With the increase of vector borne diseases, utilizing mosquito control is an important part of your outdoor living experience. No one likes to be bitten by mosquitoes, but they are not only annoying, but dangerous. Last year the United States had an outbreak of West Nile Virus that impacted many states.
Every day it seems like there is a new mosquito control product that promises to protect you and your family against mosquitoes, but we all know that not every products works. People have varying success with candles, sprays, phone applications (really?) and other tricks that you hear about. The key to mosquito control, as we at Mosquito Squad try to teach, is integrated pest management. Using a mosquito control repellent once, while it may help for the moment, will not help fight the overarching issue – you have mosquitoes in your yard.
The EPA has a page on Integrated Pest Management that focuses more on pest management for farmers, however the same principles apply to your yard, just on a smaller scale. Here are the 4 steps of IPM:
1 – Set Action Thresholds. The threshold is when you decide that action is needed. One bite may not mean that you need professional mosquito control. For me, my threshold is not being able to be outside comfortably without bites for a half hour.
2 – Monitor and Identify Pest. This step is much more complicated at the commercial level, but for the homeowner, not so much. Take notice of the bugs that are bothering you. Are they mosquitoes? Ticks?
3 – Prevention. This is the first step of mosquito control in the yard. For the homeowner, prevention includes what you can do to your property to help prevent mosquitoes. The best way to prevent mosquito population increases is to stop them from breeding and reaching maturity. Mosquitoes breed and mature in standing water. Make a note to get rid of any puddles on your property or tip over anything that holds water (like toys and dog dishes) at least once a week.
4 – Control. After trying to prevent mosquitoes, if it hasn’t stopped the problem, it’s time to control them using a professional mosquito control product. At Mosquito Squad, we treat the areas that mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor. The mosquitoes are killed on contact and future pests, when they come to feed on the treated vegetation, they will ingest the product and die. One treatment lasts for up to 21 days.
All four steps of IPM are important, that’s why most mosquito control products on the market truly don’t work. The only include one step (and do that poorly most of the time).
If you have questions on IPM, please contact your local Mosquito Squad.