One of the best-known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil. There are about 170 different kinds of mosquito species in North America alone.
Mosquitoes hunt for food by detecting body heat and the carbon dioxide humans exhale. However, only female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars.
Mosquitoes can breed in any form of stagnant water, including ponds, marshes, floodwaters, storm drains, old tires and water in tree holes.
Mosquitoes are vectors of numerous diseases including malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, encephalitis and West Nile virus – a disease that has become a serious concern in the U.S. in recent years. Signs of West Nile virus include common flu-like symptoms. In extreme cases, symptoms include high fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma. Practicing mosquito management when outdoors can help reduce the risk of disease from bites.
Mosquito control begins with eliminating areas of standing water around the property such as flowerpots, birdbaths, grill covers and baby pools. Homeowners should also screen all window and doors, repairing even the smallest hole. Another mosquito management tip is to minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. For stronger mosquito treatment, people should use an insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin and wear long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites when outdoors.