Don't let your yard turn into a 'Mosquito Disneyland'


We all know that after a heavy rain one of the things we need to watch out for is dumping standing water in our yards.

We also know that South Texas is a perfect breeding ground for the little blood-sucking pests. But I wanted to give everyone some mosquito facts to remind us just how quickly our yards can turn into a "Mosquito Disneyland" for them.

Some of these facts you may already know, but others I think may surprise. I know they did me.

According to Terminex, They prefer warmer and more humid climates, so that explains why we have so many of them here in South Texas. Most mosquitoes can survive in temperatures between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As the area where you live begins to reach these temperatures, mosquito eggs will begin to hatch.

There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Around the home, standing water left in flowerpots, plants, tires and open containers can create inviting mosquito habitats. Drains, sewage areas and uncovered trash cans pose a more public hazard. One of the keys to mosquito control is ensuring that this type of standing water is eliminated.

The mosquito life cycle takes place in four stages, beginning with the egg. All mosquito eggs require some form of water to hatch. Some species of female mosquitoes lay eggs directly on the water, while others lay eggs in small depressions where water can collect. In some cases, eggs laid outside of water can survive many years before hatching. After exposure to water, most eggs hatch within 24-72 hours.

Once eggs hatch, larvae emerge. These larvae are sometimes referred to as “wrigglers,” as they can be seen wriggling their bodies in the water. Most are surface feeders, surviving on algae, bacteria, protozoans and other organic material ingested through their mouth brushes. Larvae develop for seven to 10 days before reaching the pupal stage. Pupae do not feed and instead, spend most of their time on the surface of the water, taking in air. The pupal stage lasts one to three days before an adult mosquito emerges.

Mosquito breeding takes place about 28 hours after the adult emerges. Often, once a female has mated, she can continue to lay eggs for the rest of her life. A female can produce between 50 and 500 eggs in her first brood. Subsequent broods have fewer eggs than the first, but some females can produce as many as 10 broods.

Adult male mosquitoes do not take blood meals. They live for about a week or two, surviving on the nectar of plants. Female adult mosquitoes can live for over a month. They also feed on plant nectar, but they require a blood meal in order to reproduce. Most mosquitoes survive the winter as eggs or larvae, before the mosquito reproduction life cycle begins again.

According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service in Bexar County Entomologist Molly Keck mosquitoes don't stray very far from where they hatched. So if you think about it it's easy to understand why not letting them breed in our backyards in the first place is so important. They'll just keep coming back to their home!

And a few last notes, they seem to be most active early morning and in the evening hours. When you spray for them remember to spray in the bushes and specifically under the leaves. Also they tend to hang out in the grass as well so be sure and spray there too.

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