The weather is warming up and the combination of some rainy days and some hot ones is a recipe for mosquitoes. There are over 150 species of mosquito in the United States, each with their own behavior patterns and lifecycle. Some hibernate over winter. Some lay eggs in the spring. But here in Georgia you can count on mosquitoes as soon as the weather starts to peek above 50 degrees on a regular basis. By that measure we are well into the start of mosquito season in Atlanta.
Preparing for Mosquito Season
If you’re just waking up to the threat of mosquitoes, it’s not too late. Mosquitoes can turn your yard into a hellscape of swarming pests. Especially after a winter of minimal yard maintenance, your yard is a haven for these itch inducing insects.
And it’s not just the itch that you have to worry about. Mosquitoes may be one of the nastiest organisms in your yard. They don’t just cause that annoying itchy bump. They can also carry serious diseases. Although severe disease infection from mosquitoes is relatively rare in Georgia, it pays to be cautious.
Mosquitoes in Georgia can carry West Nile virus. West Nile virus is usually not a big deal, and may not even manifest any symptoms. But in a small percentage of cases it can lead to more serious symptoms. In rare cases it can even cause permanent damage to the central nervous system. About 1 in 10 individuals who experience symptoms related to the central nervous system die of the illness. While such severe reactions are rare, they are more common in some groups. People over 60 are at greater risk. Other medical conditions also increase risk. These include cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and people who have received organ transplants.
Mosquitoes can also carry diseases that affect pets. Mosquitoes are a key vector for heartworms. Heartworms can infect your dog, or in some cases cats, and cause serious damage. Often, by the time you notice symptoms the disease has reached a pretty serious level. It’s important to make sure that your pets are treated with medications or other treatments to resist heartworms, as well as ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests.
Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard
There are some simple steps you can take to start preparing your yard for mosquito season. If it has been a while since you’ve done any serious yard work, now is the time to start. Take a look around your yard. Do you see tall grass or overgrown shrubs? What about fallen leaves or other debris? Are there chairs or lawn furniture that have sat out over the winter, or play structures and other garden features? What about that bird bath or small water feature? All of these can play a role in increasing mosquito activity. Knowing what to look for and how to prepare your yard can help soften the blow of mosquito season.
The Search for Standing Water
The first thing you want to do is look for standing water. This is easier said than done. Mosquitoes need standing water to lay their eggs. All mosquitoes start their lives in standing water. So minimizing the amount of standing water can help disrupt the mosquito life cycle. It is important to realize, however, that you can only minimize standing water. In a relatively rainy climate like we have in Georgia, you will never eliminate all standing water. That’s because mosquitoes require only the tiniest amount of water to lay their eggs. They need just about the amount that would fit in a soda bottle cap.
There are some spots that you want to look to first in the search for standing water. First of all, check for piles of leaves or other natural debris. Leaves are the perfect shape to hold a little puddle of standing water. Each individual leaf can be a home for mosquito larvae, so it important to get them all. Break out the rake and clean up your yard. It won’t just look neater, it will also be less inviting to mosquitoes.
The next place to look is yard furniture. It’s amazing how much water your yard furniture can actually hold. Little indentations in a lawn chair or patio chair can hold enough water to host some mosquito eggs. The same is true of tables, which can develop little puddles of water if they are not completely flat. Turn your furniture upside down and if it’s been sitting out all winter you’ll probably see plenty of water pouring out. The same is true for play structures, toys, or anything else in your yard that has sat out through a good rainfall.
Another place to look for standing water is places where you actually want standing water. That could include a bird bath, a small water feature, or a pond. If any of these have water that doesn’t move much, it’s a wide open invitation to mosquitoes. The best way to keep your water features from become a nursery for mosquitoes is to get the water moving. Installing a small fountain can do the trick. A fountain will keep the water circulating enough to make it inhospitable to mosquito eggs and larvae. If you have a larger water feature, like a pond, you can stock it with some fish. The fish will be a great deterrent to mosquito eggs, since as far as a fish is concerned mosquito eggs and larvae look like lunch.
Keeping your yard well maintained is also a deterrent to mosquitoes. There are some species of mosquitoes in Georgia that are especially fond of shrubbery. Tall grass, dense bushes, or forests are a great hiding place for these mosquitoes. You may not be able to rid your yard of all greenery, nor do you want to. But keeping what you have trimmed will go a long way to reducing the number of mosquitoes that hang out in your yard. If your yard backs up to a forested area, keeping your own property well trimmed is especially important. The same is true if your yard backs up on a creek or any slow moving water. You want the mosquitoes to stay in the trees and near the water, so making it harder for them to hide in your yard is important.
Professional Mosquito Services
No matter how much you prepare your yard for mosquito season, you can’t manage your way out of mosquitoes. You can cut down on mosquito habitat, but you can never eliminate it. If you really want to create a bug free zone in your yard, you will need to go a step further. Professional mosquito control services, like those offered by Mr. Mister Mosquito Control, are the best way to finally beat back mosquitoes.
Mr. Mister offers two main solutions to mosquitoes in your yard. The first option is their ClearZone Misting service. A mosquito control expert will come to your home about once every three weeks throughout mosquito season. The technician will apply a fine mist of a 100% biodegradable solution that will kill mosquitoes and disrupt their reproduction. The solution sticks to your foliage and works to prevent mosquitoes until your next service date.
The other option offered by Mr. Mister Mosquito Control is installed automated misting systems. These systems are installed like a sprinkler system throughout your yard. The system can be almost completely hidden from view. At regular intervals, the system will automatically release a spray of solution that will kill mosquitoes and disrupt their reproduction.
Whichever service you decide to go with, Mr. Mister Mosquito Control is here to make sure your yard belong to you and not the mosquitoes. You can contact us today to schedule your service and start living mosquito free this mosquito season.