Mosquitos are becoming a problem, how can I control them?
With the moisture from the recent rains comes the biting of the mosquitos. According to Dr. Wright, from OSU, there are approximately 60 species of mosquitos in Oklahoma, but there will be only 6 to 8 species in any given area. Some species, such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) or some of the Culex species can vector West Nile Virus. The male mosquitos feed only on nectar and do not bite humans. Female mosquitos seek a blood meal after mating to develop the eggs. To get the blood meal, many mosquitos will feed on anything with blood; including birds and reptiles. Regardless of the species of mosquito, the time of day they are active or their water habitat preference; eliminating their source of water for the larval stage development is the key to controlling them.
To eliminate their breeding habitats, make a thorough search of your property. Any container that has standing water should be emptied. Mosquito larva can develop in very little water. Encourage your neighbors to search their property for standing water as well. Pet watering containers should be dumped out and be replaced with fresh water daily. For containers that cannot be refreshed daily, such as livestock troughs or bird baths, use mosquito discs. Look for the discs that have the active ingredient B.t. israelensis. There are many brands that contain this animal safe product. There are some discs that contain an insecticide. These should not be used where animals or birds are watered. There are other natural products that are made from essential oils of herbs and plants. These are often used in foggers and are safe around humans and pets when applied properly.
Great care should be taken in spraying pesticides on pools of water, drainage ditches or other areas of water that can drain into places where fish are present. Always read labels concerning warnings about products that will kill birds, fish or other animals. There are also some oil sprays that are safe for controlling larva in bodies of water.
If going outside during times when mosquitos are active, you should wear long sleeve shirts and long pants with shoes and socks. While this may be uncomfortable, it will save the later itching as well as reducing the chance of being bitten by a mosquito that may be vectoring a disease. Use products with DEET or other recommended insect repellents. Time your outside activities to those periods when mosquitos are less likely to be active.
For more information contact the OSU Extension Center, 14001 Acme Road, corner of MacArthur and Acme Road in Shawnee or 273-7683.