How To Fight Back Against Mosquitoes

As general Sun Tzu famously put it, in order to fight effectively one must “know thy enemy”. This classic bit of advice from ancient times is still relevant today. If we are to defeat the hoards of invading mosquitoes, we must first know what we are up against

"Aedes aegypti biting human" by Original author: US Department of Agriculture; then denoised rescaled, enhanced with adaptive denoising filters and minimal resharpening, then unscaled to original resolution, for easier refitting at various resolutions. - Picture from the USDA website at Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

What are the health risks posed by mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are considered a vector for disease. This means they can pick up diseases from other mammals, carry disease, and spread it to humans. In some parts of the world mosquito borne illness is the cause of untold death and suffering. Fortunately here in New York we do not have the climate or the specific types of mosquitoes that transmit such diseases. We do, however, have some mosquito borne illnesses which can still be dangerous.

  • The West Nile Virus is one such disease. It is passed between certain bird species and mosquitoes. Infected mosquitoes can transmit the disease to humans by feeding on their blood. Although most cases of West Nile Virus infection are not very severe or life threatening, the virus can be deadly when it affects very young children, the elderly, or people with compromised immune systems.
  • Tiger Mosquitoes, which are black and white in color and get their name from their striped pattern, are new to the list of the over 20 mosquito species found on Long Island. Originally from Asia where they are detested for their role in spreading Yellow Fever, Tiger Mosquitoes are more aggressive feeders than the others and will bite during the day. According to the estimates of local entomologists, the population of this new invasive Tiger Mosquito species has skyrocketed in recent years. Tiger Mosquito populations increased 220% across Nassau and Suffolk counties between 2010 and 2012. They now account for almost 15% of the local mosquito population, which is nearly double what their population was only a few years ago. Since Tiger Mosquitoes also feed on birds, they are one of the types of mosquitoes that can spread the West Nile Virus.
  • The Chikungunya virus (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is the latest addition on our local mosquito problem, This virus was first brought over to the US by tourists returning from the Caribbean. It is expected by the CDC to quickly become established in the United States, just as the West Nile Virus did over a decade ago. Although rarely fatal, the Chikungunya virus causes an assortment of health problems such as headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
  • Allergies- although we all react to mosquito bites, some people are severely allergic and may experience symptoms similar to someone with a bee allergy being stung.

What Can Be Done About It?

In order to combat mosquito populations, it is important to understand how mosquitoes reproduce and spread. Mosquitoes breed in standing or “still” water. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a quarter of an inch of water. The eggs can hatch in 24 hours. The entire life cycle from egg to adult occurs in as little as 7 to 10 days. One single source of still water can produce enough mosquitoes to affect the entire neighborhood and noticeablly increase their population.

How To Fight Back:

  1. Remove all sources of standing water. Common mosquito breeding grounds include children’s toys stored outside, flower pots, upside-down garbage can lids, old tires, tree stumps, or anything else that can collect water
  2. Make sure that the gutters are draining properly and are free of debris
  3. Keep swimming pools chlorinated and covers free of stagnant water
  4. install and maintain window and door screens
  5. When outside, reduce exposure to mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and mosquito repellant. Be aware that mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn
  6. Call an Exterminator. The professionals at Arrow Exterminating are more than happy to tackle even the toughest mosquito problems. We use a cutting edge botanical formula designed to naturally repel mosquitoes from the property without the use of harsh chemicals. Our lawn treatment is based on essential oils and extracts, and although extremely effective against it’s target, the material is not harmful to children and pets so the space can be used again as soon as the treatment is over. Our treatment is guaranteed, and you will see an immediate reduction in mosquitoes after the first visit.

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