If the weather has gotten chilly in your area, you might have already crossed mosquitoes off the list of things to be concerned about for now. However, by doing so you could be putting yourself and your family at an even bigger risk for mosquito-borne illness. It’s true that most mosquitoes are not active when the temperature reaches below 50º for an extended period. But that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do to help control mosquito populations. Is mosquito control needed in the winter? As Benjamin Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As the mosquito control professionals in Atlanta, we want our homeowners to be prepared to handle the threat of mosquitoes. That means preparing now before the start of the mosquito season in the spring. Here’s what you need to know about mosquitos in the winter.
Mosquito Diapause in the Winter
If you thought mosquitoes just die off in the winter, think again. During the cold winter months, many mosquitoes go into a state that is known as diapause. During this state, mosquitoes shut down their development, and basically hibernate until the spring. It is usually the females that remain in a state of diapause. The males mostly do die off. But many of the female mosquitoes are fertilized before they go into diapause, so they are ready to lay eggs as soon as the weather warms up. That means that the only thing standing between you and a fresh swarm of mosquitoes is a slight rise in temperature.
To survive the winter, female mosquitoes need somewhere warm to spend the colder months. One way to keep mosquitoes off your property is to minimize opportunities for mosquitoes to overwinter in your yard. In the wild, mosquitoes often spend the winter in logs, tree trunks, or even underground. In your backyard, any garbage or debris you have lying around could provide a suitable place for mosquitoes to spend the winter. That means that simply keeping your yard clean goes a long way toward encouraging mosquitoes to seek shelter elsewhere.
If you have old tires, bins, or even piles of leaves, clear them out of your yard. Think like a cold mosquito. Where would you go to stay warm? If you find a spot that is sheltered from wind, rain, and cold, get rid of it.
Mosquito Eggs in the Winter
Mosquito eggs are even more resilient than their adult counterparts, as they have been known to survive through many harsh environment and weather situations. Some mosquito eggs can even freeze during the winter and survive until spring. As temperatures begin to drop in the fall, it is quite common for female mosquitoes to lay their last batch of eggs on (or near) some form of standing water. Like the adult females, the eggs enter a state of diapause. Instead of hatching into larvae, they remain as eggs as long as the temperature remains low. Once the days get warmer and the temperature starts to stay about 50º, the mosquito eggs leave diapause. They hatch and can become adult disease-carrying mosquitoes in 4-7 days. Before you have even begun to think about mosquito control for the new season, your yard can becoem home to a new swarm.
In the summer you can seek out and remove standing water to help reduce mosquito populations. What many homeowners don’t realize is that you can do the same thing in the winter. If left undisturbed, mosquito eggs laid in the fall will hatch in the spring. But if you find the water that is hosting those eggs, you can dump them out before they ever hatch. Just like in the summer, look for areas and materials that could collect water. Take care to remove or overturn buckets, wheelbarrows, unused flowerpots, and anything that holds water after a rain. Rake up leaves that can collet little pools of water. Make sure that patio furniture, play structures, and outdoor toys are not collecting water.
Yard Maintenance as Mosquito Prevention
Mosquitoes aren’t great flyers. To help protect them from wind that makes it hard to fly, mosquitoes like to stick to tall grass and thick bush. Overgrown vegetation also gives them some cover from natural enemies. Keeping your yard well trimmed and neat is a great way to force mosquitoes off your property as they seek shelter. Of course, most of us wait until spring to really get out into our yards and start gardening. But by the time you find a warm sunny weekend to start neatening up your hedges, mosquitoes have already hatched and made themselves at home.
Taking care of your grass and bushes over the winter will deprive mosquitoes of valuable shelter. When the first batch hatches in the spring, they will have to look for shelter away from your home. Once they’ve gone elsewhere, it is likely that they will stay there. So having your yard prepared to discourage mosquitoes before they hatch is a lasting deterrent.
Taking Mosquito Control Seriously in the Winter
If you really want to take mosquito control in Atlanta seriously this year, you should contact the experts at Mr. Mister for an estimate on one of our innovative and effective mosquito control solutions. These include our ClearZone mosquito misting service and automatic mosquito control systems.
With a ClearZone misting service, we will come to your home about once every three weeks fro the duration of the mosquito season. Our technicians apply a fine mist to the vegetation of your yard. The mist is deadly to mosquitoes but harmless to people, pets, and other wildlife. The mist sticks to the underside of leaves for about three weeks until we come back for another application.
Automatic mosquito control systems require a one-time install and then work on their own. The only maintenance is an occasional refill of the misting solution. An automatic misting system is installed just like a sprinkler system. The technician runs small lines out into your yard from a central tank. Misters along the lines release a fine mist of anti-mosquito solution at set times. The mist kills mosquitoes and protects against new ones. Contact us on our website today to learn more.
We hope you’re finding our Atlanta Mosquito Control blog helpful and informative! For more information on what makes Mr. Mister Atlanta’s premier provider of innovative Atlanta mosquito control solutions and techniques click here. Or, visit our Testimonials page to see what some of our satisfied customers are saying.