Mosquitoes are more than annoying pests. They are small invading armies that strike during your summer fun, transmitting diseases that can be painful, sometimes life-changing and may even cause death. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) tells us there are more than 3,000 distinct species of mosquitoes around the world and 176 species currently taking up residence here in the U.S.
If you’re beginning to notice a mosquito problem around your home, swift action is necessary to eradicate their population and prevent them from returning. Prevention is the best cure for the many issues mosquitoes create.
Here at Pest Pros, we’ve developed this in-depth guide to help you learn more about how to reduce mosquitoes both inside and outside your home. We’ll also cover mosquito control tips to aid you in reducing the mosquito population in and around your house, thereby reducing the risk and annoyance these flying insects pose.
Issues Mosquitoes Can Cause
While mosquitoes are quite bothersome and their bites can cause discomfort, they also carry several serious diseases. These are some of the problems mosquitoes can cause:
Swatting mosquitoes and getting bit while having an outside BBQ on the deck is no fun for you, your family or your friends. Instead of a festive summer get-together, mosquito bites can create an irritable bunch of people.
2. Itchiness and Pain
Almost everyone who receives a mosquito bite experiences some kind of itchiness and pain. That itchiness can linger for days, causing sleepless nights and painful, raw scratched skin.
3. Secondary Infection
If you break the skin when itching your mosquito bite, you can reopen the bite, potentially leading to a secondary infection.
Several diseases associate with mosquitoes, including:
- West Nile virus. This is the most common mosquito-borne virus in the continental U.S., and one of every five people who have the illness develop fever and other symptoms. Approximately one of every 150 people who has contracted the West Nile virus develop serious, sometimes fatal illnesses as a result.
- Zika virus. While Zika virus does not traditionally make its way to the mainland of the U.S., in recent years, there have been some reported cases. Not everyone affected with Zika virus will display symptoms. However, it can lead to serious birth defects when expecting mothers contract Zika during their pregnancies. While you may not have traveled to Florida, the U.S. Caribbean or other parts of the world where Zika could be problematic, it doesn’t mean your neighbors have not. Pregnant women especially should take great care to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.
- La Crosse encephalitis virus (LACV). Primarily occurring in the upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, most people with LACV display no overt symptoms. Those who do become ill often present with headaches, nausea, fevers, vomiting and fatigue. Some will develop severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain that causes seizures, paralysis, coma, long-term disability or death.
- St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV). SLEV mostly occurs in eastern and central states and often presents with no symptoms. Those who do experience symptoms may have fevers, nausea, vomiting, headaches and fatigue. Serious symptoms include inflammation of the brain and may result in long-term disability or death.
- Dengue virus. While dengue is rare in the continental U.S., it’s rampant in Puerto Rico and certain areas in the Pacific islands, Latin America and South America. As many as 400 million worldwide get infected with the dengue virus annually. It’s the leading cause of death in subtropical and tropical areas.
- Chikungunya virus. Joint pain and fever represent the most common symptoms of chikungunya infection, but you can also develop a rash, headache, joint swelling and muscle pain as a result of being bitten by a mosquito with this virus. Starting in 2014, we’ve seen reports of cases of chikungunya virus disease cases among U.S. travelers coming back from affected areas in the Americas, and officials discovered local transmission in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida.
How Do Mosquitoes Get Into Your Home?
With all of the problems mosquitoes can create, you want to try and limit exposure as much as possible. But how can you do that, especially if they are in your house?
Let’s begin with this simple question. “Why are mosquitoes in my house?” Unfortunately, mosquitoes can enter your home quite easily. In fact, many of them fly right inside as you’re walking in the door.
Other ways mosquitoes fly into your home, include:
- Through holes in screen windows and doors.
- When your children hold the door open — or worse, leave the door open.
- Through your garage.
- Via attic screening.
- Riding in on your pets.
Where Can Mosquitoes Breed in the Home?
Once mosquitoes get in your house at night or during the day, it’s seldom difficult for them to find places to breed, feed and thrive inside your home. The best way to control mosquitoes in your home is to eradicate potential breeding grounds. That means eliminating all standing water:
- Do you have a bucket catching water from a leaky pipe in the basement?
- Do your children have a fish bowl?
- Do you root plants in water or have plants that require heavy moisture?
- How often do you empty the drain pan in your humidifier?
These are all locations where mosquitoes breed and can multiply. And, because a mosquito’s life cycle can range from four to 30 days, it’s vital to eliminate their potential breeding grounds both inside and outside of your home.
Eliminating any areas of standing water inside your home is a fantastic way to avoid creating a mosquito breeding ground. Removing outside areas of standing water can also help, too, and we’ll go over how to eliminate standing water around your home later.
Tips to Keep Mosquitoes Outside of Your House
Since mosquitoes can bite and spread disease both inside your home and outside as well, the below tips for keeping mosquitoes away from your home’s interior can help protect you and other members of your household:
- Patch holes in screen windows and doors.
- Eliminate all standing water inside your home.
- Establish rules about opening doors and inside vs. outside time for your children.
- Replace missing screens on windows, especially if family members tend to open them.
- Seal the area around your air conditioner, so there is no space ample enough for mosquitoes to fly through.
- Buy mosquito-repelling plants — like basil, catnip, rosemary, citronella, lavender and marigold — and place them strategically throughout your house, especially in areas where you notice more mosquito activity.
- Call in the professionals, as expert exterminators can eradicate your mosquito problem promptly, safeguarding your health and that of your family.
The last step — calling in mosquito removal experts, like us here at Pest Pros — is by far, the most effective and fastest acting in the process of getting rid of mosquitoes inside your home.
Keeping Mosquitoes Away From Your Yard
The question of how to get rid of mosquitoes outdoors is one that has plagued homeowners, renters and municipalities alike for decades. All you can do is act now to make your outside property as inhospitable as possible for these unwelcome and unwanted invaders.
The faster you begin making your home and yard less welcoming for mosquitoes, the sooner you can start getting your mosquito infestation under control. You can start by eliminating standing water outside and utilizing certain outdoor plants that could repel mosquitoes.
Controlling Mosquitoes at Home by Eliminating Standing Water
Standing water creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In fact, three life cycle stages out of four occur in standing water. It’s only when the mosquito hits the final stage — the adult stage — where it flies away from its water-laden breeding grounds.
It doesn’t require a lot of water to create a significant mosquito problem, either. The below steps will help remove common water hazards outside your home:
- Drill holes in the bottoms of your garbage and recycling containers. This allows liquid to drain from the bottom rather than sitting inside the can and creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Unclog your gutters and make sure your downspouts drain properly. You especially want to make sure they don’t generate puddles where the water comes out of the downspouts.
- Inspect your property routinely for items that allow water to collect. Look for discarded cans and drink cups, children’s toys, pet food bowls and other containers that collect water after a rain.
- Dump items on your lawn that collect water. This includes things you might not think of like birdbaths, saucers beneath potted plants, garbage can lids, wading pools and, again, pet bowls.
- Make sure no one discards items on your property that can collect water. Things such as aluminum cans, old tires, plastic bins or containers and similar items can easily collect enough water to become a mosquito haven.
- Repair leaky outdoor faucets. Even the ground beneath these can become a puddle where mosquitoes breed.
- Empty water collected in tarps and patio umbrellas. Heavy rain can leave small puddles in surprising places. Eliminate them whenever possible. Check your pool covers, too, as they may also have the same problem.
- Store boats, kayaks and canoes upside down. This prevents water from collecting inside.
Getting Rid of Mosquitoes Outdoors With Plants
We’ve mentioned including certain plants inside your home to repel mosquitoes, but you can also add these plants to your outdoor landscaping as well.
How your garden grows, or more precisely, what grows in your garden, can affect how attracted mosquitoes are to your property. Include a variety of herbs and flowering plants in your garden to help to eliminate and prevent new mosquito infestations.
- Lemon balm
- Common lantanas
These plants also produce delightful fragrances, and some can keep your kitchen herb supply fully stocked.
The only truly effective treatment option for eliminating mosquitoes from your property, however, is to call in expert help to inspect your property, identify problem areas and recommend effective methods for treating and eliminating your mosquito infestation promptly.
Keeping Mosquitoes off of You
During the time you’re waiting for the pros to come in and treat your lawn to remove all mosquitoes from your property, take added precautions when going outside. The American Mosquito Control Association recommends using mosquito repellents approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These products pose fewer risks for your health and the health of your family, while providing relief from the onslaught of mosquitoes when you walk outside your home.
Below are the mosquito repellents recommended by the AMCA:
- DEET: N-diethyl-m-toluamide, N
- Oil of Lemon eucalyptus: PMD, 8-diol, p-methane 3
- Picaridin: KBR 3023
If you’re concerned about small children’s exposure to chemicals, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using insect repellents containing 10 to 30 percent DEET on children older than two months of age, but advises against doing so for children younger than two months old. They also recommend picaridin as an alternative to DEET in concentrations of five to 10 percent.
Until you’ve eliminated the mosquito problem, you and your family may want to take extra precautions to avoid being bitten and face the risk of certain illnesses, including:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside the house. Mosquitoes can only bite skin that is exposed.
- Choosing lightly-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb heat, and mosquitoes are attracted to warmth.
- Installing mosquito netting over beds. You especially want to do this for cribs and toddler beds, though anyone in your home who is susceptible to being bitten by mosquitoes may wish to consider this. With the Zika threat encroaching on U.S. soil, pregnant women may wish to consider mosquito netting as well.
- Skipping perfumes and scented body washes. Products like these often attract mosquitoes.
How Pest Pros Can Help With Your Mosquitoes
Mosquito control is not a DIY project. While there are some steps you can take to make your home less susceptible to mosquitoes and protect yourself from getting bitten, as we’ve described above, these steps are not replacements for bringing in professionals to handle the complex task of mosquito eradication.
In fact, ineffective attempts to control your mosquito problem might create prolonged pest management problems that ultimately cost more to solve.
Here at Pest Pros, we offer the following to help you tame your mosquito problem quickly and effectively:
- Free inspections
- Free estimates
- Mosquito spraying
- Green treatment options
- 100 percent biodegradable solutions that are safe for your pets and children.
- Affordable rates
Our Cape Cod Pest Pros mosquito control experts pay special attention to typical problem areas, like downspouts and drains, to address adult mosquitoes and dormant larvae. We apply treatment to the underside of foliage as well to ensure protection against mosquitoes today and to reduce future re-population of mosquitoes in these areas.
We also provide homeowner education, including explaining the warning signs of mosquito infestations and potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes on your property. We have the tools and technology necessary to treat immature mosquitoes as well as adult populations.
All of these services and more, combined with our extensive training and education, means we can help you with all aspects of mosquito prevention, control and eradication.
Contact us today and let us get to work eliminating mosquitoes on your property, and the countless diseases they carry.