What can I do to reduce the mosquito population?

Here is the enemy: larvae

But those are mosquito larvae, which don’t bite.

Right, but once larvae hatch, it is really too late for that batch. One female mosquito, with an occasional protein infusion from blood, lays 100+ eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae (as pictured), which fly away as adults in a few days.

Can’t we just spray and kill all the mosquitoes?

Air-borne insecticides, a temporary fix, may kill 80% of adult mosquitoes in the vicinity, but do not affect eggs, larvae, or pupae (the larvae who have already moved to a cocoon-like phase). Within a few days, the population is restored. Besides, many species can fly a mile or more. And even worse, the more we spray, the more likely mosquitoes are to become resistant to the insecticides we use.

So what do we do?

We must eliminate stagnant water! It sounds easy but requires imagination. Empty out birdbaths, pails of water, saucers under plants, and whatever else can hold water. And look overhead: be sure your house eaves drain. Spill out ALL standing water every 3-5 days to be safe.

How about ponds and streams?

A biological agent called Bti, widely available, prevents larvae from growing into adults. If the water is running, no problem. Swimming pools usually have enough chlorine to kill larvae.

Where can I get more information?

West Chester Borough has a new program and web page for residents to help their neighbors eliminate mosquito breeding. See here.

The County has two relevant pages, one on avoiding mosquito-borne diseases generally and one more specifically West Nile Virus. Both stress how to keep mosquitoes from breeding on our property. In fact, the County health regulations require us to avoid breeding mosquitoes.

See also excellent advice from the West Baton Rouge Parish Council Mosquito Abatement program, including video showing where mosquito larvae flourish and what they look like.

And talk to your neighbors, especially any who may be circulating information on mosquito control.

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2 thoughts on “What can I do to reduce the mosquito population?

  1. Pingback: Don’t Spray Me is Back – Hello, West Chester

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