It’s January so why on earth are we writing about this? Well in Texas mosquitoes don’t exactly hibernate like they do in other areas of the United States. Temperatures need to stay under 55 degrees for 5 days in a row, or we need to have 3 deep freezes in a row, for hibernation to occur. As you may have guessed, that happens rarely in this part of the world, and when it does it is almost always immediately followed by a rise in temperatures that takes them right back out of hibernation.
It’s often a mistake to think, “oh the temperatures have dropped; I don’t need to worry.” Think of the folks in Alaska – they deal with incredibly low temperatures every year and have one of the worst mosquito problems in the summer. Even if we have unexpected low temperatures, it doesn’t mean anything in terms of our population the following spring (or in our case a week later typically.)
What drives the population in your yard is the potential for egg-laying areas. If you have few moist or wet zones, mosquitoes will be much less likely to lay eggs. Granted it won’t stop mosquitoes from coming in to visit you from a neighbor, for that you need Mosquito Joe to help. But getting rid of those egg-laying zones on your property will have a HUGE impact on the population at home. So, what do you need to do?
We always tell our customers to, “think like a mosquito.” It’s no good walking around your yard without this in mind – it’s a bit like childproofing your home without thinking like a child. A mosquito wants to lay her eggs in stagnant water, or in damp soil that is protected from the sun. She is smart enough to know if a dry area has a tendency to hold moisture, even if the ground is bone dry when she is hunting for a place to lay eggs. You have to think this way as well when you walk the yard.
Here is what you need to look for:
- Piles of fallen leaves or pine needles: It’s a pain and we all hate to do it but raking the yard and keeping the ground clear of all the leaf litter is important. The ground covered in leaves stays damp and is protected from the sun. It’s an ideal place for mosquitoes to lay eggs, so rake, rake and rake some more!
- Gutters: keep them clear of leaves and debris. It soon turns to sludge and blocks your gutters, creating stagnant pools of water. Even if you have gutter covers don’t be fooled into thinking your gutters won’t cause issues! The same leaves can decompose on top of the covers, causing the sludge to fall through into the gutter and producing the same effect. Running a hose through your gutters once you’ve cleaned them up is the best way to ensure there are no blockages.
- Pot saucers, plant pots, wheelbarrows, toys, etc. You will be amazed at how much water a kid’s toy can hold, and any small saucer has the potential to create quite the population for you. 1 teaspoon of water makes for 300 eggs! Remove all the water and then remove the object as well: store your saucers and pots upside down, preferably in a shed or indoor location.
- Store wheelbarrows on their sides and be aware that you are looking for a teaspoon or more– so fence posts without caps, a frisbee, dog bowls, umbrella stands – the list is endless and you will be surprised at the amount of water you find. If you are not spending much time outdoors this time of year, store these items inside away from mosquito visits.
- Tarps and other covers are also pretty sneaky when it comes to collecting rainwater. Pool covers can be a nightmare too – mosquitoes won’t visit chlorinated water, but the water on the top of the cover is a different story.
- Drill holes at the bottom of your trash cans and tire swings etc. If water gets in them, you’ll want to find a way to get it to flow back out. It’s a simple job that can make a world of difference.
- Finally, consider your drainage both above ground and below. If you have a French drain that backs up, remember that you will likely have stagnant water under the ground that you can’t see. The more you control and manage any drainage issues in the yard the better off you will be.
Mosquito Joe will remove and treat all your standing water at each visit. We do this because the majority of mosquito issues stem from these areas. You can help yourself a lot by taking the time to manage all these areas and by keeping on top of falling leaves, etc. The more you do this month the happier you will be, come summer!