With the heavy rains our area experienced recently, mosquito activity will rise. Rain-filled breeding sites will allow larvae to mature and emerge as adults. The recent media coverage about Chikungunya virus has sent many people into a frenzy buying all sorts of traps and repellent devices for “controlling” mosquitoes.
According to Mike Waldvogel, Cooperative Extension entomology specialist, there are a lot of products and homemade remedies being pushed as the fix to mosquito problems. Now is a good time to remind everyone of that well-worn adage, “If it sounds too good to be true …”
Consumers need to be smart and read product packaging before purchasing one of these kinds of products. Personal protection in the form of repellents is strongly recommended, but be sure to use a product with proven efficacy and use it according to the product label.
A list of common products can be located at: http://insects.ncsu.edu/Urban/repellents.htm. As far as using repellent, remember that they keep mosquitoes from biting you but they do not do anything to get rid of mosquitoes.
Think about mosquito repellents like a highway detour. You exit the highway, grumble a lot about it in the process, but inevitably you get to your destination and you may have actually found some place to stop and eat during the detour.
So, while wearing a repellent keeps you from getting bitten, the mosquito will likely detour and feed on someone else (or some other animal such as a bird, squirrel, etc.) and then lay eggs in some source of standing water.
This comes back to the same list of suggestions about mosquito management: get rid of standing water wherever possible, be careful when treating mosquito resting/landing sites on foliage, lawns, etc., particularly when plants are in bloom and bees are out there visiting flowers, and when using outdoor area foggers, avoid chemical drift.
Remove (or at least cover) food prep equipment such as grills, as well as children’s toys (and the children) along with your pets and their food/water bowls. Do not allow chemical to drift onto other people’s property.
Be smart about mosquitoes. Be proactive, and be safe.