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Be Bug Free Services

DON'T LET THE LITTLE THINGS BUG YOU License #: 0778956

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Austin and surrounding areas Mosquito Control

Do it your self mosquito control:

  • Eliminate standing water in low spots, ditches, gutters and similar areas Empty receptacles that collect water (eg bird baths and pot plant saucers) Reduce breeding sites by keeping grass mown
  • Mosquito netting/screens can be used to provide mosquito-free areas
  • Light colored clothing is less attractive to some mosquito species and if tightly woven, can give some protection against biting
  • DEET is considered the most effective mosquito repellent, but should not be used too heavily or on infants under 2 months. An alternative repellent Picaridin by Bayer, is an odorless and colorless repellent and has been recommended by the World Health Organization for use in Malaria stricken countries.

Mosquito Control

The Annual Mosquito Massacre...in your hometown

The next time you go outside to fight mosquitoes, know this: You aren't alone. No matter where you live, chances are there's a local mosquito control program trying to reduce the spread of disease and improve quality of life by targeting the insects.

You've probably seen them rolling through the neighborhood in the mosquito control truck, or maybe flying overheard a few hundred feet off the ground, trailing a foul-smelling fog that kills mosquitoes and gives everyone a few hours' peace.

But mosquito spray is a last resort, and what most people see is only a small part of a community's overall mosquito control plan.

They're usually county-wide operations that run from late spring to early fall - year-round if you live somewhere warm - testing for infected mosquitoes, cleaning up their breeding grounds, and pinpointing their habitats so that crews can methodically eliminate them by the thousands.

Most local programs will even come out to your house and give you a hand if you're having a particular mosquito problem. Trouble is, these programs, which you help fund, by the way, can't get rid of every mosquito in every neighborhood. They can only help cut down on the population. And they can't do it without plenty of cooperation from the public. So, you still have to practice some DIY mosquito control of your own, especially if you don't want bugs fleeing the official exterminators only to settle in your yard.

Where Does Mosquito Control Start?

Professional mosquito hunters have taken to calling their programs IMM, for integrated mosquito management. That means they no longer just go out once a week, spray a few areas with insecticide, and call it a job well done. These days, effective mosquito control programs target four key areas:

Surveillance

The regular trapping and testing of mosquitoes to find out what species are causing problems, how many there are, and whether any of the mosquitoes are carrying West Nile virus, malaria, or some other disease they can transmit to people.

Source reduction - Cleaning up stagnant ponds, managing stormwater drainage systems, and digging ditches around marshy areas to help cut down on the number of places where mosquitoes can actually lay and hatch eggs. This includes getting people to dump the myriad containers around their yards that can serve as mosquito breeding grounds.

Larvacide

Finding ways, both biological and chemical, to kill mosquitoes while they are still in the larval stage living in water. This could mean putting bacteria or oil in the water to poison the larvae, or introducing natural predators to feed on them.

Adulticide - The method of last resort, using mosquito spray to kill large numbers of adults as they fly and feed. Crews release insecticides from planes and trucks over targeted areas at specific times so they can get as many as possible in one shot. Helps to eliminate females before they have a chance to lay eggs. Also a necessity after storms cause heavy flooding because huge swarms will soon follow.

None of the methods are effective by themselves, but have to be combined to attack every stage of the mosquito life cycle. Otherwise, no matter how many bugs the crews killed, there would be millions more waiting to take their place.

The Mosquito Stakeout

The first step in fixing a problem is figuring out what it is. Obviously mosquitoes are the problem, but mosquito control crews need to know more than that. They also have to identify specifically which ones are causing the trouble and where.

There are more than 150 species of mosquitoes in the United States, and while some are known to be potential health hazards - like the Anopheles mosquito, a malaria, carrier - a species that may be considered a nuisance in one community may not even show up in another.

Meanwhile, new construction, weather patterns, effective control methods, or any number of other factors can shift mosquito populations around so that one part of a county has a problem one year, and another part the next.

Of course, people tend to call their local mosquito control programs with complaints when they're having trouble with the bloodsuckers, so that's one way for crews to pinpoint the hot spots. Another way is to count mosquitoes in certain areas.

That method is simpler than it sounds. A mosquito control worker goes outside, say near a salt marsh, either early in the morning or right before dark, and lets mosquitoes land on him. The "landing rate" is how many mosquitoes light on him in a minute's time.

Mosquito control officials usually set a certain threshold that will justify breaking out the mosquito spray. For example, in Maryland, crews can spray if the landing rate is one or more mosquitoes per minute in a tested area.

But probably the most common method of mosquito surveillance is the mosquito trap.

The New Jersey Light Trap is pretty much what it sounds like: A light that attracts mosquitoes and a fan that sucks them into a container. Others are similar to the commercial mosquito traps you see on the market for home use, utilizing carbon dioxide or other attractants that mimic the human body.

The idea is to draw in female mosquitoes - males do not bite - so their numbers can be counted and their bodies tested for malaria parasites or viral encephalitis.

Surveillance results also can be used to produce maps that will help mosquito managers locate likely breeding areas that may be ripe for landscaping changes or chemical or biological controls.

Ounce Of Mosquito Prevention vs. Pound Of Cure

Common sense says it's easier to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the first place than it is to hunt down and kill the little suckers once they're flying around.

That's why local mosquito control programs spend so much time on source reduction. The idea is to shrink the number of places the mosquitoes can actually lay and hatch eggs, so that there are fewer created in each cycle.

Every year, about the start of mosquito season, you'll begin seeing the stories in the newspapers and on TV. There will be some county official urging you to clear out all standing water from your backyard, whether that means dumping out buckets, turning over wheelbarrows, or picking up the kids' toys.

They do this because any stagnant water that stands for at least a week or so can become a good spot for mosquitoes to lay eggs that will develop into larvae and, eventually, adults. For the same reason, mosquito control programs will also work with other public agencies to clean up discarded containers such as cans and cut the tall grass on the sides of roads.

Tires are a big one, by the way. Every community tosses out thousands of used tires every year, and they all have to go somewhere. Leave them outside, forgotten, and the insides will collect water and become as good as a swamp for housing mosquitoes.

Aside from clean-up, there is drainage.

Mosquito control checks stormwater systems to make sure the water flows properly and doesn't get backed up anywhere, and also coordinates the digging of ditches that help drain flood-prone land and marshy areas. Lakes and retention ponds are cleared of vegetation and blockages to allow in as much fresh water as possible.

The idea is simple, but it works. Wiping Out the Baby Mosquitoes

No matter what anyone does, mosquitoes are still going to lay millions of eggs, and they are still going to hatch into mosquito larvae. One way or another, mosquito control programs have to find ways to kill as many of those larvae as they can before the wigglers grow into adults.

A favorite of mosquito control officials is the gambusia, known as the mosquitofish. It is an easy-to-breed North-American native about two inches long that feeds mainly on mosquito larvae.

The gambusia are resilient and can live in stagnant water with little oxygen, eating algae if they must, so they are frequently used in swampy or marshy areas and in retention ponds or other small isolated bodies of water.

In a study in New Jersey, just 35 fish released into a stagnant, mosquito-infested swimming pool grew to several hundred fish and completely cleaned out the larvae of two species within a matter of months.

However, mosquito control crews have to be careful where they place the mosquitofish because they are predatory and will eat the young of frogs and other fish.

Meanwhile, some towns in Maine have been working with another mosquito predator since the early '70s.

Each spring, the Chamber of Commerce in Wells, Main, situated near thousands of acres of salt marshes, starts taking orders for dragonfly nymphs - or larvae - from town residents. The developing dragonflies cost about $30 per 50, and people order thousands of them.

The nymphs are released into local freshwater ponds. There, they feed on mosquito larvae, and after developing into adulthood, begin to hunt adult mosquitoes.

While there have been no studies proving the dragonflies are effective, locals swear they have seen major reductions in the mosquito populations, and other nearby towns have adopted are turning to the same method.

But when natural means aren't enough, there are always larvacides.

The most popular is a bacteria used to poison the mosquito larvae, or wigglers. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), grown using fish meal or soy flour as a base, produces proteins that turn into toxins in a larva's stomach.

Bti is made in pellet and liquid form, although pellets seem to be preferred by most mosquito control programs. They can be seeded into a breeding site, such as a pond, or dropped from an aircraft. The bacteria is not harmful to wildlife, fish, or people.

Less favored are larvicidal oils, which are sprayed over the surface of the water. Wigglers must breathe oxygen, so they near the surface and use breathing tubes to breach and draw in air. The oils can either be poisonous, killing the wigglers after being inhaled, or be used simply to suffocate the wigglers by preventing them from reaching oxygen.

Widespread Use Of Mosquito Spray

At some point, mosquito control will need to do some selective spraying to kill adult mosquitoes.

They've been tracking nuisance complaints and trapping mosquitoes, so they know where they are worst and when they are out feeding - typically at dawn and dusk.

That's when they will load up the truck, the helicopter, or the airplane and begin dropping insecticide on the areas with the biggest problems. The goal is to put the insecticide into the air, either in a fog or a very light mist, and let it drift through target, killing mosquitoes as it passes and for a few hours after.

One of the most commonly used mosquito insecticides is permethrin, a synthetic form of a natural pesticide made from the chrysanthemum plant. It kills mosquitoes by disrupting their central nervous systems.

Mosquito control officials have to be careful when, where, and how often they use mosquito spray for three reasons. One, poisons such as permethrin are also toxic to fish, honeybees and other unintended targets. Two, overuse of pesticides has caused some mosquitoes to develop a resistance. And three, the idea of poisons drifting through the air scares people.

However, when mosquitoes are thick, there aren't many other ways to kill them quickly, reducing the number of bites and possible infections. It's a balancing act that mosquito control crews have to do every season.

Put it all together, and that's the way a community practices effective mosquito control - by trying to keep mosquitoes out of the air in the first place, and by attacking them wisely when they're on the move.

Just remember, you have to make sure you take the same approach around your own house, or their efforts, and your tax dollars, go to waste. Plus, you will probably find yourself playing host to some very unwelcome refugees.

Mosquito Diseases

Mosquitoes are major contributors of several diseases throughout the world. Mosquitoes can pass along these diseases to humans by biting them. Only female mosquitoes bite to nourish their eggs and only certain species of mosquitoes carry diseases. The best defense is to become educated about these diseases and find ways to control the mosquito population.

Zika Virus (ZIKV)

In 2016, Zika virus began commanding worldwide attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and

microcephaly - a birth defect that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency on February 1, and on April 13 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the evidence was conclusive - the Zika virus causes a rare birth defect and other severe fetal abnormalities.

Transmitted by the aggressive daytime biting Aedes aegypti mosquito, Zika has now spread to 40 countries. There have also been several reported cases of transmission of the virus through sexual intercourse. World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan issued a statement to the effect: "reports and investigations in several countries strongly suggest that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed."

Symptoms of the virus include a slight fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headaches, joint and muscle pain. Symptoms begin to show between 3 and 12 days however, the majority of those infected (80%) show no symptoms and don't even know they have the virus.

There is no vaccine or cure for the Zika virus, and the treatment plan for those infected is to get plenty of rest, drink fluids to stave off dehydration, and take pain and fever medications.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is found mostly in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. However, it has made its way into the United States. In the summer of 2001 four people on the island of Maui in Hawaii contracted the disease. From 1977 to 1994, there have been 2,248 suspected cases of imported dengue fever reported in the United States.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which primarily feeds during the day, is a carrier of the Dengue fever virus. Symptoms of the disease begin four to seven days after being bit and include fever, painful headaches, eye, joint and muscle pain and a rash on the arms or legs. The disease is rarely fatal but occasionally progresses to dengue hemorrhagic fever a more serious illness with abnormal bleeding and very low blood pressure.

Chikungunya Fever (CHIKV)

Chikungunya is a viral illness spread human-to-human through the bite of a mosquito. The primary vector for chikungunya is the Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito, although the Asian tiger mosquito is also a competent vector for the spread of Chikungunya.

Chikungunya was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952, but has since spread beyond Africa to nearly 40 countries in

Asia, Africa, Europe and also in the Americas. The name 'chikungunya' derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning "to become contorted" and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain.

The incubation period is usually 3-7 days and symptoms can include sudden fever, joint pain with or without swelling, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, lower back pain, and a rash. The symptoms are similar to those of Dengue fever, but unlike some types of Dengue, people who have Chikungunya do not experience hemorrhage (bleeding) or go into shock. There is no vaccine for chikungunya and no cure. Management of the disease includes rest, fluids and medications to relieve the symptoms of fever and pain.

Malaria

Probably one of the most widespread diseases that mosquitoes can carry is Malaria. According to the World Health Organization, malaria infects 300 to 500 million people every year in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, and Central and South America. Malaria has been around for thousands of years. The symptoms of malaria were described in ancient Chinese medical writings in 2700 BC. Malaria is etched in history as the construction of the Panama Canal was nearly halted because of it. In 1906, there were more than 26,000 employees working on the canal of these, more than 21,000 were hospitalized for malaria at some time.

Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes primarily bite during the nighttime hours. Once infected, the symptoms include anemia, fever, chills, nausea, and flu-like illness and in severe cases coma and death.

Malaria kills between one and three million people worldwide each year. Since there is no vaccination for the disease and the Plasmodium parasite that causes malaria has become increasingly drug resistant scientists are beginning to look at a new way to combat the disease. Researchers are currently looking for a way to create a genetically altered Anopheles mosquito that would be resistant to the Plasmodium parasite.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

Probably one of the diseases that is of most concern for those living in the United States is the West Nile virus. The West Nile virus has actually been around for decades. The disease was first recognized in a woman in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937, thus the origin of its name. There have been millions of cases of the disease reported from the Western Mediterranean and Africa through the Middle East. In 1996 the West Nile virus spread to Europe and in

1999 was found in New York City. Out of 62 confirmed cases in New York, seven deaths were reported. So far, West Nile virus has spread to 41 states and Washington D.C. One of the most common mosquitoes, the Culex species, is known to carry the West Nile virus. A person bitten by an infected Culex mosquito can contract the West Nile virus. The virus itself causes severe human meningitis or encephalitis, which is inflammation of the spinal cord and brain.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEEV)

Eastern equine encephalitis is as its name implies, primarily caused by a virus that infects horses. This mosquito-borne viral disease also infects humans and some species of birds. The virus received its name after a major outbreak occurred in horses in the coastal areas of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia in 1933. Additional outbreaks occurred in Virginia and North Carolina in 1934 and 1935. There have been approximately 220 confirmed human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEEV) in the United States between 1964 and 2004. States with the largest number of cases are Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Mosquitoes were first determined to be potential carriers of EEEV in 1934. Various mosquito species of Aedes and Culex can transmit the virus to humans. EEEV transmission is most common in and around freshwater swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and the Great Lakes region. Cases of human infection are less likely because the primary transmission occurs in swampy areas where the mosquitoes live, but most humans don't. Once infected with the virus, many humans have no apparent symptoms. However, some develop symptoms ranging from mild flu-like to inflammation of the brain, coma and death.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

The Japanese encephalitis virus is a mosquito-borne virus, which can be potentially fatal to humans. The virus has spread throughout eastern Asia, including India, Japan, China and Southeast Asia. The virus has also cropped up in Australia in 1995.

The virus is transmitted through the Culex species of mosquito. Culex mosquitoes become infected by feeding on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the Japanese encephalitis virus. Infected mosquitoes then transmit the Japanese encephalitis virus to humans and animals during the feeding process. Once infected a person might experience a mild infection with a fever with headache. More severe infection is marked by quick onset, headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions and spastic paralysis.

La Crosse Encephalitis (LACV)

La Crosse encephalitis virus is transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. It occurs in the Appalachian and Midwestern regions of the United States. The virus was first discovered in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1963. Since then the virus has been detected in several Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states. There are usually 75 cases of La Crosse encephalitis reported to the Centers for Disease Control every year. Most cases occur in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Recently more cases have been reported in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

Symptoms of the disease include nausea, headache, and vomiting. In more serious cases the symptoms can be seizures, coma, paralysis and permanent brain damage.

St. Louis Encephalitis (SLEV)

The St. Louis encephalitis virus is related to the Japanese encephalitis virus. This virus mostly affects the United States and occasional cases in Canada and Mexico. The origin of the virus began in 1933 when an encephalitis epidemic broke out in vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri. More than 1,000 cases were reported.

The virus is transmitted via the Culex mosquitoes that become infected by feeding on birds infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes then transmit the virus to humans.

Symptoms of the virus include fever and headache and in more severe cases can cause headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions and spastic paralysis.

Western Equine Encephalitis (WEEV)

Western Equine Encephalitis is relatively uncommon. There have been less than 700 confirmed cases of the virus in the United States since 1964. The virus is seen primarily in states west of the Mississippi River and in some countries in South America.

The Culex mosquito transmits the virus. Once infected symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to encephalitis, coma and death.

Rift Valley Fever (RVFD)

Though primarily a virus that affects livestock, humans do contract Rift Valley Fever as well. The disease is usually found in Africa and the Middle East. There have been severe outbreaks of the disease. In Africa between 1977and 1978 several million people were infected and thousands died.

Humans can become infected from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Symptoms are usually mild and include fever, weakness, back pain, dizziness and weight loss. In rare cases it can lead to hemorrhagic fever syndrome or meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is primarily found in African and South American countries. The yellow refers to the jaundice symptoms that affect some patients. Humans contract the disease from infected Aedes simpsaloi, Aedes africanus, and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Although it's not usually found in the United States, yellow fever has made its way here. A ship carrying people infected with the virus arrived in Norfolk, Virginia in 1855. The disease spread quickly eventually killing more than 3,000 people.

There is a vaccination available for yellow fever but as of 2001, the World Health Organization estimates that yellow fever causes 200,000 illnesses and 30,000 deaths in unvaccinated countries.

Heartworm

Another type of mosquito-borne disease that affects our furry, four-legged friends is heartworm disease. Dog heartworm disease can be a life-threatening disease for canines. Dogs and sometimes other animals such as cats, foxes and raccoons are infected with a type of roundworm through the bite of a mosquito carrying the larvae of the worm. Many common types of mosquitoes can carry the heartworm disease and the disease is found throughout the United States.

Once a dog is infected with the roundworm through a mosquito bite, the worms burrow into the skin and eventually end up in the canine's heart. The cure for heartworm can be risky and expensive. However, it is preventable and there are several medications on the market for dogs.

Preventing Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Of all of the mosquito-borne diseases, the ones that occur within the borders of the United States are West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis and western equine encephalitis. There are no vaccines for these diseases. Most of the other viruses that may have once appeared here are no longer around due

to effective vaccinations.

One way to prevent the spread of these diseases is to get rid of the mosquito population. While eradicating all the mosquitoes in the world sounds like a good idea, it will never realistically happen. Therefore, taking protective measures against mosquitoes is the next best solution.

What is an Integrated Mosquito Management Program?

An Integrated Mosquito Management Program ("IMMP") is part of a wider concept called Integrated Pest Management ("IPM") which has been around for decades. There are multiple definitions of an IPM which can be confusing but at its simplest, IPM is:

"The optimization of pest control in an economically and ecologically sound manner."

Effective IMMP programs are made up of the following:

Surveillance

Capturing and testing of the species to find out what you are dealing with. There are many species of mosquito which may require different control methods.

Source Reduction

A mosquito problem in your yard can most often be attributed to a bigger problem in your neighborhood. Identifying those areas is very important. For example:

Wetlands, marshes

Storm water retention drains that have gathered Debris and may be blocked causing stagnant water is perfect for mosquitoes to breed in Debris/sanitation issues possibly causing water retention could be in a backyard, pool or a landfill.

Larvacide

Using both biological and chemical ways to treat a mosquito problem while at the aquatic stage of augmentation. Adulticide - using chemical sprayers to kill the adult mosquitoes before they have a chance to breed.

Physical

Cleaning storm water drains that may be contaminated and ensuring that water doesn't remain stagnant. If there is ditching in your area that these are checked by the county to ensure there is no contamination which could cause a build-up of stagnant water.

Legal Action

There are local, state and federal laws in place that allow fines to be imposed on those who may be contributing to any pest control issues. If no action is being taken to clean up a yard, you can consult an attorney for advice.

Larvacide

At the aquatic stage of the breeding cycle we can control the augmentation of mosquitoes. The use of predator fish such as minnows or nematodes (parasitic worm) can be helpful but there would need to be consideration given to any permits that are required and also the high cost of rearing such species.

Chemical

chemicals used in spraying/fogging play a very important part in the IMMP and can sometimes be the only way to deal with a mosquito problem such as after a hurricane.

Should you notice anything that could be adding to the mosquito problems in your area (e.g. water buildup in ditching or storm water drain contamination) it is most important that you notify the relevant authorities so they can inspect and attempt to treat the area. She also emphasized that it is important to take precautions by using products that are available for the domestic market today such as repellants and possibly mosquito traps.

Mosquito Species

What's the most dangerous creature on earth? Without question the answer is The Mosquito.

Mosquitoes and the diseases they spread have been responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history. There are over 175 species in the U.S. and the most common, and most dangerous, are the various species in the Culex, Anopheles, and Aedes genera.

Aedes:

Aedes is a genus of mosquito originally found in tropical and subtropical zones, but now found on all continents excluding Antarctica. The genus contains over 700 species; the most medically significant of them being Aedes vexans, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. Aedes species typically bite at dawn and dusk.

Aedes Vexans is found in every state in the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. The species has a distribution in the continental USA that extends from southern Florida to Quebec, on the east coast, and from southern California to Alaska in the west. Aedes vexans is recognized as New Jersey's most serious pest mosquito due to its abundance, widespread distribution and breeding potential in floodwater habitats. They are described as West Nile virus bridge vectors; meaning they can transmit the virus from the bird population to humans. During the day they will feed in shady areas, but are most active at dusk. Breeding sites include artificial containers, storm sewers, drainage ditches, marshes, streams, and a variety of other sites. The adults are known to fly great distances and are readily attracted to light.

Aedes albopictus, or Asian tiger mosquito, is currently the most invasive mosquito in the world. Introduced into the U.S. in the mid-80s through a shipment of used tires, it has now spread to more than 900 counties in 26 states in the continental USA, as well as Hawaii. It is of medical importance due to its aggressive and persistent daytime human-biting behavior and ability to vector many diseases, including Dengue, La Crosse, Chikungunya and West Nile virus. Aedes albopictus is an opportunistic biter, which will bite as often during broad daylight as it will at dusk. It has a preference for humans over animals, typically approaching at ankle level and working its way up the body. During the day it can be found in shady areas where it rests in shrubs near the ground. The Asian Tiger Mosquito is more aggressive than the Yellow Fever mosquito and has a bite that results in considerably more irritation.

Aedes aegypti or Yellow fever mosquito is the primary vector of Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika virus and Yellow Fever. Aedes aegypti is an aggressive daytime biter - most active during daylight and for approximately two hours after sunrise and several hours before sunset. An indoor/outdoor pest, the mosquito will happily rest inside closets, under chairs and other dark places. Outside, they rest where it is cool and shaded. Highly resilient and difficult to control, Aedes aegypti is extremely adaptable and past efforts to eradicate this species from the U.S have failed. Their eggs can withstand desiccation (drying out) surviving in containers without water for several months. Egg hatching subsequently occurs following rainfall or the addition of water to those containers harboring eggs.

Culex:

Culex mosquitoes are painful and persistent biters. They prefer to attack at dusk and after dark, and readily enter dwellings for blood meals. They are generally weak fliers and do not move far from home.

Culex pipiens, also known as the northern house mosquito, is the most widely distributed mosquito in the world and is found on every continent except Antarctica. They breed in a variety of water containers, don't travel far from their breeding sites and are often found around the home. They are known vectors of West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern

and Western Equine Encephalitis and Heart-worm in dogs. Most active at night, Culex pipiens prefer to attack at dusk and after dark.

Culex tarsalis is the most important mosquito vector of arboviruses in western North America, responsible for the transmission of St. Louis and Western Equine Encephalitis viruses. Culex tarsalis inhabits large tracts of territory between northern Mexico and southern Canada, spreading from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast. It is most commonly seen in California, at elevations ranging as high as 3000 meters.Culex tarsalis is most active in the few hours after sunset feeding on both bird and mammal hosts. These mosquitoes find hosts by detecting the sweat and carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals or birds. During the daytime, adults can be found resting in shaded areas such as tree cavities and animal burrows.

Culex restuans is considered a vector of St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) and West Nile Virus (WNV). They will breed in water that ranges from clear to grossly polluted and are found in a wide variety of aquatic habitats including ditches, streams, woodland pools as well as artificial containers. While some experts consider the mosquito to be a bird feeder that rarely, if ever, bites humans, others have described the species as a significant pest with an annoying bite.

Anopheles:

The Anopheles mosquito is known universally as the Malaria Mosquito because it is considered the primary vector of the disease. However, of the approximately 430 Anopheles species, only 30-40 transmit malaria and many of them have become resistant to insecticides through years of pesticide use. It is also considered a transmitter of heart worm in dogs. Anopheles home-in on human body odors; from the carbon dioxide in our breath to the ammonia in our sweaty feet

Anopheles quadrimaculatus is the chief carrier of malaria in the eastern, central and southern U.S. While Culex mosquitoes can breed and thrive in stagnant or polluted water, the Anopheles mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in permanent pools of water with vegetation, such as ponds, lakes and swamps. Active principally at night, they are vicious biters who prefer large mammals and humans, and attack after dusk.

Anopheles freeborni the Western malaria mosquito, is found in western Canada and in the United States. This species is the principal malaria vector in the arid and semiarid western U.S. (Carpenter and LaCasse 1955). They are more active at dusk and during the night but occasionally do attack man during the daylight hours in dense shade or on cloudy days.

Ochlerotatus:

Ochlerotatus mosquitoes are among the first groups of mosquitoes to appear each season. They are painful and persistent biters, attacking during daylight hours (not at night). They do not enter dwellings, and they prefer to bite mammals like humans. Ochlerotatus mosquitoes are strong fliers and are known to fly many miles from their breeding sources.

Ochlerotatus triseriatus; known as the Eastern Tree Hole mosquito, is one of 36 known species that can transmit the West Nile virus and is the primary vector of La Crosse Encephalitis virus. In the U.S. it is widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains and inhabits all of the Southeastern States. This species is typically considered a troublesome biter in wooded areas and will readily attack humans anytime of the day.

Ochlerotatus canadensis; common in late spring and summer this fierce biter prefers humans and other mammals. Larvae are abundant in late spring and found occasionally during the summer in woodland pools, swamp borders and grassy hummock areas. This long-lived mosquito is the primary suspect in the transmission of heartworm to dogs and a possible suspect in the transmission of EEEV from birds to humans.

Culiseta:

Culiseta mosquitoes are moderately aggressive biters, attacking in the evening hours or in shade during the day. In summer, the most common breeding area for these mosquitoes is backyard fishponds.

Culiseta melanura favors acid water and is normally found in acid bogs with a pH of 5.0 or lower. Two primary habitats for this species are found in New Jersey. Culiseta melanura is a mosquito species that is not attracted to mammals and feeds almost entirely on birds. The mosquito is responsible for maintaining EEEV in bird populations and plays a significant vector role in that regard. Culiseta melanura initiates the infection in bird populations; other

mosquito vectors (i.e. Coquillettidia perturbans) is responsible for equine and human cases.

Coquillettidia:

A genus of large, mostly yellow, viciously biting, fresh-water mosquitoes.

Coquillettidia perturbans is a vector for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEEV) in North America. It is a night biter but will bite in the shade during the day if disturbed. A strong flier, it will fly several kilometers in search of a host. This species is found more commonly in the eastern and southern states, but is also present in small numbers in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain States and along the Pacific coast.

These are copied pictures and paragraphs from the web.

Eliminate standing water in low spots, ditches, gutters and similar areas Empty receptacles that collect water (eg bird baths and pot plant saucers) Reduce breeding sites by keeping grass mown

Mosquito netting/screens can be used to provide mosquito-free areas

Light colored clothing is less attractive to some mosquito species and if tightly woven, can give some protection against biting

DEET is considered the most effective mosquito repellent, but should not be used too heavily or on infants under 2 months. An alternative repellent Picaridin by Bayer, is an odorless and colorless repellent and has been recommended by the World Health Organization for use in Malaria stricken countries.

Mosquito Control

The Annual Mosquito Massacre...in your hometown

The next time you go outside to fight mosquitoes, know this: You aren't alone. No matter where you live, chances are there's a local mosquito control program trying to reduce the spread of disease and improve quality of life by targeting the insects.

You've probably seen them rolling through the neighborhood in the mosquito control truck, or maybe flying overheard a few hundred feet off the ground, trailing a foul-smelling fog that kills mosquitoes and gives everyone a few hours' peace.

But mosquito spray is a last resort, and what most people see is only a small part of a community's overall mosquito control plan.

They're usually county-wide operations that run from late spring to early fall - year-round if you live somewhere warm - testing for infected mosquitoes, cleaning up their breeding grounds, and pinpointing their habitats so that crews can methodically eliminate them by the thousands.

Most local programs will even come out to your house and give you a hand if you're having a particular mosquito problem. Trouble is, these programs, which you help fund, by the way, can't get rid of every mosquito in every neighborhood. They can only help cut down on the population. And they can't do it without plenty of cooperation from the public. So, you still have to practice some DIY mosquito control of your own, especially if you don't want bugs fleeing the official exterminators only to settle in your yard.

Where Does Mosquito Control Start?

Professional mosquito hunters have taken to calling their programs IMM, for integrated mosquito management. That means they no longer just go out once a week, spray a few areas with insecticide, and call it a job well done. These days, effective mosquito control programs target four key areas:

Surveillance

The regular trapping and testing of mosquitoes to find out what species are causing problems, how many there are, and whether any of the mosquitoes are carrying West Nile virus, malaria, or some other disease they can transmit to people.

Source reduction - Cleaning up stagnant ponds, managing stormwater drainage systems, and digging ditches around marshy areas to help cut down on the number of places where mosquitoes can actually lay and hatch eggs. This includes getting people to dump the myriad containers around their yards that can serve as mosquito breeding grounds.

Larvacide

Finding ways, both biological and chemical, to kill mosquitoes while they are still in the larval stage living in water. This could mean putting bacteria or oil in the water to poison the larvae, or introducing natural predators to feed on them.

Adulticide - The method of last resort, using mosquito spray to kill large numbers of adults as they fly and feed. Crews release insecticides from planes and trucks over targeted areas at specific times so they can get as many as possible in one shot. Helps to eliminate females before they have a chance to lay eggs. Also a necessity after storms cause heavy flooding because huge swarms will soon follow.

None of the methods are effective by themselves, but have to be combined to attack every stage of the mosquito life cycle. Otherwise, no matter how many bugs the crews killed, there would be millions more waiting to take their place.

The Mosquito Stakeout

The first step in fixing a problem is figuring out what it is. Obviously mosquitoes are the problem, but mosquito control crews need to know more than that. They also have to identify specifically which ones are causing the trouble and where.

There are more than 150 species of mosquitoes in the United States, and while some are known to be potential health hazards - like the Anopheles mosquito, a malaria, carrier - a species that may be considered a nuisance in one community may not even show up in another.

Meanwhile, new construction, weather patterns, effective control methods, or any number of other factors can shift mosquito populations around so that one part of a county has a problem one year, and another part the next.

Of course, people tend to call their local mosquito control programs with complaints when they're having trouble with the bloodsuckers, so that's one way for crews to pinpoint the hot spots. Another way is to count mosquitoes in certain areas.

That method is simpler than it sounds. A mosquito control worker goes outside, say near a salt marsh, either early in the morning or right before dark, and lets mosquitoes land on him. The "landing rate" is how many mosquitoes light on him in a minute's time.

Mosquito control officials usually set a certain threshold that will justify breaking out the mosquito spray. For example, in Maryland, crews can spray if the landing rate is one or more mosquitoes per minute in a tested area.

But probably the most common method of mosquito surveillance is the mosquito trap.

The New Jersey Light Trap is pretty much what it sounds like: A light that attracts mosquitoes and a fan that sucks them into a container. Others are similar to the commercial mosquito traps you see on the market for home use, utilizing carbon dioxide or other attractants that mimic the human body.

The idea is to draw in female mosquitoes - males do not bite - so their numbers can be counted and their bodies tested for malaria parasites or viral encephalitis.

Surveillance results also can be used to produce maps that will help mosquito managers locate likely breeding areas

that may be ripe for landscaping changes or chemical or biological controls. Ounce Of Mosquito Prevention vs. Pound Of Cure

Common sense says it's easier to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the first place than it is to hunt down and kill the little suckers once they're flying around.

That's why local mosquito control programs spend so much time on source reduction. The idea is to shrink the number of places the mosquitoes can actually lay and hatch eggs, so that there are fewer created in each cycle.

Every year, about the start of mosquito season, you'll begin seeing the stories in the newspapers and on TV. There will be some county official urging you to clear out all standing water from your backyard, whether that means dumping out buckets, turning over wheelbarrows, or picking up the kids' toys.

They do this because any stagnant water that stands for at least a week or so can become a good spot for mosquitoes to lay eggs that will develop into larvae and, eventually, adults. For the same reason, mosquito control programs will also work with other public agencies to clean up discarded containers such as cans and cut the tall grass on the sides of roads.

Tires are a big one, by the way. Every community tosses out thousands of used tires every year, and they all have to go somewhere. Leave them outside, forgotten, and the insides will collect water and become as good as a swamp for housing mosquitoes.

Aside from clean-up, there is drainage.

Mosquito control checks stormwater systems to make sure the water flows properly and doesn't get backed up anywhere, and also coordinates the digging of ditches that help drain flood-prone land and marshy areas. Lakes and retention ponds are cleared of vegetation and blockages to allow in as much fresh water as possible.

The idea is simple, but it works. Wiping Out the Baby Mosquitoes

No matter what anyone does, mosquitoes are still going to lay millions of eggs, and they are still going to hatch into mosquito larvae. One way or another, mosquito control programs have to find ways to kill as many of those larvae as they can before the wigglers grow into adults.

A favorite of mosquito control officials is the gambusia, known as the mosquitofish. It is an easy-to-breed North

American native about two inches long that feeds mainly on mosquito larvae.

The gambusia are resilient and can live in stagnant water with little oxygen, eating algae if they must, so they are frequently used in swampy or marshy areas and in retention ponds or other small isolated bodies of water.

In a study in New Jersey, just 35 fish released into a stagnant, mosquito-infested swimming pool grew to several hundred fish and completely cleaned out the larvae of two species within a matter of months.

However, mosquito control crews have to be careful where they place the mosquitofish because they are predatory and will eat the young of frogs and other fish.

Meanwhile, some towns in Maine have been working with another mosquito predator since the early '70s.

Each spring, the Chamber of Commerce in Wells, Main, situated near thousands of acres of salt marshes, starts taking orders for dragonfly nymphs - or larvae - from town residents. The developing dragonflies cost about $30 per 50, and people order thousands of them.

The nymphs are released into local freshwater ponds. There, they feed on mosquito larvae, and after developing into adulthood, begin to hunt adult mosquitoes.

While there have been no studies proving the dragonflies are effective, locals swear they have seen major reductions in the mosquito populations, and other nearby towns have adopted are turning to the same method.

But when natural means aren't enough, there are always larvacides.

The most popular is a bacteria used to poison the mosquito larvae, or wigglers. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), grown using fish meal or soy flour as a base, produces proteins that turn into toxins in a larva's stomach.

Bti is made in pellet and liquid form, although pellets seem to be preferred by most mosquito control programs. They can be seeded into a breeding site, such as a pond, or dropped from an aircraft. The bacteria is not harmful to wildlife, fish, or people.

Less favored are larvicidal oils, which are sprayed over the surface of the water. Wigglers must breathe oxygen, so they near the surface and use breathing tubes to breach and draw in air. The oils can either be poisonous, killing the wigglers after being inhaled, or be used simply to suffocate the wigglers by preventing them from reaching oxygen.

Widespread Use Of Mosquito Spray

At some point, mosquito control will need to do some selective spraying to kill adult mosquitoes.

They've been tracking nuisance complaints and trapping mosquitoes, so they know where they are worst and when they are out feeding - typically at dawn and dusk.

That's when they will load up the truck, the helicopter, or the airplane and begin dropping insecticide on the areas with the biggest problems. The goal is to put the insecticide into the air, either in a fog or a very light mist, and let it drift through target, killing mosquitoes as it passes and for a few hours after.

One of the most commonly used mosquito insecticides is permethrin, a synthetic form of a natural pesticide made from the chrysanthemum plant. It kills mosquitoes by disrupting their central nervous systems.

Mosquito control officials have to be careful when, where, and how often they use mosquito spray for three reasons. One, poisons such as permethrin are also toxic to fish, honeybees and other unintended targets. Two, overuse of

pesticides has caused some mosquitoes to develop a resistance. And three, the idea of poisons drifting through the air scares people.

However, when mosquitoes are thick, there aren't many other ways to kill them quickly, reducing the number of bites and possible infections. It's a balancing act that mosquito control crews have to do every season.

Put it all together, and that's the way a community practices effective mosquito control - by trying to keep mosquitoes out of the air in the first place, and by attacking them wisely when they're on the move.

Just remember, you have to make sure you take the same approach around your own house, or their efforts, and your tax dollars, go to waste. Plus, you will probably find yourself playing host to some very unwelcome refugees.

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