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Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension Service

Mosquito Prevention and Control

Charles Lillard
Extension Master Gardener

OSU Extension Center

2500 NE 63rd

OKC, OK  73111

405-713-1125

 

MOSQUITO PREVENTION and CONTROL

 

There is nothing as irritating as trying to enjoy your garden and having a mosquito buzzing in your ear.  Mosquitoes can make life miserable.  Recreational and work activities have been ruined by the constant annoyance and irritation caused by their presence.  Also, some species can transmit serious diseases.  They spread diseases such as malaria, Zika, West Nile virus, and heartworms in dogs.

All mosquitoes pass through four life stages:  egg, larva, pupa, and adult.  The number of days from egg to adult varies with species and temperature.  Adult males generally live only 6 to 7 days.  Females live about a month.  The males live strictly on plant nectar.  It is the female that wants blood.  The blood enables them to lay eggs.  They are drawn to anything that has breath.

Personal Protection

One way to protect yourself from mosquito bites would be to stay inside.  That solution is not always possible or preferable.  Long sleeved shirts and long pants help, but mosquito bites still occur through thin clothing and exposed skin.  Research tells us they are drawn more toward dark colors such as black, dark blue, and red.  Topically applied mosquito repellents will help prevent bites.  The most effective mosquito repellents contain the active ingredient diethyl toluamide (DEET).  The higher the percentage of DEET in the product, the longer the protection lasts.  Young children should use low percentage formulations.  Be sure to follow label directions.

 

Exclusion

Screened porches would do the trick.  Also, mosquito populations can be reduced by the removal of tall weeds, and overgrowth.  To further reduce biting, mosquito insecticides can be applied to the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs, and other shaded areas.  Pyrethroid insecticides are effective but will need to be reapplied periodically.  A hose-end sprayer is usually most effective and convenient.  Bayer Advanced Power Force Mosquito Killer comes ready to use and connects to a garden hose.  Ortho Mosquito B Gone and Spectracide Mosquito Stop is a concentrate and will also connect to a garden hose.

 

Other Control Claims

Many consumer products claim to attract, repel or kill mosquitoes.  Most of these devices do not appreciably reduce mosquito populations.  Bug zappers have been shown relatively ineffective.  Studies show that mosquitoes make up only a tiny percentage of the insects captured in such devices. 

Electronic Repellers have been tested and shown to do little in the way of reducing mosquito annoyance.  Citrosa Plants did not reduce the number of bites received by test subjects.  Purple Martins are a beautiful bird and there are many reasons to attract them to your yard.  However, most ornithologists realize that mosquitoes form an insignificant portion of the Purple Martin diet. 

 

 

 

Larva Control

Perhaps the most effective way to limit mosquito population is larva control.  Standing water should be reduced to a minimum.  Clean up any containers around your home such as cans or tires.  Drain or fill low areas.  Maintain culverts and guttering.  Eliminating standing water in heavily shaded areas is important.  The use of mosquito larvicide could be used on standing water that cannot be eliminated.  Most larvicides sold to homeowners contain either the active ingredient methoprene or a toxin produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti).    Methoprene prevents adult emergence by disrupting the development of mosquito larvae.  Neither methoprene nor Bti toxin is harmful to fish, waterfown, pets, or humans when used according to label directions.  These products can be found in dunks or grandules.

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