stores. Continue to monitor the screens to make sure they are bug-tight.
- Insect trapping devices and mosquito repellants are amongst the most important methods for reducing the exposure to mosquito.
Protecting Aviaries / Bird Flights from Mosquito Infestations
Mosquito control is vitally important in bird aviaries -- as mosquitoes serve as vectors for deadly diseases, such as Canary Pox and West Nile disease.
If mosquitoes are a problem in your area, apply mosquito netting over your bird's cage or aviary. Do not use mosquito repellants on birds directly. Insect screens and netting and insect-trapping devices are highly recommended.
Prevention is best:
- Place mosquito screens around the aviary to keep the mosquitoes out. It's best to place it on the outside of the aviary wires to prevent birds from chewing holes into it. Monitor the screens to make sure they are bug-tight. Cover outdoor cages with mosquito netting.
- Another IMPORTANT step is to eradicate these pests from your garden - to not only protect your birds, but you and your family. Please scroll up to the above section "Eradicating mosquitoes from your garden" or click here to take you there ....
Once an infestation has occurred, fogging of outdoor aviaries should be considered in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent. Area sprays or foggers and other products that have synthetic pyrethrin as an active ingredient are generally safe as environmental treatments (discuss with your vet).
Control Aviary Bug Spray has EPA approval as an Aviary Bug Spray for managing pests in homes, aviaries, pet stores and veterinary facilities. It is EPA approved to control mosquitoes, ants, fleas, spiders, crickets, roaches, wasps, silverfish, gnats, small flying moths, lice, grain mites, house flies, and more. It contains the botanical insecticide Pyrethrum, an extract of the Chrysanthemum flower, in a micro-emulsion water-base spray. Pyrethrum compounds are a safe choice for insect control in aviaries and households with birds.
Some breeders in problem areas have successfully eradicated mosquitoes in their aviaries with the Burgess Bug Killer Insect Fog (a propane-powered model as well as an electric one is available). The active ingredient is Resmethrin 0.2% - a synthetic pyrethrin with low toxicity. Breeders fog under and around the cages in the early morning and late afternoon.
- However, I am concerned about safety / exposure. It is very important to take any precautions, or to look at alternative options. Operator needs to wear a protective mask; birds and food / water dishes need to be removed. It's also recommended that the operator wear long sleeves and pants to prevent accumulation of the chemicals on the skin. Also keep in mind that some people are sensitive or allergic to the product.
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