4 Ways You're Attracting Mosquitoes Without Knowing
Who doesn’t love summer? Warm weather, longer days, more time spent outside -- what’s not to love? The answer to that is unfortunately mosquitoes. Here in Florida, mosquitoes can be relentless, often pushing homeowners indoors to avoid itchy bites.
Mosquitoes aren’t only annoying - they’re pretty dangerous, too. Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest animals in the world, causing more than 750,000 deaths and transmitting diseases like Malaria, Zika Virus, and West Nile to humans. What’s more, they can transmit diseases to our pets too -- like heartworm. While the most common spiders in Florida do a good job of reducing mosquito populations, these pests are a very real threat, especially to homeowners that want to enjoy their yards. So, what’s a person to do?
With the Zika Virus being in the news for the last year or so, mosquito prevention has become a bigger conversation than ever before. We need to be more vigilant than ever in the fight against these pesky insects. So, where do you start? There are a million things you can do to deter mosquitoes from biting you. But first - let’s talk about the most common ways you are attracting them without even knowing.
What Attracts Mosquitoes to Your Yard?
The most common things attracting mosquitoes to your yard are:
Mistake #1: Not Maintaining Your Lawn
Because grass provides a great cover from the heat of the sun and protection from wind that can blow them away, mosquitoes like to rest in tall grass. When you don’t mow your lawn, you’re giving mosquitoes a perfect place to hang out and breed. The shorter the lawn and vegetation, the less opportunity for them to hide out. Most homeowners like to maintain a nice lawn for aesthetic purposes, but more importantly, you should do it for mosquito prevention. Luckily, this is an easily avoidable problem. Here are some tips to make sure your lawn is in check this summer:
Mow your lawn often to reduce shade and wind protection provided by tall grass.
Cut back thick vegetation to discourage mosquitoes from nesting.
Clear debris that provide additional cover for mosquitoes such as grass clippings, leaf piles and collections of sticks and branches.
Mistake #2: Having Standing Water
Did you know 75% of a mosquito’s life cycle is spent in standing water? This is where mosquitoes can breed and multiply - making them a never ending problem for homeowners. Standing water would be considered a pool of freshwater of any size that does not flow. In order for mosquitoes to breed, they need water-- BUT, they don’t need much of it! So, you may be thinking, “I don’t live near a body of water, and I don’t have a pool. Where could they be breeding?” We’ll tell you: they can lay eggs in as little as the film of water at the bottom of a toothbrush holder. Or standing water the size of a water bottle cap. Yes, that little amount of water can be enough for them to breed!
With each generation of mosquito coming every 7 to 10 days, the absolute best way to keep mosquitoes from nesting around your home is the removal of all standing water. This is the #1 tip in mosquito prevention that you will hear over and over again, for good reason. To rid your yard of the most common sources of standing water, be sure to:
Check that all gutters around your home are clear and repair any that are broken.
Cover any children’s toys like wagons and sandboxes that could potentially hold water or rainfall.
Overturn any large containers or wheelbarrows in your yard or put them inside a garage or shed.
Remove any birdbaths. We know this is a staple for many homeowners, but you’re inviting mosquitoes into your yard!
Bring in pet bowls, cups and bottles of water when not in use. Only bring them out when your pet is going to use them.
If eliminating standing water isn’t possible for you, consider a professional mosquito treatment. This will help control the population in your yard, despite the water. A mosquito control professional like us will also be able to inspect your yard and identify possible sources that you might not be aware of (i.e. leaky pipes, broken gutters, etc.)
Mistake #3: Wearing Improper Clothing
When it’s light out, mosquitoes primarily use eyesight to find their victims to feed on. They search for food by looking for colors that stand out against the horizon. The darker the clothing (especially pants), the easier a target is to spot against the bright blue of the sky and green color of the grass. Once a mosquito has found a potential food source, it will bite--even through clothing. The looser-woven the fabric, the easier it is for a mosquito to penetrate. Breathable textiles like cotton are the easiest for mosquitoes to puncture. When deciding what clothing to wear outside in the mosquito months, remember:
Wear lighter colored clothing so that mosquitoes have a harder time finding you or your loved ones in the daytime.
Tightly woven fabrics are best at protecting you from bites. Garments made from athletic material or that offer sun protection have been proven to be the most effective.
Wear clothes that cover your skin. This usually isn’t ideal in the summer months, but the more you cover your skin, the harder it is for mosquitoes to get to it.
Mistake #4: Being Active During Peak Hours
Even just a slight breeze can make it incredibly difficult for mosquitoes to fly. When the sun is rising and setting, there is less chance of a breeze, making it an ideal time for mosquitoes to fly freely. To avoid wind, mosquitoes are the most likely to be active in the early morning and late evening--aka breakfast and dinner time. During these periods of the day, mosquitoes use their sense of smell to search for sources of carbon dioxide (the more CO2, the better the meal in the mind of a mosquito) and sweat. Your body produces more carbon dioxide and sweat whenever your heart rate increases, whether it be from exercise or consumption of spicy foods and alcohol. In order to reduce mosquitoes’ attraction to you and your home, you can:
Avoid cardio exercises in your yard around dawn and dusk to prevent welcoming mosquitoes during their peak feeding hours.
Enjoy your meals inside your home. Even if you aren’t partaking in spicy foods or alcohol, being outside during this time of the day increases your chances of being bit by mosquitoes.
Set up oscillating fans if you do want to be outside during this time. We understand people like to eat breakfast and dinner outside, so if you are determined to do this, simply set up fans in your yard. Mosquitoes can’t fly with breezes around, so this should help deter them.
Get $25 Off a Mosquito Treatment
Even with all of these tips, mosquito prevention in Florida can still be extremely hard without a professional treatment. If you’re looking for a more surefire way to eliminate mosquitoes in your yard, you can try one of our mosquito treatments today and get $25 off. We control mosquitoes by employing monthly, recurring treatments during the spring, summer, and fall, targeting areas where they breed.