The current wet weather and standing water has provided “perfect” conditions for mosquitoes. The three primary strategies that must be implemented to avoid mosquito problems and bites are: source reduction, personnel protections and insecticides.
It is important to routinely eliminate or reduce all mosquito breeding sites. This will effectively decrease mosquito populations by removing stagnant or standing water from items or areas that may collect water. These include: wheelbarrows, pet food or water dishes, saucers underneath flower pots, empty buckets, tires, toys, wading pools, birdbaths, ditches, and equipment. In addition, check gutters regularly to ensure they are draining properly and are not collecting water.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites by delaying or avoiding being outdoors during dawn or dusk when most mosquitoes are active. Use repellents that contain the following active ingredients: DEET or picaridin. Generally, DEET provides up to 10 hours of protection whereas picaridin provides up to 8 hours of protection. A product with a higher percentage of active ingredient will result in longer residual activity or repellency. For children, do not use any more than 30% active ingredient. Furthermore, do not use any repellents on infants less than two months old. Clothing can be sprayed with DEET or permethrin. However, be sure to wash clothing separately afterward. Before applying any repellent, always read the label carefully.
For stationary ponds, there are several products that may be used, such as Mosquito Dunks and/or Mosquito Bits. Both contain the active ingredient, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. Israelensis which is a bacterium ingested by mosquito larvae that results in death. The bacterium only kills mosquito larvae with no direct effects to fish or other vertebrates. Avoid making area-wide applications of contact insecticides because these are generally not effective, and may potentially kill many more beneficial insects and pollinators (e.g. bees) than mosquitoes.
The following items will not control mosquitoes:
Mosquito repellent plants (citronella plants)
Light traps or carbon dioxide traps.
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her by email at email@example.com or call 620-793-1910.