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May 5, 2018
It’s bad enough that we have to deal with the uncomfortable heat and humidity during the summer in Washington, D.C. What makes matters worse is that these are perfect conditions for mosquitoes, which spread itchy bites and harmful diseases throughout our nation’s capital. The insects repopulate quickly and easily, making them difficult to control once they arrive. But with the right preventative methods, you won’t have to worry about becoming a target the next time you step outside.
A recent study found that Washington, D.C. is the country’s second-worst city for mosquitoes (behind Atlanta, GA, if you’re curious). With weather conditions that support their presence, it’s no surprise that they’re such a nuisance in our area. We live in a high-humidity climate where it’s over 70 degrees Fahrenheit and stormy from April to October. It makes sense, then, that this seven-month span is when mosquitoes are at their highest levels.
No matter where you’ve lived, you’ve probably had to deal with mosquitoes in the past. In fact, only place you can go without being threatened by them is Antarctica. Of the 2,700 species in existence, each one has its own global area, and 176 of them live in the United States. The most common in D.C. are the common house mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. In addition to our city’s weather, its dense population attracts these two species, who rely on blood to breed.
There’s nothing worse than walking around the National Mall all sweaty, but for mosquitoes, there’s nothing better. Attracted to the lactic acid in our sweat, they use their mouthpieces (called proboscis) to pierce the skin and suck our blood. Females are the ones that do the biting, needing the protein in blood to lay their eggs. We’re allergic to their saliva, which is why bites itch so much.
Mosquito bites aren’t fun to deal with, but matters get even worse when disease starts going around. You probably remember fears of the Zika virus recently; while it’s only been found in smaller areas of D.C., it’s still detrimental when transmitted – specifically to unborn babies. Mosquitoes have also been known to carry malaria, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. It’s no wonder that mosquitoes have often been called the world’s deadliest creature.
Mosquitoes suck our blood in order to reproduce, but they also need standing water. Their eggs rely on water to hatch – in fact, baby mosquitoes spend the first 10 days of their life in water. They only need an inch of water, making any outdoor location a target when there’s plenty of rainwater. Females are known to lay their eggs in ponds, unused fountains, and even old tires full of stale rainwater.
Mosquitoes often breed close to a source of water, but they don’t need it to do so. Given that females are able to lay as many as 300 eggs at one time, the insects repopulate fast. Before dying, females can lay eggs three times, which means that one female can lay around 900 eggs in her lifetime. Add all of this to the fact that Washington, D.C. is a literal breeding ground for mosquitoes, and they’re a big problem when summer rolls around.
The best way to prevent the insects from taking over your outdoor spaces (and from inflicting bites and spreading diseases) is to control their populations before they have a chance to begin. One way to do this is to inspect your property for standing water. You may find it in the following areas:
If you come across standing water, get rid of it immediately. To see if mosquitoes are already around and breeding, look for the presence of larvae in the water. Larvae wiggle around and measure about the size of a fingernail.
Adult mosquitoes often hover around shrubs and bushes because plant nectar is a big food source of theirs. Thus, another method of mosquito control includes eliminating overgrown vegetation and keeping your greenery trimmed. You can also spray your bushes and shrubs with residual insecticides (we recommend contacting a professional pest control company to do it for you safely).
Approved by the Centers for Disease Control, DEET is the best mosquito repellent to use. This product works because the insects don’t like the way it smells and avoid it. Mosquitoes eat at all hours of the day, so you should wear repellent anytime you’re outside. Also, wear light-colored clothing when at all possible. The insects prefer heat, which means they’re attracted to darker hues.
But you may want a solution that eliminates mosquitoes instead of simply stopping them from biting you. In that case, keep in mind the effectiveness of two common pest control devices:
While there are many things that you can do to prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property, no strategy is perfect – especially in a place as attractive to mosquitoes as Washington, D.C. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring in a team of professionals. At Connor’s Pest, we’ll provide you with eco-friendly products, dependable treatments, and smart preventative techniques to keep mosquitoes and their bites at bay.
Make your summer in Washington, D.C. a lot more enjoyable – and a lot less itchy. Contact us today for mosquito control that reduces this pest’s threat once and for all.