While most people welcome the warm, sunny weather of summer, there is one thing about this season that Bucks County residents dislike. That is because this is the season when mosquito activity peaks. Able to deliver a multitude of irritating, itchy bites, it is easy to see why mosquitoes are such an unpopular pest.
In fact, mosquitoes can become such a problem that people are discouraged from spending time outside. This is true both during the daytime and around twilight because species such as the Asian tiger mosquito and the northern house mosquito are active during different hours of the day. Accordingly, it can be uncomfortable to spend time outside regardless of the hour.
Getting rid of a mosquito infestation can be tricky, and it may be necessary to employ several different methods to address the problem. This means that it generally is wise to contact a pest management professional to end the infestation.
Asian tiger mosquitoes, or forest mosquitoes, are only one-eighth of an inch long, and they have narrow, segmented bodies. A bright white stripe adorns the back and head of this species. This, along with the black and white stripes on their legs and body, give the Asian tiger mosquito its name.
The northern house mosquito, or common house mosquito, is a bit larger at one-quarter of an inch in length. Their bodies typically are light or golden brown, and the abdomen displays paler bands.
The mosquito's main requirement for survival is water. Stagnant water is preferred because this provides the perfect habitat for nurturing mosquito larvae. It is not necessary for the body of standing water to be large like a lake, pond or even a puddle. Instead, even a very small amount of still water that has collected in an upside-down lid, an empty planter pot or a disused tire will provide plenty of space for females to lay hundreds of eggs.
Both the Asian tiger mosquito and the northern house mosquito originated in much hotter climates than are typical in Bucks County. Nonetheless, these highly adaptable species have had no difficulty surviving and thriving here. Scientists believe that this partially is due to the overall warming of the global climate.
Because mosquitoes must have access to standing water in order to survive and propagate, it is essential that all standing water be eliminated from a property if there is to be any hope of ending an infestation.
Mosquitoes generally prefer to eat sweet substances. These most frequently include nectar, the honeydew that aphids secrete and a variety of plant juices. Accordingly, it is not unusual to see mosquitoes displaying interest in human foods like soda, juice, fruit, vegetables, desserts, baked goods and condiments.
Female mosquitoes additionally must obtain blood meals so that they can lay eggs. The most common species in this region seek such meals during different times of day. While Asian tiger mosquitoes tend to seek blood meals during the day, northern house mosquitoes are more likely to engage in this activity during the hours around twilight.
With two different species of mosquitoes common in Bucks County, it is possible to be harassed by mosquitoes at almost any hour. Such encounters most frequently occur during the summer, though they begin with the first warm weather of the spring and continue through the first cooling days of the fall.
On a property where mosquitoes are particularly numerous, it can feel like it is impossible to escape their bites. To the female mosquito, these meals are essential as they make it possible for a single individual to lay as many as 3,000 eggs in a two-week period. As they repeat this cycle several times throughout the season, it becomes clear who quickly and easily an infestation can expand.
PROBLEMS WITH MOSQUITOES
While mosquitoes do not damage or destroy property the way that other pests do, they remain a troubling problem. This is mainly because of the female mosquito's endless quest for blood meals. When an infestation is particularly large and of long-standing, it is not unusual for people to suffer dozens of bites over the course of the summer. These bites can be incredibly itchy and annoying.
The itchiness is caused by an anticoagulant that is found in the mosquito's saliva. A female mosquito inserts their straw-like proboscis into the victim's skin. The saliva containing the anticoagulant is disbursed into the victim's blood stream. At the same time, the mosquito begins withdrawing the blood meal that she requires. The human body's natural immune response to the saliva is what causes the extreme itchiness. While some people have little reaction to a bite, others experience a severe reaction.
Mosquito bites can represent far worse symptoms than itchiness. In fact, mosquitoes are infamous around the world for the propensity to spread serious diseases.
One of these is the West Nile virus. Symptoms such as fever, loss of vision, headache, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis are common with this disease. Anyone who begins to experience these symptoms after a mosquito bite is encouraged to seek medical attention.
Zika virus is another danger that is associated with mosquito bites. This disease carries with it symptoms such as rash, all over itching, fever, headache, joint pain, pain in the muscles, redness in the eyes, pain behind the eyes and lower back pain. Once again, medical intervention may be critical for treating this virus.
Additionally, mosquitoes may carry and transmit dengue fever with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, rash, diarrhea and overall achiness or Saint Louis encephalitis, which involves symptoms such as tiredness, nausea, vomiting, headache and fever.
People with pets are cautioned to consider that mosquitoes are responsible to spreading heartworms.
SIGNS OF A MOSQUITO INFESTATION
Mosquito control may be necessary based on these signs:
• Even small amounts of standing water are present
• Mosquito bites are common
• Food served outdoors attracts a number of mosquitoes
• Mosquitoes frequently are found indoors
The following tips can help prevent problems with mosquitoes:
• Eliminate all standing water from the property
• Frequently clean and change the water in bird baths and pet water dishes
• Keep downspouts and gutters clear
• Place screens on all windows and doors
• Keep water moving in water features, ponds and pools
• Ensure that water used in water features, ponds and pools is properly treated
• Backfill any low-lying portions of the property to eliminate water accumulation
Getting rid of a mosquito infestation typically integrates several treatment methods. Because mosquitoes thrive in multiple places and various conditions, it is critical that all of these situations are addressed. Additionally, it is impossible to control what nearby neighbors do on their property.
For these reasons it is rarely possible for the average home or business owner to eradicate a mosquito infestation on their own. Instead, it is advisable to seek out a pest control professional.
At Safeguard, our trained technicians have the knowledge and equipment necessary to provide reliable mosquito control.
Our staff of certified technicians will administer treatment in a 100-foot radius of the exterior of the structure. Attention will also be focused on potential resting and breeding areas. These include:
• High moisture content areas
• Bushes and hedges
• Areas where constant shade is found
• Around decks and patios
• Trees in close proximity of roofs and structures