by Karyn Brown
Yard Design and Mosquito Control
If you are considering doing some work on your yard this year, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to reduce the numbers of mosquitoes that like to come into your yard. Often, people think that if they just get rid of all the plants, they won’t have any more mosquitoes, but this is NOT TRUE! Please don’t take out all of the beautiful plants and trees that make your yard inviting. Relatively empty yards, with just grass and a fence, can actually have worse mosquito problems than lush yards.
We all know that mosquitoes need water to breed, so you should certainly review The Five Ts of Mosquito Control to make sure your yard improvments minimize breeding areas. And judicious use of Mosquito Repellent Plants can be helpful when planted in a window box, but let’s talk about how mosquitoes behave to understand why having a nicely planted yard is actually best both for you and for the mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes like cool, green and shady, just like us! Most are relatively weak flyers, so they like shelter from the wind. They also like to fly short distances and then rest somewhere that they can hang upside down. Many species of mosquitoes are adapted to living close to humans (and feeding on them) which means they like to rest under decks and other structures, under the eaves and under patio covers. Some mosquitoes will readily enter homes to rest there until you are sleeping. Male and female mosquitoes have somewhat different habits, but both like the same sort of shelter.
Mosquitoes feed primarily on nectar and fruit, and the males never take a blood meal. They also use vegetation as shelter, otherwise known as harborage. Female mosquitoes need blood to lay eggs, otherwise they also feed on plants.
What Attracts Female Mosquitoes?
When female mosquitoes are searching for a blood meal, the big billboard attractor chemical is carbon dioxide, which every animal breathes out. They also detect body heat and lactic acid, and they tend to prefer targets that are darker in color. Their sensory organs are well suited for finding prey, and they can do it from at least a yard away, as anyone who has gone outside without a mosquito in sight, only to be inundated a few minutes later can attest.
So even if your yard is completely bare, there is nothing to stop the mosquitoes from detecting you from next door and coming over for a meal, and now you have a boring bare yard that isn’t enjoyable for you either.
Mosquito Squad Uses Harborage to Eliminate Mosquitoes
When Mosquito Squad treats your home for mosquitoes, we treat all the places where mosquitoes like to harbor. That means all those nice plants and trees that make your yard shady and enjoyable become our key to eliminating mosquitoes! Our treatment will eliminate any mosquitoes resting there during treatment, and it leaves a residual that will eliminate any mosquitoes that fly in from next door and rest there. Remember how we said most mosquitoes only fly a short distance before landing? If there is a lovely shady plant treated by Mosquito Squad between you and the next door neighbor’s yard, the mosquitoes are likely to stop there for a rest and never make it all the way to you. That’s why we call it a barrier spray. We also work to eliminate breeding areas by tightening the tarps on grills, and we treat any areas with standing water such as big potted plants with saucers, bird baths and the damp spot by the air conditioner. We also tip over anything we think could hold enough water to make mosquitoes a problem.
The Ideal Yard
What this all boils down to is that the ideal yard for Mosquito Squad is also the ideal yard for most homeowners: well-kept, well-maintained, with plenty of foliage. So enjoy those lovely new plants and trees, and if mosquitoes become a problem, just give us a call.