With yet another year out of the way and 2019 fully arrived, the winter season is in full swing. This means yet another year of mosquitoes and the deadly diseases they carry, especially in the Southeast. Thankfully, with cooler temperatures, mosquitoes aren’t much of an issue as of yet. However, to prevent an onslaught of mosquito bites and the risk of contracting an illness, you should be seizing this time of year as an opportunity for winter mosquito control. You can prepare your home and your yard now for the upcoming mosquito season.
Unfortunately, many people simply don’t have the time to deal with mosquito control. Others just lack a proper understanding of the dangers these flying pests pose to them and their families. This leads many people to avoid doing the necessary work to protect their properties from mosquitoes. But that leaves them vulnerable to the real threats mosquitoes represent. After all, mosquitoes are known as the deadliest animals on earth, and for good reason.
That’s why it’s so important to learn everything you can about reducing mosquito populations in your community and at home. And winter mosquito control should be a central part of your mosquito prevention plan. Luckily, at Mr. Mister, our mosquito control professionals have extensive knowledge when it comes to preventing mosquitoes. So we’re here to give you some tips on winter mosquito control. If you prepare your property during the winter, you can avoid a mosquito population boom in the future.
Understanding The Dangers Of Mosquitoes
As we mentioned before, mosquitoes have been identified as the most dangerous animals on earth. For some, this may sound like a shocking fact. Many other animals — such as lions, bears, and rattlesnakes — are commonly known to be much more ferocious. But what makes mosquitoes so much more deadly than other animals is their position as a vector for a wide variety of deadly diseases.
Mosquitoes can carry a wide variety of diseases. Some cause only minor sickness, but others can be debilitating or even deadly. To understand the dangers mosquitoes pose, let’s explore some of the most common mosquito-borne illnesses.
Zika virus is the most well known mosquito-carried disease. The recent outbreak in South and Central America and the emergency proclamations by the World Health Organization garnered a lot of attention. What many don’t know is that Zika actually started in Uganda over three decades ago. Since made its way around the world and even to parts of North America, including the United States.
The illness itself—which is carried by the Aedes Aegypti species of mosquito—can lead to flu-like symptoms. However, Zika is extremely risky for pregnant women as it can lead to a horrific birth defect called microcephaly. Microcephaly affects a fetus in utero and can cause the babies’ skull to collapse. This is why the CDC still advises pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas with a known Zika outbreak.
West Nile Virus
West Nile, once a concern throughout the United States, has mostly been forgotten. This is in part due to the much more serious threat of Zika. Many seem to be under the impression that the illness isn’t even prevalent any longer. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true, and the virus itself is still a problem in parts of the United States.
West Nile can be particularly dangerous because it typically presents no symptoms in those that contract it. For many, the infection is completely asymptomatic and then it passes, without the host ever becoming aware of it. However, the lack of symptoms also means that infected people are rarely appropriately treated by a doctor early on. In the few cases that do become severe or even fatal, there may be little left to do by the time symptoms appear.
Dengue Fever may be the most painful among all mosquito-transmitted illnesses. While this illness is rare in the United States, it affects nearly 400 million people annually worldwide, mostly in tropical regions.
Dengue symptoms include high fever, rash, and severe muscle and joint pain which can cause difficulties with walking and moving. Thus, Dengue Fever is an extremely debilitating mosquito-borne illness that can truly affect your way of life. In more severe cases—when the disease is left untreated, for example—Dengue can lead to intense bleeding and shock, which can be fatal.
Typical treatment for Dengue fever includes over the counter pain relievers (such as Ibuprofen) and fluids. In extreme cases, however, those who contract the illness will need to be hospitalized to prevent it from becoming deadly.
Winter Mosquito Measures
The best way to prevent a mosquito population boom in the spring is to get ahead of it with winter mosquito control measures. Many types of female mosquitoes overwinter in warm, protected areas. They remain dormant through the winter months and emerge when the temperature starts to rise above fifty degrees. In many cases, females will also lay eggs just as the weather is turning cold. The eggs will go into a state of diapause—like a suspended animation—only to hatch into larvae when the weather warms. You can reduce the spring mosquito population by going after the dormant females and their eggs.
Eggs are almost always laid in or very near to standing water. They can survive in even the small amount of water collected in a fallen leaf. To eliminate mosquito eggs, go after any standing water. Dump out buckets, empty flower pots, wheelbarrows, or anything that can collect water. Then turn them upside down. Look for a collection of leaves, trash, or debris that could hold stagnant water.
If you have water that you want to keep, like a birdbath, you have two options. You can get the water moving with a small fountain or other feature since mosquitoes prefer still water. You can also treat standing water with mosquito-killing pellets. These mosquito killers come in pellets, discs, and even powders. They are safe for all other living things but contain bacteria that attack developing mosquito larvae and eggs.
Winter Tips For Your Yard
You need a primary mosquito control solution—like the methods we offer at Mr. Mister—to effectively keep mosquitoes away. But there are a few tasks you can carry out during the winter to help keep mosquitoes at bay. Keep in mind, these tasks are more for preventing mosquitoes from breeding on your property than actually controlling existing mosquitoes.
Eliminating Sources Of Standing Water In Your Yard
Standing water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. This makes clearing your gutters during the winter extremely important. However, gutters aren’t the only possible source of standing water on your property. Many additional items could be scattered around your yard right now that could also harbor mosquito eggs. These items include old tires, kiddy swimming pools, toys, and even dog houses. To keep mosquitoes from breeding in your yard, it’s essential to eliminate these items before the spring season begins. This will avoid a new population of mosquitoes from reproducing in your yard. Sometimes you can’t remove a particular item that could be potential sources of standing water. So it’s important to keep these items clean and dry on a consistent basis.
Educating Your Neighbors
Beyond implementing proper mosquito control methods in your own yard, you should also focus on your neighbors. You can help educate them on both the dangers of mosquitoes and the best ways to keep them away. This will bring your local community together and will put you a step closer to living in a mosquito-free area. And that is one of our main goals here at Mr. Mister. You can begin by discussing the diseases mosquitoes carry, as well as the ineffectiveness of typical and cheap mosquito repellent solutions. Your neighbors will appreciate your help keeping their yard mosquito-free, as well as your care for their family’s health.