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Mosquito tips

By Tara McKnight
Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent, horticulture, Wichita County

With all of the recent rains, mosquitoes are coming out in full force all over town. Here is a little basic information about mosquitoes as well as the best way to control them. Mosquitoes lay their eggs on the sides of different materials at or near the water line. The eggs will complete development and hatch once they are flooded. If no additional rain occurs, the eggs can withstand desiccation for up to a year and will still hatch when flooded. This is why we do not have any mosquitoes around until after a heavy rain.

There are several items that you can do to try and control the mosquito population in your neighborhood. By trying to control the mosquito population you are trying to reduce the future population as it takes 10 to 14 days for a mosquito to go from hatching to an adult. The controls we suggest today have no effect on current adults as adult females can probably live a couple of weeks in the heat of the summer but can live much longer with abundant food and cooler temperatures. One interesting fact is that only female mosquitoes bite. Female mosquitoes need blood in order to produce eggs. Male mosquitoes are the ones that swarm and fly around. They are annoying, but they do not bite. Here are a few items that you can do around the house.

--After watering your plants, dump out any standing water that has collected under the pots.

--Dump and rinse out any pet water containers or anything else that holds water every few days.

--Keep your lawn mowed. Keeping the lawn mowed reduces the area where a mosquito can live.

--If there is a location of standing water that you are unable to dump and clean, place a mosquito dunk into the water. This will kill the mosquito larvae and not harm other birds, plants, pets, or humans.

--Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are out. This is between dusk and dawn. If you need to go outside (because it is so nice outside right now), where a mosquito repellant with DEET in it. Make sure your children are well protected from mosquitoes as well. This is a major step that needs to happen before you go outside. Mosquito bites are unpleasant to deal with after the fact, but they can also carry disease. Protection is key. With everyone working together to try and control mosquitoes, hopefully we can reduce the population of mosquitoes around your home as well as in your neighborhood

Your garden and landscape questions are always welcome. You may either contact me at our County Extension office, 940-716-8610, or by e-mail, tcmcknight@ag.tamu.edu. You are always encouraged to visit the Wichita County Master Gardener website at www.overthegardengate.org. Another great website to visit for very useful garden hints and answers is http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/. This article, along with every article, will also be featured on www.joetomwhite.com 24 hours a day under county agents.

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