With almost eight inches of rain in the month of June, Miami County is sure to be battling mosquitoes when things do dry out in the coming weeks. A trip to a big box store or a corner drugstore will produce aisles and aisles of products to not only rid your yard or house of the pesky biters, but also provide you options for treating the bites when the first product does not work.
There are a few traps on the market that promise to trap mosquitoes as a form of control. Research has shown these traps to be very effective at trapping mosquitoes, but not effective enough to reduce populations in an outdoor setting. Likewise, foggers and misting products are effective at killing adult mosquitoes, but only provide temporary relief as they do nothing for larval control.
Other available control measures include repellents in the form of citronella candles and the Citrosa “mosquito plant,” but research has shown these products have little to no effect on biting rates. Some so-called “bug zappers” have also been marketed to control mosquito populations, but studies show less than 1 percent of insects killed are mosquitoes. Most kill beneficial insects.
While there are a number of products that claim to reduce mosquito populations around the home, the most effective control is achieved by interrupting the breeding cycle. Most species of mosquitoes fly just a few miles from where they hatch. Therefore, it is important for homeowners to follow a few management techniques in order to reduce breeding sites around the home.
Mosquito eggs need water to hatch. Therefore, look at sources of standing water around your home and get rid of them if possible. Old tires, clogged gutters, bird baths, children’s toys, flower pots, tree stumps, and over irrigated lawns and gardens are all possible sources of standing water perfect for mosquito breeding. When faced with mosquitoes on permanent standing water, such as aquatic gardens, a number of larvae killing materials are available. These products are naturally occurring bacterium that are designed to target mosquito and black fly larvae. Thus, the risk to non-target insects and aquatic life are non-existent to low. They are sold under tradenames such as Vectobac, Aquabac, or VectoLex, to name a few.
For more information on mosquito management, see OSU Extension Bulletin 641, “Mosquito Pest Management,” available through the OSU Extension Miami County office or online at http://ohioline.osu.edu/b641/index.html.
Amanda Bennett is the Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator for the Ohio State University Extension in Miami County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 440-3945.