Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mosquitoes: Nothing but blood-sucking, disease-spreading nuisances

By Keith Mickler


This recent abundance of rain, warm weather and this being Georgia has sparked all whole hosts of dormant eggs into hatching. By the millions, adult mosquitoes have descended upon Georgians all across the state.


"As long as these mosquitoes keep laying eggs our problem will continue," said Elmer Gray, an entomologist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.


Georgia is home to 63 mosquito species. To control these blood sucking critters, bottom line eliminate the standing water. Water than cannot be eliminated should be treated with larvaecides along with spraying the shrubbery around your homes with an insecticide every 10 to 14 days until the blood sucking critters move out.


Insecticide products that contain the active ingredients such as bifenthrin, malathion, permerthrim, cyhalothrin, and carbaryl will get the job done. Always read the pesticide labeling found on the container. Don't be the next goober head that makes themselves or their family sick and messes up the environment.


Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Limiting exposure during peak mosquito party time is recommended. This most certainly isn't the time to experiment with unproven repellents such as eating garlic or using bug zappers, Gray said. Bug zappers do nothing more than entertain people and kill innocent by standing unsuspecting bugs.


Most homeowners can't do much to control mosquito breeding in wild areas, but they can limit them around the house by diligently getting rid of places where the larvae develop in standing water!!!


Used tires are significant breeding sites. Tires should be recycled and properly disposed of to prevent them from becoming mosquito hotels and condos. Tire dumps should be reported to county officials and removed, so they do not become health and environmental hazard.

Around your yard, any container that holds water should be turned upside down to prevent water collecting or removed completely.

Birdbaths should be cleaned out weekly and refilled with fresh water; this will prevent mosquito development, further more birds don't like mosquito infested nasty water, would you.

To control mosquito breeding, drain or flush the water weekly in wading pools, flowerpot saucers, and other spots where rain and irrigation water can and will collect.

Don't forget to clean rain gutters of leaves so the water does not puddle there. Make sure to fix sagging gutters as well, so water can drain out.

You should also trim shrubbery and eliminate tall grass and weeds where adult mosquitoes hang out like gangsters during the day. Secure window screens, use barrier insecticide sprays on plants and around entryways along with using outdoor foggers will help as well.


Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing helps. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing, the human silhouette and can sense body heat, which helps them, locate you, their next meal. 


The most effective technique for preventing mosquito bites is the proper use of insect repellents, Gray said. He recommends products containing DEET. A product with a 10 percent to 30 percent concentration is good and protects for a few hours. Read the labeling on the container before applying.


Farm ponds, usually stocked with brim, are not a source of mosquitoes. Fish are mosquito predators. However, drainage ponds located in parking lots and other commercial areas are great larval habitats, Gray said.


Mosquitoes are a Serious Health Risk. Mosquitoes can leave behind more than itchy bumps when they bite. They transmit several serious diseases, including Eastern equine encephalitis, LaCrosse encephalitis and West Nile virus and several more in both humans and animals. Make sure your animals are vaccinated.


Be safe, eradicate standing water!!!


Keith Mickler is the County Coordinator and agriculture agent for The University of Georgia/Floyd County Cooperative Extension. Located at 12 East 4th Ave, Rome, GA 30161 (706) 295-6210. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension - Learning for Life. Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth.  An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. To obtain extension publications please visit our web site or contact your county Cooperative Extension office.



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