Protecting Residents from Mosquitoes
Don’t let mosquitoes cause disruptions for your residents and their pets.
Once thought of as merely a backyard pest, mosquitoes have become a serious public health threat in recent years. The warmer months are a prime time for the insects to disrupt outdoor events and turn summer evenings into itchy, scratchy affairs.
According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism. More than one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases every year.
Mosquitoes are also threats to pets and horses because of the diseases and parasites they transmit, including dog heartworm, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Simply, mosquitoes are double jeopardy for apartment residents and their pets.
Mosquito awareness has heightened
However, recent concerns over mosquitoes have heightened awareness and promoted education. Mosquito populations can be controlled to minimize their impact, especially in the early morning and evening when they are most active.
Mosquito control technology has advanced, to the point that irrigation systems can be effective in wiping out insects.
AMCA says an efficient way to control mosquitoes and other pests is to find and eliminate their larval habitat. Eliminating large larval development sites such as swamps or sluggishly moving streams or ditches may require community-wide effort, but smaller areas where mosquitoes breed that are common on apartment properties can be controlled without an army.
Ways to control mosquito populations
Multifamily operators can take the following steps recommended by AMCA to prevent mosquito breeding on their own property:
- Destroy or dispose of containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots or in pet dishes for more than two days.
- Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.
- Change the water in birdbaths and stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows. Known as mosquito fish, these minnows are about an inch-and-a-half long and can be purchased or native fish can be seined from streams and creeks locally.
- Treat ornamental pools with biorational larvicides under certain circumstances. Commercial products “Mosquito Dunks” and “Mosquito Bits” can be purchased at many hardware/garden stores. Pre-Strike Mosquito Torpedo that kills developing mosquitoes using insect growth regulator technology is available at many home/garden and pet specialty stores.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar. These areas may be treated with Bti or methoprene products, also.
- Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarp to drain the water.
- Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days. If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes.
Did you know these things about mosquitoes?
The American Mosquito Control Association shares these facts:
- Mosquitoes are known from as far back as the Triassic Period – 400 million years ago. They are known from North America from the Cretaceous – 100 million years ago.
- There are about 2,700 species of mosquito. There are 176 species in the United States.
- The average mosquito weighs about 2.5 milligrams.
- The average mosquito takes in about 5-millionths of a liter of blood during feeding.
- Mosquitoes find hosts by sight (they observe movement); by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies; and by chemical signals (mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, among other chemicals) at distances of 25 to 35 meters.
- Mosquitoes fly an estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
- Salt marsh mosquitoes can migrate up to 40 miles for a meal.
- Bigger people are often more attractive to mosquitoes because they are larger targets and they produce more mosquito attractants, namely CO2 and lactic acid.
- Active or fidgety people also produce more CO2 and lactic acid.
- Smelly feet are attractive to certain species of mosquitoes – as is Limburger Cheese.
- Dark clothing has been shown to attract some species of mosquitoes more than lighter colored clothing.
- Movement increased mosquito biting up to 50 percent in some research tests.
- A full moon increased mosquito activity 500 percent in one study