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Mosquito 101

What do I need to Know About Mosquitos?

Mosquito 101 – First of all, mosquitos in Tennessee are extremely troublesome, especially in neighborhoods where bodies of water or heavy forestation exist. U.S. Pest Protection is committed to offering environmentally friendly services and treatments for the communities we serve. Furthermore, U.S. Pest specializes in programs to protect the public health. We do so by controlling nuisance and disease carrying mosquitos, while at the same time protecting our environment and the public.

 

How do you control Mosquitos?

U.S. Pest has several mosquito control options, and all of them are backed by science and are effective.

  1. Larval Control is a key component to our mosquito control. The toxins from a specific bacterium (Bti) can be applied in the same way as our liquid products. To add, our larvicide treatments are very specific. Larvicide treatments only affect mosquitos, black flies, and midges.  Also, the larva is found in bodies of water. Most commonly, larva is found in areas such as dog bowls, ponds, low lying flooded areas, or areas of outlying moisture.
  2. In addition, our methods for application of our mosquito treatments are very specific to landscape. Liquid treatments applied to areas are the most effective for adult mosquito control. Additionally, our mosquito control and treatments take into account wind speeds, as well as any natural pollinator areas to avoid.
  3. When utilizing our fogging options, we use our low volume application machine. This machine treats residential, commercial, and municipalities.
  4. The CDC also has several ways to prevent mosquito bites.

Are Mosquito Treatments safe?

Consequently, mosquitoes can carry diseases. Every mosquito treatment applied by U.S. Pest is done with an effort to minimize the impact of our application on the target of mosquitos.  Additionally, modern mosquito control, paired with an educated consumer, can make a great impact on the community. Furthermore, this is done by providing less mosquitos and no impact to the citizens. As a result, U.S. Pest will always research and value conscience pesticide application for mosquitos. Most noteworthy, we will always research ways to protect the human population from many diseases that they could contract.

 

Is there an E in Mosquito(e)s ?

Let us know your thoughts on this serious question. Many people mis-pell this blood sucking word.  Either way, we will kill a mosquito, mosquitos, and mosquitoes!

Mosquito Treatment and Control Services

Our Experts Can Help Keep Your Home Mosquito-Free

Mosquito Biology

Understanding the Life Cycle of the Mosquito

Mosquitoes (Order Diptera, Family Culicidae) are fluent in Tennessee because of the varying natural and manmade bodies of water including Old Hickory Lake, Percy Priest Lake and even just small ½ acre ponds.  Mosquito’s are unlike any other insect in that they can be found virtually anywhere in the world and live in varying altitudes and climates. Mosquitos in the Nashville area are typically breeding in your own backyard and you don’t even know it.  The tell tell sign you have a mosquito is if you can see scales on the veins of their wings.

 

The Mosquito Life Cycle

stages-of-mosquitoes

While all mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce, different mosquito species are found in different habitats. Some mosquitoes are considered floodwater species that breed in temporary water habitats, while others are considered permanent water mosquitoes and breed in water sources that remain for long periods of time. Other species have evolved so specifically that they will only lay their eggs in natural or artificial containers. Each mosquito type can be found in our local lakes:

 

Lakes In Tennessee

 

Safeguarding Your Home

No matter what their preferred breeding habitat, all mosquitoes undergo the same four-stage life cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult, with the larval and pupal stages always being in water. Some ways you can safeguard your home from mosquitos and remove harborage or breeding water are the following DIY mosquito tips:

  1. Seal all Water Deposits
  2. Fix Water Leaks
  3. Protect and Clean Pools and Ponds
  4. Clean Bird Baths once a week
  5. Clean Rain Gutters
  6. Install screens on your windows and doors
  7. Drain standing water in any buckets, tires or flower pots
  8. Keep your grass short

protect-your-home-against-mosquitoes

 

Mosquito Eggs

Depending on the particular species, the female mosquito lays her eggs either individually or in attached groups called rafts. The eggs are placed either directly on the surface of still water. Also, sometimes eggs are placed in natural holes or in other areas that are prone to flooding such as potholes, irrigation, or flooding. Furthermore, the eggs may hatch within a few days depending on the temperature.

 

The Larvae Stage

Once the egg hatches, the larval stage begins. The larvae of most mosquito species hang suspended from the water surface because they need air to breath. An air tube, called a siphon, extends from the larva’s posterior to the water surface and acts as a snorkel. Larvae are called wigglers because they swim away in an ‘S’ fashion when in danger and dive deeper into the water source. The larval stage has four instars.  

 

The Pupa Stage

pupa-stage

In the pupa stage, no feeding occurs, however the pupa must still breathe air at the water’s surface and is sensitive to light, shadows, and other disturbances. Pupae are also physically active and employ a rolling or tumbling action to escape to deeper water, which is why they are commonly referred to as “tumblers”. The pupal stage lasts from 1 1/2 to 4 days, after which the pupa’s skin splits along the back allowing the newly formed adult to slowly emerge and rest on the surface of the water.

 

Adult Mosquitoes

adult-mosquito

Male Adult Mosquitos

The male adult mosquito will usually emerge first and will linger near the breeding site, waiting for the females. Mating occurs quickly after emergence due to high adult mortality rates. As much as 30% of the adult population can die per day. The females compensate for this high rate by laying large numbers of eggs to assure the continuation of the species. Male mosquitoes will live only 6 or 7 days on average, feeding primarily on plant nectars, and do not take blood meals.

Female Mosquitoes

Females with an adequate food supply can live up to 5 months or longer, with the average female life span being about 6 weeks. To nourish and develop her eggs, the female usually must take a blood meal in addition to plant nectars. She locates her victims by the carbon dioxide and other trace chemicals exhaled, and the temperature patterns they produce.

Did You Know:

Mosquitoes are highly sensitive to several chemicals including carbon dioxide, amino acids, and octenol. The average female mosquito’s flight range is between 1 and 10 miles, but some species can travel up to 40 miles before taking a blood meal. After each blood meal, the female will oviposit (lay) her eggs, completing the life cycle. While some species oviposit only once, others may lay eggs several times over the course of their lives.

 

Mosquito Facts and Myths

What Do You Know About Mosquitoes?

In addition, mosquitoes are an annoyance and have the potential to spread diseases. This page will provide you with an education on management efforts that are worthless, some mosquito facts, and a some insects that often get mistaken for mosquitoes.

 

Mosquito Control Myths

 

Bats and Mosquitoes

tennessee-bat

Myth:   Attract Bats and they will control your mosquitos….Wrong!

Fact: Studies have shown that while bats eat a huge number of insects, mosquitoes are only a small part of their diet. In addition, public health professionals have advised that bats can be infected with rabies, and that attempting to attract bats to your yard may increase the potential for human disease. The last thing you want is your yard and home full of bats and mosquitos, both that carry diseases.

 

Bug Zapper

bug-zapper

Myth:   We all need one of those old fashioned bug zappers that our grandparents had because you can hear them work… Wrong!

Fact:   Less than 10% of all the insects you’ve burned alive and heard their bodies burst were mosquitos.  In fact, the ones that bite, the females, make up only ½ of that 10%. Therefore, you should not subject your family to a mosquito zapper or bug zapper because they just aren’t effective.

 

Citronella Plant

Citronella-Plant

Myth:   Plant a Citronella plant around your pool or garden and all your mosquito problems are gone…. Wrong!

Fact:   In order for the scent of citronella to be strong enough to repel mosquitoes, some studies suggest the plant has to be crushed which wouldn’t make for a very pretty landscape or valuable use of your time.  

 

Mosquito Facts

  • Only the female mosquito bites. She needs the protein from blood to develop her eggs.
  • Males generally live only a few weeks while females live approximately two months.
  • Mosquitoes are most active just before sunset until sunrise, yet some species remain active and bite all day long.
  • Dog heartworm is now fairly common in several parts of the U.S. and is transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Mosquitoes actually inject their saliva into your skin to prevent blood clotting before they take your blood. This substance and your body’s reaction to it is what makes your skin bump up and itch.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to humans for a number of reasons. We exhale carbon dioxide which is an attractant for all biting insects. Other substances on our skin may also be attractive to mosquitoes such as certain body chemicals, along with soaps, lotions, perfumes, and hair care products.
  • Mosquitos are attracted to beer drinkers!
  • Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes than dark. Loose fitting clothes make it more difficult for them to bite you.
  • Repellents containing 10-30% DEET (N,Ndiethyl-meta-toluamide) are most effective. Repellents confuse mosquitoes by blocking the pores in your skin that allow mosquitoes to sense warmth and moisture in a person’s body.
  • Tires, birdbaths, flower pots, rain barrels, children’s toys, abandoned pools, tarps, and boats can all breed mosquitoes if they are holding water.

 

What is Not a Mosquito

 

The Midge

the-midge

The insects that are most commonly mistaken for mosquitoes are called midges. Midges are true flies that are closely related to mosquitoes, and resemble them somewhat, but most midges are non-biting insects.  

 

Crane Flies

crane-fly

Another flying insect that is commonly mistaken for a mosquito at times is the crane fly. Crane flies are also related to mosquitoes. They have much longer legs and larger wings and are non-biting pests. Crane flies are very common in Tennessee.

 

Why Do We Need Mosquito Control?

Mosquito Control and Protecting Your Health

There are really only two reasons to control mosquitoes; to avoid nuisance biting, and to preclude the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Nobody likes mosquitos. Some people seem to be an attractant to mosquitoes.  Most people don’t realize mosquitoes carry some of the world’s deadliest diseases. For example, almost one million people die every year from mosquito transmitted diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever. Furthermore to that fact, more and more cases have been discovered in Tennessee and the local Nashville area. In contrast, confirmed cases of West Nile Virus, encephalitis, dog heart-worm disease, Zika and Dengue Fever have been confirmed in Tennessee.

Mosquito-borne encephalitis

1. Mosquito-borne encephalitis in the U.S. is prevalent in several forms and is geographically wide-spread. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain and central nervous system, and is characterized by a high to moderate mortality rate, with some survivors left with permanent physical and mental disabilities.

West Nile Virus

2. West Nile virus, which in severe cases can cause encephalitis, entered the U.S. along the east coast in 1999 and has had serious ongoing implications for the rest of North America as it has spread across the country and remains a threat.

Heartworm

3. A growing concern for pet owners is dog heartworm. Dog heartworm occurs when a parasite transmitted by a mosquito becomes lodged, and grows, in the heart of the infected pet.

Besides the health concerns mosquitoes bring, the annoyance of not being able to enjoy outside without getting tons of bites is just unacceptable.

Mosquito Service & Solutions

Finally, if you have a concern about mosquitoes at your home or business, contact a professional pest control company. As a result, U.S. Pest Protection offers free inspections. Most noteworthy, our pest professionals can help identify the problem at hand and find a solution that protects your home and family.

Don’t Let Mosquitoes Take Over Your Environment

U.S. Pest has proven and successful mosquito treatments that are also bee friendly.  We offer year round prevention and control.

Larval Mosquito Control

Biological control of mosquitoes ranges from naturally occurring organisms such as birds, bats, fish, dragonflies, copepods and mosquito larvae, to artificially introduced organisms such as Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis (Bti) and Bacillus sphaericus (Bs).  

Chemical control of larval mosquitoes is used when and where biological control is not feasible.  

 

Adult Mosquito Control

Ultra low volume equipment truck mounted will be used for broad area treatments where adult mosquito treatments are a threat to the community or preventive measure for crowd or public access will be expected such as public parks, ball fields and can be treated quickly and efficiently for larvicide and adult control.  

Once it has been determined that adult mosquito populations have reached unacceptable levels, or the risk of mosquito-borne illness has become imminent, the application of chemicals to control adult mosquito populations is usually the culmination of an effective Integrated Mosquito Management program.  Surveillance, source reduction, larviciding, and public education are used in concert to reduce the quantity and frequency of adulticide applications. When necessary, chemical adulticides are always selected and used in the safest and most environmentally friendly way possible.

   

Source Reduction

Large scale drainage projects are important in reducing mosquito habitat. U.S. Pest does not attempt such projects, we will work closely with local agencies in identifying drainage problems. U.S. Pest has the ability to apply herbicides on a limited basis to roadside ditches, which helps both drainage and evaporation to reduce mosquito habitat. U.S. Pest also conducts neighborhood source reduction campaigns. Our inspectors often conduct house-to-house inspections as needed to reduce the production of urban mosquitoes, such as Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus, and educate homeowners to identify and remove mosquito habitat in order to control backyard production.

The Yellow Fever Mosquito or the AEDES AEGYPTI

The Asian Tiger Mosquito or the AEDES ALBOPICTUS

Illnesses these mosquitoes harbor:

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, two species capable of spreading viruses that cause Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever infection.

 

Tennessee is in a favorable climate area for mosquitos

For Ae aegypti, 71% of counties in the contiguous states are suitable, with the range covering much of the eastern part of the country south of the Great lakes, plus parts of several southwestern states. The group also found that for Ae albopictus, about 75% of counties are suitable, with the range extending further into the northeast and more limited in the southwest. At least 77% of counties had suitable climates for at least one of the species, and 69% were suitable for both (see CDC/J Med Entomol maps below).

What makes an area favorable?

Temperature is the strongest suitability factor for both Aedesspecies, and mild temperatures in winter months was a marker for the cumulative warmth that the insects need to become established. Chances increased if a county has at least 1 day with an average temperature of 50°F (10°C) from December through February.

Hendersonville and Tennessee as a whole experienced an extremely mild winter with over 50% of each month being well over 50 degrees.

Consistently cold winter temperatures reduce the likelihood of eggs surviving the winter, especially for Ae aegypti.

However, for Ae albopictus, precipitation was a strong factor for suitability, given that their egg-laying relies more on water sources filled with rain than on standing water created by human actions, where Ae aegypti are more likely to lay their eggs. She said that difference may explain why the Ae albopictus range tilts toward the eastern United States, away from the more arid Southwest.

Of 2,800 stations analyzed by Climate Central, 133 (across 21 states) saw record precipitation totals this year, and 685 saw yearly totals that were among the top 10 on record. 2018 is already the fifth-wettest year on record in the contiguous U.S.

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