It is that time of year again, mosquito season is upon us and in full biting force. In East Tennessee you can find some 49 different mosquito species. Many species are relatively harmless, but some of them do have the ability to transmit diseases. There are roughly 17 species cause the most problems for humans.
Mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, several other diseases, most recently diagnosed in Tennessee is ‘chickungunya’. Mosquitoes can also bite and affect animals, transmitting things like heartworm in dogs or eastern equine encephalitis in horses.
Protecting your home from mosquitoes is a best practice to protect your family from bites and potential diseases.
Prevention is Proactive
Get rid of the water. Mosquitoes use standing water to breed and create more blood sucking pests. If you can do regular assessments of your home and property to get rid of any standing water (dog bowls, drainage pooling, trash cans (lids), buckets, gutters, kids toys, etc. Getting rid of the breeding grounds will go a long way in ridding your yard of mosquitoes. Talking to your neighbors about doing similar will help your home as well. Mosquitoes do not know to stay out of your yard if they were born in someone else’s yard. It’s a mutual benefit for everyone to keep standing water at bay in your yards.
If you have a pond or pooling area that is not going to go away any time soon, or lingers around after a rain, then utilize a larvicide to kill off any mosquito activity.
Building some garden areas around the house using some mosquito preventative plants will help to dissuade the blood suckers from making your house their home.
- Citronella: Yes, you can buy the citronella candle at the store, but did you know that it is a plant you can grow. There are few different types of plants, leafy and grass, to try out. But putting in a bunch of citronella plants will help start your mosquito free garden zone.
- Rosemary: Thinking of starting an herb garden? Put a bunch of rosemary into that plan. Rosemary has a number of methods to keep out the mosquitoes. Grow the plant and you can also put the leaves on the grill to create an aromatic smoke to fend off mosquitoes in the area.
- Catnip: Plant some catnip around the deck or patio for some added protection. You can get hundreds of seeds for next to nothing and put catnip plants around the house.
- Geraniums: Looking for some color to this mosquito free zone? Geraniums can bring in the color in hanging baskets or ground planters. You can find all types of colors to match this organic mosquito repellent.
- Basil, Lavender, Lemon grass, Mint are also helpful organic mosquito repellents
Invite some bats. Yes, this might seem a bit freaky, but mosquitoes will make up a large portion of a bat’s diet. If you put a ‘bat house’ (think birdhouse, but for bats) on the perimeter of your property then a few bats will eat a few thousand insects (mosquitoes included) in the course of a night.
Do not forget to use insect repellents containing DEET when going outside. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you are outside working or lounging around is a good idea. This way you are not a standing target for mosquitoes to feed on. Avoiding wearing perfumes, lotions, or hair spray while outside many of those scents will actually attracts mosquitoes.
This might seem common sense, but keep mosquitoes outside of the house. When checking your house for standing water take a few more moments to check your window and door screens for any holes. Even the smallest hole can give access to your home for a mosquito. Screen patches do not cost a lot of money and are easily applied.
Our local government agencies will routinely spray for mosquitoes. In particular they will spray in areas where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile Virus. For more information on these practices or current concerns you can contact TVA’s Mosquito Management Team at 1-800-288-2483 or the local health department.
If you have tried and tried and still have concerns over the mosquito population in your home then feel free to give us a call. We will do a thorough inspection and apply a residual mosquito treatment to ward off those adult biting mosquitoes.