With spring in full swing we can look forward to lovely summer evenings spent outdoors with friends and family. Unfortunately, mosquitoes, are also more abundant and active during spring and summer.
Mosquitoes can be found almost everywhere in South Africa where it is warm, wet and with a lot of vegetation. There are several different species of mosquitoes which each have their own favoured breeding and feeding places.
As people spend more time outdoors or leave doors and windows open on hot summer nights, they are likely to become victims of blood seeking female mosquitoes.
The immature stages of all mosquitoes are aquatic, but the different species require very specific environments in which to breed. Some species breed only in tree-root holes, others in stagnant ponds or salt marshes and others are found only in mountain streams.
There are a few things we can do to prevent them from breeding near you.
Mosquitoes lay up to 250 eggs at a time in still water. Mosquito eggs take between seven to ten days to hatch, so draining standing water on a weekly basis will prevent these eggs from hatching. By breaking the breeding cycle, one can eliminate the need to use pesticides against adult mosquitoes.
It’s often difficult to stop mosquitoes from breeding entirely, so here are some things to do to keep adult mosquitoes at bay:
- Check for items that might hold water including wheelbarrows, tyres, toys, garden equipment, pool covers, plastic sheeting, pipes, canoes, recycling bins
- Remove standing water in ditches, clogged rain gutters, flower pots, plant saucers, puddles, buckets, jars and cans
- Completely change the water in birdbaths and wading pools weekly
- Drill drainage holes in tire swings
- Stock ornamental ponds and fountains with fish that eat mosquito larvae
- Apply insect repellent, following the directions carefully
- Use mosquito nets over beds
- Use sodium vapour or yellow lights rather than incandescent or mercury vapour lights to reduce the attraction of mosquitoes to light
There are a number of products available which can be used against mosquitoes. A professional pest control operator will be able to advise on the suitability of products and how to treat serious problems. Killing adult mosquitoes with aerosols is effective in the immediate area, but does not provide long term control. Residual spraying of the mosquito resting sites can help reduce the problem. The application of one spot of paraffin or some other light oil in water butts can help to kill the wriggling mosquito larvae.
Skin repellents, such as Tabard, and clothing repellents which contain permethrin can be very effective against mosquitoes. Citronella candles and similar products provide only temporary relief.
Strangely, mosquitoes seem to prefer the blood of beer drinkers, but are repelled by garlic and chives.
For more information and advice on pest control visit www.rentokil.co.za