The real problem “biters” are most active around dusk and dawn. If possible, avoid being outside during that time and wear long or light colored clothing. Dark clothing, fragrances and colognes act as attractants to mosquitoes, as do some body chemicals such as carbon dioxide.
In warm weather, a mosquito can go through its whole life cycle from egg to adult in seven days. The adult female lays her eggs in or near water or where water can expect to occur. The egg then hatches into a larva. The developing mosquito larva and pupae need very little water and feed on organic matter in the water. Water depths from an inch to many feet will support mosquito growth.
Nearby ponds or swampy areas generally get the blame for the source of mosquitoes around our home. It’s assumed mosquitoes can fly or be blown by the wind for a couple of miles, but that is generally not what happens. In most cases the mosquito that bites you developed in standing water within 100 feet of where you were bitten, which probably means it was in your own yard.
So, where do you find them? Look for any type of containers that can hold water. That includes flower pots and saucers, gutters stopped-up with leaves, tire swings, cans, buckets, leaky sprinklers, toys and even bottle caps can hold enough water for mosquitoes to develop.
The best control is to make sure any containers with water are emptied at least once a week. Liquid insecticides like malathion and permethrim can help reduce the number of mosquitoes, but will not give total control. When using an insecticide, you should spray around shrubbery, house foundations, low hanging tree branches and other shaded and moist areas. Always read and follow all pesticide labels.
For more information, call the Walker County Extension Office at 706 638-2548 or stop by the office at 102 E. Napier Street in LaFayette.
Norman Edwards is coordinator of Walker County Extension Service.