All posts by Mosquito Joe

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House

A lot of the inquiries we receive come from folks who have issues both inside and outside the home with mosquitoes. We wanted to help clarify some of the misunderstandings we often hear regarding mosquitoes in the house.

Firstly, contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not want to be inside.  They want warm, wet soil and plant life to feed from. Certainly, mosquitoes can gather by your doorways, seeking shade from the sun under the eaves of your home. But they typically make their way inside by mistake – the force of the air movement and suction when a door opens can pull them inside. Mosquitoes are not good fliers at all, and given their size and body weight, even a light breeze can disrupt their flight.

brick wall with lightOnce inside mosquitoes are facing a very short life span. Without food (plant nectar from the underside of leaves) and water, they won’t survive long. They will congregate by windows to try and get back outside. To help alleviate the issues of mosquitoes inside you should control the numbers outside (we have provided some easy-to-follow steps to do this in several of our previous blog posts, but the less water in your yard the better off you are.) The other thing you can do to help is to avoid having your outside lights on at night – these will draw mosquitoes and other insects up to the house and make the situation worse. This includes bug zappers which only serve to draw mosquitoes close by but won’t kill them (mosquitoes won’t fly into the light but instead start looking for CO2 plumes.) Hanging mosquito traps near the house is also a bad plan. You draw mosquitoes in from the yards around you, and then get bitten when the mosquito opts for you over a trap (mosquitoes seek you out both via CO2 plumes and by heat.)

sink drainSpeaking of other insects, the majority of the time that we receive calls for mosquitoes inside the house they are not mosquitoes at all. They are, instead, lake flies or “biting midges.” These guys look very similar to a mosquito, maybe just a tad smaller, and bite the same way. What’s interesting about them is that they are often found in bathrooms and the customer assumes they came in through an open door. The truth is they mostly come in through your drains. The sludge that builds up in your u-bends makes for the perfect home for them to lay eggs.

There is a super simple way to prevent this issue, and we recommend to every customer that they do this twice a year. Simply pour an eighth of a gallon of bleach into each drain and then flush with hot water for 5 minutes.  The bleach helps break up the sludge and the hot water will flush the drains out. In bathrooms that are rarely used, such as a guest bath, close the drains where you can. Within a few days you will see a dramatic improvement. Of course, if you need help reducing the population of mosquitoes and biting midges outside you can reach us 281-815-0228. We provide our quotes at no charge and there are never any contracts with us.

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How to control mosquitoes after a hurricane

Ahhh August…incredibly hot, incredibly humid and the most active month of the year for hurricanes. It won’t be long until the kids go back to school and just a few more months before the weather cools, but for now we are in the thick of things.

truck driving in floodHurricane season is a stressful time here at Mosquito Joe. Obviously, it is a stressful time for everyone as we worry about damage to property and flooding impacts in the area and to our property. However, we have some additional stressors that can impact us at the office. We don’t treat when it is raining, so weather this time of year can really impact our ability to keep everyone on track. Beyond that, the results of the rains and flooding has a massive impact on the mosquito population. Water washes into properties we treat, bringing with it mosquito eggs that begin a whole new life cycle in a yard where we recently had control. The quantity of rain itself will increase the population of mosquitoes tenfold. All the water left behind will continue to increase this population if we don’t take action.

flooded benchWe all have a plan in place in the case of a weather disaster. Many of us have a stock of beans and rice, a battery powered radio, a collection of water bottles, etc. And while we all head out to help neighbors remove fallen trees or assist stranded cars, we don’t often think of the impact of the weather on mosquitoes.  From a health standpoint, controlling the mosquito population is important.  The county will often send out trucks to spray and reduce the numbers, but since this spray is only done on the streets, hitting some of the culverts, it won’t impact what is going on in your backyard.

We would like to suggest that you also implement a simple, but important, mosquito reduction plan after the weather that will make a huge difference in your backyard:

  1. Clear out your gutters – any debris that has fallen in will mean water will get trapped up there, breeding mosquitoes for you.
  2. Rake up fallen leaves and pine needles. They act to keep the ground wet and prevent everything from drying out.
  3. Along the same lines, as soon as you are able, mow the yard. This again will help dry out the ground and rid you of standing water.
  4. Empty out every container in the yard of water. Just a teaspoon (a capful from a bottle of water) will breed 300 mosquitoes every few days, so even the small amounts you might not notice (saucers under plant pots) will increase the population. Turn pots and containers upside down, remove kids’ toys (it’s amazing how much water they hold after a rain), and make sure you are not missing those small places that mosquitoes won’t. Don’t forget any tarps in the yard either!

blowing treeIt doesn’t sound like much, but the impact of these 4 steps can reduce your mosquito population substantially and really make things more manageable in your yard.  We highly encourage everyone to make this plan a part of your “post storm” routine.

 

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What Temperatures Kill Mosquitoes?

After the Snowpocalypse of 2021, a lot of our customers were surprised to find that it had little impact on the mosquito population. We pointed out to them that Alaska has a horrible mosquito issue, and they don’t exactly have a warm winter. The fact is that, while some mosquitoes will die, the majority will simply slow down and become lethargic, seek shelter and then hibernate. Once the temperatures hit 55 degrees hibernation is over, mosquito eggs begin to hatch, and life begins anew.

runner-drinkingBut this does beg the question, particularly while we are in the midst of a Texas summer, what impact does the heat have on mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are cold-blooded. This means that they are unable to regulate their body temperature and are impacted by the temperatures around them. Their ideal temperature is 80 degrees, and they will shelter from the sun during the day, appearing in high numbers at dawn and dusk when it is cooler. Some species, such as the Asian Tiger mosquito, will be out during the day, but for the most part, they want shade and cool. Prolonged exposure to the sun will cause dehydration and they obviously want to avoid that.

It is possible to reach a temperature where mosquitoes do dehydrate and die, but sadly not here in the Houston area. What saves the mosquito frompalm tree being impacted by our high temperatures is our humidity. Unlike the dry dessert, where mosquitoes fail to thrive, here the combination of summer storms and high humidity means that mosquitoes are not affected by the temperatures. In fact, our weather provides an excellent environment for them. We have some species of mosquitoes that only become active in the fall and cooler months, so sadly not only does our weather encourage mosquito breeding, but we never have a time of year without them (except our week of the Snowpocalypse!)

Luckily, Mosquito Joe is ready to make outside fun again with our outdoor pest control services! Fill out a form or give us a call for a free quote today!

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What is Mosquito Control Awareness Week?

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

The last week of June every year is Mosquito Control Awareness Week (MCAW).  Some folks we talk to are surprised that there exists a week devoted to the mosquito, but if we can devote a week to sharks – who are responsible for a very, very small number of deaths, then we should certainly devote a week to the deadliest animal on the planet.

The concept of MCAW is just as its name describes, to bring awareness not only to the mosquito and the diseases they carry but to what we can do to reduce the population where we live.

Mosquitoes carry EEE, West Nile, Malaria, Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya Virus. Transmission occurs once the mosquito bites, sharing saliva and potential blood particles, transferred from the last bite they took. There is no evidence that Covid can be transferred through a mosquito.

Mosquito Joe works with Nothing But Nets every year, donating a portion of its’ revenue to the organization, who supplies pesticide-treated mosquito nets to families in sub-Sahara Africa where Malaria is rampant. Closer to home, we work hard to educate whenever we can to help spread the word about some simple things you can do to keep the population down. We have a lot of information in our blogs about mosquitoes, what you can do yourself, how to best deal with bites, how to look for trouble spots, and more.

mosquito joe awareness week

The biggest takeaway for mosquitoes should be water, water, water. Water is where they lay their eggs, where the eggs hatch into larvae, and where the larvae grow into adults. The less water you have, the fewer mosquitoes.  Remember, one teaspoon of water will give you 300 eggs. And with a life cycle of 3-5 days, those 300 can multiply into the millions in less than a month. So, tip and toss and dump that water every time it rains. Keep your gutters running clear and your fallen leaves and pine needles picked up.  Flush out your French drains and keep tarps and kids’ toys stored inside and away from the rain. Rinse out your birdbaths and scrub the sides when you do – eggs cling to the bowl and if you don’t scrub you’ve simply refreshed their water. And a HUGE issue we see all the time, especially after this last winter weather, your septic tank lids. If they are cracked or warped replace them and where possible, screw them down.  You would not believe the mosquitoes that can reproduce in those tanks.

Finally, and we apologize in advance for this, we will leave you with this most epic of videos.

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Why Do Mosquitoes Need Blood?

One of the questions we hear a lot is, “why do mosquitoes need blood anyway?” When you really sit down and think about it, this is a really good question. We thought we would tackle it here and provide some answers.

Male mosquitoes are vegetarians/vegans and only feed on plant nectar. That’s why they spend most of their time, when the sun is out, under leaves: shading and feeding. Female mosquitoes also feed off plant nectar (and shade from the sun), but when they are preparing to lay eggs, they need more nutrients. For example, iron is required for optimal egg development and viable offspring and protein are required to build strong eggs.

mosquitosSome studies have been conducted to try and determine what attracts a female mosquito to one person over another. We often hear customers who complain that they always get bitten while their spouse does not. Studies have shown that O type blood is the preference for a female. They also tend to opt for folks who are sweating or have a higher body temperature from heat or exercise, or in the case of mowing the lawn, both. This is most likely due to the fact that the higher the temperature the easier you are to see for a mosquito as they see your heat. The more you are working out the more CO2 you are expelling, again, making it easier for them to smell you through their olfactory sensors that seek out CO2. This is why pregnant women are more apt to get bitten (they expel more CO2).

When a female mosquito bites she uses her proboscis that is composed of six needle-like parts. You can check out an awesome video of this process here to see how they do this. They gently perforate the skin with one of the 6 sharp needlelike parts of the proboscis. They inject saliva into our bloodstream to stop our blood from coagulating, the result of that is also what causes the itchy raised welt that we all know and hate. They then suck up the blood through a straw-type section of the proboscis.worlds deadliest animals graph

Mosquitoes spread diseases like West Nile, EEE, and Malaria through these mouthparts which is what makes them the most dangerous.

So, it’s a simple answer for a very complex process that has enabled mosquitoes to survive, multiply and maintain their reputation as the worlds’ deadliest animal.

Control the mosquito population in your yard with one of our mosquito control options – give us a call or fill out the form to the right for a free quote.

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