There is a lot of misinformation out there about mosquitoes and the weather. We have folks who call us in August and ask to put their service on hold until the spring, thinking that mosquito season is over or at least that the populations diminish. Nine times out of ten those customers end up calling us back saying “I don’t know what I was thinking!” or “You stopped treating and they came back!”.
It is important to us that our customers make their own decisions about when they want us to service their yard, so we will never pressure someone to continue service if they don’t believe they need it. We don’t have contracts, never tie folks into services and make sure our customers know that they are the boss.
Having said that, this is a great time of year to take a look at what is actually going on down here in the deep south. Unlike the northern and eastern states, things work a little differently in south Texas.
Typically, mosquito hibernation starts once we experience three deep freezes in a row or temperatures fall consistently under 50 degrees. As you might have guessed, this rarely happens around these parts. What you might not know, however, is that mosquitoes in the Houston area are thought to have developed an adaptation to our mild winters. Scientists have noted that these local mosquitoes have adapted a hibernation pattern where they awaken on warm days and “sleep” on the few-and-far-between cold ones. Even at temperatures of 50 degrees, female mosquitoes are active and seeking out warm bodies from which to obtain a drink of blood.
Culiseta Inornata and Anopheles Freeborni are two of the species that live in our area and actually become MORE active during the cooler months. If you have lived in Texas long enough you will remember being bitten on Christmas Day.
So what can you do to help control that population in your yard? Firstly, if you are a customer remember that the longer we treat your yard, the more we prevent eggs from being laid around your home. Mosquito eggs are pretty resilient and can actually sit dormant for ten years before a drop of water can cause them to hatch. Come spring and the wet days of February, you will start seeing the effects of all that egg laying. Of course, it will also take us three services to break that life cycle in the spring. Customers who are treated year-round never have to worry and are able to maintain a yard rid of mosquitoes no matter what time of year it is.
What can you do if you are not a customer? We always tell folks to think like a mosquito. That sounds ridiculous, but I’m sure the majority of you have child proofed your home at some point in time. The number one advice to new parents on how to effectively do that is to get on your hands and knees and see your home from a toddlers perspective. Now we are not suggesting you crawl around your yard like a mosquito, but if you think like one you can act accordingly.
Mosquitoes need water to hatch the next generation of youngsters. The easiest way for them to populate is to lay eggs in stagnant water. Your number one focus should be making sure that there is no standing water in your yard. Remember, just a capful of water is enough for 300 eggs. So don’t keep your focus just on the large puddles or kiddie pools. Look at kids’ toys and plant pot saucers, soda cans, open garbage containers and blocked gutters. Even cap-less fence posts make a great home for mosquito eggs.
If a female mosquito cannot locate any standing water, she will lay her eggs on moist ground. These are the areas where eggs are most likely to hatch after a rain. Pine needles, debris piles and leaf piles are the most likely areas to be attractive as they keep the ground dark and moist. When the leaves start falling and you get out to clean your yard make sure you get rid of this debris rather than piling it behind the shed.
Finally, remember that the introduction of new mulch also brings the introduction of new mosquito eggs so don’t be surprised if you see more mosquitoes after you finish your winter landscaping.
We are always here to help and treat year-round (with good reason) so don’t hesitate to give us a call at 281-815-0228 if you have any questions!