Although you tend not to see many mosquitoes in winter, mosquito control in Atlanta is a year-round activity. Mosquitoes become inactive below 50 degrees, but they do not die out. They are alive and well, hiding away, waiting for warmer weather in the spring. That’s why we see such a sudden explosion of mosquito activity when the weather warms up in April and May. Of course, this year’s weather has seen some unusually warm days, which has led to some unexpected mosquito activity as early as February!
Mosquitoes in Winter
Have you ever wondered why so many mosquitoes suddenly seem to appear on the first warm spring day? It’s as if they had never been away! The answer is simple. It seems like they were never away because they never were away! Mosquitoes have been hiding all winter, in a state similar to hibernation. They’re just waiting for the weather to get warmer, and so are their eggs.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, often in the form of rafts of hundreds of eggs. In warmer months, those eggs quickly hatch into larvae and grow into biting adults. But the last batch of eggs laid in late fall, just before the weather turns cold, don’t hatch. These eggs can lie dormant for months while the temperature remains low. Then they suddenly hatch when it becomes warmer.
Occasionally, you can have a few warm days in late fall and early or late winter. That’s what we have seen this year. When that happens, you can find a swarm of mosquitoes when you don’t expect them. To avoid the sudden explosion of mosquitos, you need to identify the areas around your home where these eggs can be quietly waiting to hatch. If you can deal with those problem areas before the eggs hatch, you can get out ahead of the new mosquito season.
While it is unusual to see adult mosquitoes in winter, you can reduce the likelihood of a mass invasion in spring by cleaning up around your yard. There may be areas outside and even inside your home that host dormant mosquitoes and their eggs. Less than a teaspoon of standing water can host a whole army of mosquitoes, just waiting for you on the first pleasant day in late winter or early spring.
Atlanta Mosquito Control in Winter
In late fall and early winter, check your yard and areas around your home for standing water. Atlanta is known as the worst metropolitan area in the US for mosquitoes. That’s partly because of all the rivers, creeks, and other waterways in and around the city. You might think it’s hopeless. Is it just a waste of time removing one discarded dog bowl or tin can from your yard? The answer is absolutely not!
Mosquito colonies are located all along the vast Chattahoochee River. Even their little tributaries like Nancy Creek River, which spread throughout Fulton, Cobb, and Gwinnett Counties, host millions of mosquitoes. The Sweetwater and Peachtree Creeks are not so sweet when you start to feel the bites. So what’s the point of doing a little clean up around your yard? After all, Metro Atlanta is home to hundreds of thousands of colonies of these insects.
With so much habitat for mosquitoes all around the city, you may wonder about the usefulness of draining standing water around your home. The secret is in the way mosquitoes behave. Mosquitoes may be voracious eaters, but they aren’t very good fliers. Most mosquitoes will live, bite, and die all within a few hundred feet of where they hatched. So you don’t have to worry about an invasion from a local creek, or even from your neighbor’s yard. If you can clean up mosquito habitat on your own property, you can drastically reduce the local mosquito population.
Controlling Mosquitoes in Winter
Controlling mosquitoes in winter is all about planning for the future. Your goal is to minimize the spring infestation. Your winter work should include checking your entire yard and removing items that could hold water. Examples are old food cans, disposable cups, pet bowls, birdbaths, watering cans, fountains, ponds, old auto tires, drains, and roof gutters. You can even find mosquito eggs in depressions within your patio, your driveway, and around the edges of your home, garage, and shed. That plastic sheet or tarp you put over your pool can also hold small areas of standing water, enough for a whole raft of eggs. You should also inspect the sides of buildings and walls for small areas of standing water near the foundation and gutter downspouts.
The key to this search and destroy mission is to be thorough. You are not looking for a lot of water. Even a spoonful is enough to breed a raft of mosquito eggs! Carry out a complete clean-up of any areas where mosquitoes might breed. Look for small, pale rafts of eggs and destroy them or flush them down a drain. They can survive in wet grass or shrubbery until ready to hatch, so don’t just throw them out of the container.
Automated Mosquito Spray System
If you want to be genuinely ready for springtime, then set up an automated mosquito spray system. Automated mosquito control systems spray the leafy plants in your yard with a mosquito control solution at regular intervals. They can have a significant effect on mosquito populations, reducing the likelihood of new hatchlings surviving to make spring a misery. An automated system doesn’t require operation over winter. But the system is ready to be activated as soon as the seasons change. The combination of a thorough inspection around your home in winter and being proactive with your mosquito control system in the spring will reduce the possibility of an early infestation of mosquitoes in your yard.
Mosquito control doesn’t have to be complicated. It is mostly a matter of common sense. Controlling mosquitoes in winter does not involve dealing with adults because there will not be many of them flying around, if any! Winter mosquito control is all about preventing eggs from hatching in the spring by removing areas and receptacles in your yard that could be home to their eggs over the winter.
Mosquitoes in Winter: Summary
Mosquito control in Atlanta is not easy, especially if you live close to a river, creek, lake, or even a small pond. However, you can make it easier with an automatic spray system that prevents newly hatched or hibernating mosquitoes from surviving in your yard. Controlling mosquitoes in winter often involves proactive thinking. If you look ahead at what might be coming, a little preparation in the winter can have a huge effect in the spring.