I could be outside with a group of friends and I will be the ONLY one to get mosquito bites all over my body. Here's some tips and advice from our on-call professional, Patty Pierleonardi at Pest Management Services Inc, on how to avoid the mosquitoes in the spring and summer.
guest post by Patty Pierleonardi
Spring is finally here! Congratulations for surviving months of cold weather, snow and ice, and unpredictable random storms. The sun is shining and everyone is getting ready for cookouts, gardening, hiking and outdoor fun. Everyone, unfortunately, includes our pesky friend, the Mosquito. She has been hibernating all winter long, waiting for the sun to shine, her eggs to hatch and her Spring to begin.
As a member of the family of nematocerid flies, the Culicidae, she is a blood-eating pest and a vector of diseases. There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes all over the world, with various traits. Many species of mosquitoes are not blood eaters, and do not transmit disease. Some species prefer to bite humans in their homes while others prefer to attack their source while outside. Which one is living in your backyard?
Even though there are many different species, their life cycles are the same. There are four stages: egg, larvae, pupa and adult.
The female in most species lay her eggs in or around water of all kinds; marshes, puddles, cupped leaves, flowerpots, seawater, and even discarded tires and bottles. As a homeowner, please take note to self, “Pick up trash around house and avoid stagnant water areas.”
When the eggs hatch to become larvae, it grows into the third stage, pupae, which takes 5-14 days. For visual purposes, the larvae has a head with mouth brushes used for feeding, a large thorax with no legs and a segmented abdomen. They feed on algae and bacteria and move through the water with jerky movements that have given them the nickname of “wigglers”. The pupae is comma shaped. The pupae’s nickname is “tumbler” because of how it looks when it swims. Pupae’s do not eat, but would rather hang out on the surface and people watch.
When the adult mosquito emerges from the pupae, it will float to the surface, where the makes form swarms and the females fly into the swarms to mate. The females will then feed on a blood source, rest a few days then lay their eggs. This cycle repeats until the female dies. The females are the only one that feasts on blood. She will live about a month, while her male counterpart will only live a week.
Let’s recap: Our female, Culi, short for Culicidae, is hatched, searches for a husband, grocery shops for blood, lays her babies, over and over until her death.
Our male, Culic, hatches, hangs out with his homies, waits for his girlfriend to come to him, mates, then dies.
Okay, that’s the story! There is no “And they lived happily ever after” going on the Mosquito life.
Some interesting facts about human selection for blood-sucking females are:
- Type O Blood
- Heavy breathers
- Those with a lot of skin bacteria
- People with a lot of body heat
- Pregnant women
During the feeding process, the mosquitoes inject saliva into the source. The bump left on the victims skin is called a wheal, which is caused by histamines trying to fight off the protein in the mosquito saliva. Besides the annoying mosquito bite, they also act as vectors for disease causing viruses and parasites. The infected mosquito is not affected by the disease themselves. They have been known to carry diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, lymphatic filariasis (main cause of elephantiasis), West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, and Tularemia.
Control of mosquitoes can depend on the situation. Stagnant water should be removed, insecticides applied to kill the larvae or adults, window screening or nets, and if you’re looking for a biocontrol method, you can bring in their natural predator, the dragonfly.
Pest Management Services, Inc. offers a six month mosquito service, from April through September, to control the mosquito population at your home and to help make your spring and summer more enjoyable.
For more information please call us at 703-723-2899 or visit our website at www.mypmsi.com.
Don’t let Mosquitoes ruin your warm weather activities!
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
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