Help – We Have Mosquitoes Everywhere!!

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Since we received large amounts of rain from Hurricane Florence over two weeks ago, the mosquito population has exploded. I have heard on the news and seen press releases about counties and cities in the eastern part of North Carolina where the mosquitos are so bad, that they have initiated spray programs. In my own yard in the City of Monroe, I have noticed there are more of this aggravating pest.

There is a product that is considered an organic control that is commonly referred to as mosquito dunks. They are sold as a wafer or smaller bits that contain a natural bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) that kills the mosquito larvae. It can be used in backyard water gardens, containers, birdbaths, ditches, and other places where there may be standing water. For water gardens or backyard ponds, many gardeners use the mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to control mosquito larvae. Moving streams do not need treatment as mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in standing and/or stagnant water. Many of the chemical insecticides that are sprayed to control mosquitoes are broad spectrum and kill not only the mosquitoes which are the target pest, but can also kill beneficial insects such as honeybees, butterflies, and a host of others. Always read and follow the label directions on any pesticide you use – it is the law!

In my case, I am wearing long sleeves & pants and using a bug repellent when I am in my yard. I have also tried to empty standing water from pot trays, bird baths, and even my wheelbarrow because it catches and holds water when turned upside down. This coming weekend, I will get on a ladder and make sure my gutters are clean and I will also make sure to empty the extensions on the downspouts (if they have corrugations, they can hold water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs).

Here is a link to an excellent article from Dr. Michael Waldvogel, NC State Extension Specialist (Household & Structural Entomology) with information about the life cycle and more suggestions for controlling mosquitoes around the home and community.

Once the weather cools and we begin to dry out, the mosquito population should decline.

If you have questions about mosquito control, give me a call at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Union County office, 704-283-3729.

Debbie Dillion – Horticulture Extension Agent