Tag Archives: mosquito diseases

Welcome to Mosquito Season!

Spring has come and gone, now welcome to mosquito season. As you pack your bags for the beach house or the mountain campground don’t forget to pack light colored clothing with long sleeves, long pants and a bucket load or two of insect repellent.bestbuffettoonbyjoesanchez

How much we enjoy summer in North America depends a lot on how many mosquitoes there are waiting for us outside. Their bites are itchy and their buzzing annoying, but there’s also reason for concern; mosquitoes carrying dangerous diseases are lying in wait to use us as their next meal.

What causes mosquito populations to explode and shrink? Truthfully, it’s a combination of weather and climate — mosquitoes are very sensitive to their environment. Temperature and rainfall are two major predictors of mosquito populations, and this is for a good reason: These two factors have the greatest effect on their survival and ability to reproduce.

Mosquitoes like it warm and wet. Like most insects, mosquitoes are cold-blooded, or ectothermic.  Their body temperature closely matches the temperature of the environment (air or water) around them. If it is cold outside, they are cold. freezing-bugsIf it is warm outside, they are warm. Any time spent beyond their comfort zone can slow down or stop their development or even cause them to be injured and die.

There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes buzzing around on our planet, and a small handful of those actively feed from humans. And even then, only female mosquitoes feed on blood (required for egg production). The less intimidating males drink flower nectar.

Some mosquito species are far from being just bothersome, they carry dangerous diseases.  In North America, West Nile virus is carried by the Culex mosquito culex mosquitoand can cause serious health issues, including coma and paralysis. In tropical regions, mosquitoes are vectors of malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses.  These debilitating diseases cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.  Two of the major offenders include the, Yellow fever mosquito or Aedes aegypti and the Asian tiger mosquito known as Ades albopictus

Aedes-egyepti        Aedes-egyepti

Aedes-Albopictus

Aedes- albopictus

The most effective mosquito repellent to date, is Deet.  A repellant that contains 5 to 7 percent Deet will ward off the hungriest of mosquitoes.  Why is it so effective?  Because it tastes bad!  Researchers have found that Deet doesn’t leave a bad taste in a mosquitoes’ mouth, but on the tongue-like cells on their feet.

mosquito repellant spray

Now, when you’re outside, coated in DEET, realize this: You still smell good enough to eat. Mosquitoes still want to drink your warm, red blood.mosquito-in-red-sneekers-clipart-k5770244 But your skin tastes really, really gross…… to their feet.

They’re Out for Blood!

mosquito-swarm-red-dawnA new “Red Dawn” is here. Invaders from all over the globe are taking over our neighborhoods and these guys and gals “Bite” and “Suck Your Blood”.  The newest of the bunch is the aedes-noto-2Aedes notoscriptus, the Australian Backyard Mosquito.  Joining the other two invasive, non-native, Aedes Mosquito species (aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus) this hungry mosquito is plaguing Southern California and together with its’ companions is bringing the risk of disease (Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya and in dogs, heartworm).

The Aeaedes-albopictus-1des albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito) arrived in California in 2011 and the Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito), in 2014. The newest arrival, Aedes notoscriptus has been aedes-egyeptiidentified here since early 2017 and its’ populations are increasing exponentially, (that means really fast) due to the hot humid weather we have been experiencing.

Back yard breeders and daytime feeders.

Females of this dark colored mosquito, with outstanding lighter markings, banded legs, and a white band across the proboscis, bite humans chiefly by day in shaded areas. These mosquitoes don’t fly very far, so much of their spread has been helped by the transport of their eggs in everything from flower pots and old tires to trains, planes and automobiles. They are known to prefer breeding in container environments.

Being extremely tiny and aggressive, people never see what’s biting them, leading to misidentification of the attacks as coming from spiders, bed bugs, sand flies or fleas.

Their bites, often concentrated on ankles and legs below the knees, look like clustered pinpricks. They quickly become red and inflamed and grow into big red welts and rashes with scratching.  These bites seem to be extra itchy and that can be because our immune systems haven’t gotten used to them yet.

According to vector control officials, these three species, lay eggs on the sides of barrels (and other containers), not just in standing water, so even though you dump out the water, they can remain alive (and in wait) in people’s yards for years.

Keep safe from mosquitoes by following a few rules.

 In your yard and around your house:

  • Decrease watering schedules                        yard work
  • Remove standing water
  • Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Cut back (prune) dense foliage
  • Mow tall grasses
  • Fix broken screens
  • Move outdoor lighting away from windows and doorways
  • Burn citronella candles or torches on or around the patio or other outdoor areas where activities are being performed.

When you don’t have the time or the inclination to implement the needed procedures to safeguard your landscape plants and gardens from mosquitoes, considegetting help from a professional pest control company and have them, do the work for you.

When you are outdoors: mosquito repellant spray

  • Limit outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt and pants).
  • Use a proven effective mosquito repellent (products containing Deet or oil of lemon and eucalyptus)

For more information on these Southern California Invaders check out the link below.

Meet the new daytime mosquito spreading misery in California