There are about 200 different species of mosquitoes in the United States, all of which live in specific habitats, exhibit unique behaviors and bite different types of animals. Despite their differences, all mosquitoes share common traits, such as a four-stage life cycle. After the female mosquito obtains a blood meal (male mosquitoes do not bite), she lays her eggs directly on the surface of stagnant water or in an area where water may collect and flood the eggs. The eggs hatch and mosquito larva emerge. The larva live in the water, feed and develop into the third stage of the life cycle called a pupa. The pupa also live in the water, but no longer feed. Finally, the mosquito emerges from the pupal case as a fully developed adult, ready to bite.
Controlling potential mosquito breeding habitats is the first step in controlling the mosquito population. Here are a few steps homeowners can follow:
Eliminate standing water in buckets, plastic covers, toys, flower pots, or any other container where mosquitoes can breed.
Empty, clean, and change the water in bird baths, outdoor fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, dog bowls, and potted plant trays at least once a week to destroy potential habitats.
Drain or fill temporary pools of water with dirt, sand, or stones.
Fill tree holes and stumps with mortar.
Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc.
Keep swimming pool water treated and circulating.
Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, or other containers that collect and hold water.
Cut down weeds and mow lawns regularly.
Clear roof gutters of debris.
Repair leaky outdoor faucets.
Canoes and other boats should be turned over if not covered.
When outside, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. Some species of mosquito are attracted to dark clothing and some can bite through snug fitting clothing. When practical, wear long sleeves and pants.
If inside, make sure window and door screens are "bug tight". Replace your outdoor lights with yellow bug lights which tend to attract less mosquitoes than ordinary lights.