Philadelphia Mosquito Protection
When is Mosquito Season?
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitoes – until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin that is a sure sign of a mosquito bite. While mosquito season is usually associated with the hotter summer months, it actually begins much earlier.
Quick-fix mosquito solutions that only last a few weeks won’t get the job done. Any mosquito control program you choose needs to be implemented on a long-term basis in order to provide effective, lasting protection throughout the mosquito season.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Mosquito Season?
There’s no doubt that mosquitoes are an annoyance. There’s nothing like a swarm of pesky mosquitoes to ruin a fun evening on the deck or patio with your family, or to send your barbecue guests running for cover. But some of the 176 known mosquito species in the United States can also pose a health hazard to people and animals.
Examples of potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases include eastern equine encephalitis, Zika Virus and West Nile virus, which in severe cases can result in brain damage and even death. In 2014, the first cases of an affliction known as chikungunya — which can cause fever, rash, severe joint pain and other painful symptoms.
When Does Mosquito Season Start?
Depending on the species, some mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and re-emerge when the weather begins to get warmer, while others hatch from previously laid eggs in the spring. The temperature plays a key factor in determining the actual start of the mosquito season.
Generally, mosquito activity will begin when the temperature reaches the 50° F level. Mosquitoes thrive on hot weather. Thus, as the temperature begins to rise, the mosquito volume increases accordingly. The mosquito season reaches its peak during the hot summer months.
When Does Mosquito Season End?
When is mosquito season over? Again, the temperature plays an important factor. As the weather begins to cool, you’ll likely notice a decrease in the level of mosquito activity on your property. Non-hibernating mosquitoes will begin to die off as the temperature approaches the 50° F mark, while the hibernating species will start to seek winter refuge in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows and other convenient hiding spots.
The first frost is usually a reliable sign of the end of mosquito season. However, it’s possible that some hibernating mosquitoes will emerge during unexpected warm spells during winter, only to return to their hiding places when the temperature drops.
Prepare Before Mosquito Season Arrives
Many property owners wait until they see a swarm of mosquitoes – or until they have been bitten – to begin the mosquito control process. However, by this time, infestation has probably already occurred. The actual preparation for mosquito season should begin much earlier, before the mosquitoes have had the chance to promulgate.
Remember, as the weather warms, the mosquito breeding cycle time shortens, which ultimately results in an increase in the number of mosquitoes on your property. This means you’ll want to get started while the weather is chilly – before the temperature consistently reaches that magical 50° F plateau.
Start by Mosquito-Proofing Your Property
It’s never too early to begin the process of creating a mosquito-proof property. Take steps to make your yard less inviting to mosquitoes, and make sure they don’t have easy access to the inside of your home:
Remove any objects that collect water — Take an inventory of your yard and remove anything that could hold standing water, since these objects can serve as primary mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of water for depositing their eggs, so don’t overlook any potential water collection vessel. Flower pots, birdfeeders, old tires, wheelbarrows, and buckets are just a few examples of favorite mosquito habitats.
Clean clogged gutters – Gutters tend to become clogged with leaves and other debris during the course of a long winter. Flooded roof gutters and clogged drainage systems create standing water that attracts mosquitoes in droves. It will be worth your time to get the ladder out on the first relatively warm day (after all the snow and ice has melted) and give your gutters a good cleaning.
Fill in low-lying areas – Ditches and other low-lying areas also collect standing water after a rainfall. After the snow melts, survey your property for these potential trouble spots and fill them in wherever possible.
Fill in hollow logs – By filling in or removing any hollow logs on your property, you’ll eliminate another standing water source while also removing a potential habitat for hibernating mosquitoes in the winters to come.
Repair damaged or ineffective window screens – Repair your window screens before you install them for the warmer weather. Tiny mosquitoes can find their way into your home through the smallest tear in your screens. Consider replacing worn screens or ones with openings that are too large to keep mosquitoes out. A 16-18 mesh is the recommended size for pest control purposes. If you have a screened-in deck, porch or patio, check the screen condition on this as well.
Repair cracks and leaks – Cracks in your home’s foundation and exterior walls can provide easy entry for mosquitoes, so be sure to seal any that you find. Also repair any leaks that could create pools of water.
Install bug lights – Installing yellow outdoor bug lights won’t necessarily keep mosquitoes away, but it will make your property somewhat less attractive during the nighttime hours.