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Be on the lookout for mosquitos
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With the recent heavy rains and subsequent flooding in our area, be on the lookout for an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes require still water ponds or pools to lay their eggs and develop. A female will lay eggs every third night of her life span of several weeks. Females lay their eggs into water making a small “egg raft” of 100 to 300 eggs that will hatch into larvae that feed on the microorganisms in the water. The second stage is a non-feeding pupa from which the adult then develops. This can take from 7-10 days for the cycle to be complete.
When we have flooding in low lying area and ditches like it has been recently, this creates the perfect environment for a mosquito to lay her egg rafts. Still, calm water is necessary for the eggs and larvae. Also, the microorganisms in the water from the warm, moist conditions provide plenty of food for the growing larvae. Some of the water, we can do nothing to prevent especially after the amount of rain that we have received lately, but there are a few things you can do to prevent even more mosquitos from developing around your property.
* Empty any artificial water-holding containers such as buckets, used tires, water bowls and birdbaths at least once a week.
* Check any tarps around your property after heavy rains and drain off excess water.
* Make sure rain gutters are clean of debris, and try to keep holes and puddles filled or drained.
* For large tanks, an aerator can sometimes be used to prevent eggs from being able to hatch, as long as the water moves fast enough.
* You can also purchase mosquito- eating fish for your tanks or ponds to keep the numbers down.
For personal protection from the mosquitoes that do survive, DEET is the best active ingredient to look for in a repellant. The more DEET that a product has the longer it will protect you. Anything over 33% DEET is not recommended. Please, as always, read directions for safe application, especially for children. Wearing DEET or permethrin treated long-sleeved clothing for adults, and netting for infant carriers will also go a long way in preventing bites.
Summer is a wonderful time of year for enjoying nature and the great outdoors, and the recent rains are very welcome. A little knowledge and a little care will keep your summer comfortable, and free of the irritation of mosquito bites. For more information about preventing mosquito breeding sites, please stop by our office or give me a call.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at or calling 620-793-1910