A swarm of mosquitoes in the yard is the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with during summer. From laying eggs in the swimming pool to leaving itchy bites all over your skin and transmitting diseases, these pesky insects are no joke.
Here we discuss why mosquitoes come out in the summer and share some common maintenance mistakes you need to avoid to get rid of this huge problem.
When Do Mosquitoes Come Out?
Mosquito season starts in the spring and lasts throughout the summer. Mosquitoes come out when temperatures outside reach at least 50 degrees, although they are rarely active in the middle of the day since direct sunlight can quickly dehydrate them. Note that the times these insects are most active can vary depending on their species.
What Can Make Your Mosquito Problem Worse?
As soon as the weather warms up, even a small puddle of stagnant water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. You can, however, prevent these pests from shacking up in your backyard and throwing a monkey wrench into your outdoor plans by paying attention to the problem areas below:
1. Neglecting the Birdbath
A birdbath in your garden offers a place for birds to bathe and adds an ornamental flair to the overall landscape around your home. If you neglect this little basin and forget to change the water, it can end up being a stagnant pool that invites more harmful insects than feathered friends. In order to keep your birdbath fresh, change the water and rinse and scrub it every two to four days. In the summer months, the water evaporates more rapidly and, therefore, requires more frequent refills and cleanings.
2. Leaving the Kiddie Pool Outside
For kids who want to stay cool all summer long, kiddie pools are a popular attraction. These above-ground aquatic sanctuaries are a magnet for toddlers and school-age children alike, but they can also be a magnet for mosquitoes if not taken care of properly. If the pool is pretty small, draining and cleaning it should not be much of a hassle. If it is quite large and draining water does not seem like the best idea, use a skimmer of some sort, like a butterfly net, to remove debris that has blown into the pool. Then, use a tarp as a cover when the pool is not in use. Rain can turn the pool water into a larvae factory in a blink of an eye, so you want to keep it out as well.
3. Leaving the Trash Cans Open
Keeping the trash cans outside your home covered is more than a courtesy to sanitation workers; it also prevents bugs and rodents from hanging around. Aside from the garbage itself, the water that collects in these waste containers when left open attracts insects and can send mosquito-borne diseases your way. After you use one of these bins, make sure the lid is securely fastened. Typically you will hear a clicking sound. It should also remain firmly in place during a rainstorm so that the inside remains dry and insect-free.
4 Leaving Water Bowls Out
It is essential to keep your pets hydrated during this time of the year. But if you are not too careful, those small water bowls that your pets are fond of might become popular with buzzing mosquitoes and critters like deer and raccoons, too. These bowls are small, but provide more than enough water to get insects hatching. So, when your cat or dog is inside, dump the water, store the dish away, and then refill it the next them you let your pets out. You should always change the water to keep it fresh for your pets and free of mosquitoes.
5. Forgetting to Empty Plant Saucers
If you are growing a mini-garden consisting mainly of potted plants on a windowsill, patio or deck, beware – it might be bringing some life of the insect kind to your home. Plant saucers – those shallow dishes that sit beneath the pots to catch excess water draining from the soil – can be a spot for mosquitoes in the summer. Although it is fine to let these trays collect a little bit of water, you should empty them by draining them into the sink within 30 to 60 minutes of a watering session or a heavy rainfall. Do not let these saucers sit for too long as eggs normally hatch within two to three days.
6. Ignoring Wheel Ruts
Mosquito larvae can thrive in any body of standing water, and the shallow ruts carved into the grass by a lawnmower or tracks dug into the ground by a heavy vehicle are not exempt. If you see such depressions in your backyard or garden, it is a good idea to fill them with soil or sod. Not only will it keep rainwater from pooling where it does not belong, but it will also improve the overall look of your property.
7. Overlooking Old Tires
Whether you have a pile of spare or old tires or a tire swing in your yard, make sure to include it in your maintenance checklist. Because a tire has indentations around its body, it can collect and retain water, which means that it can also attract pests and even rot. Empty the water out of any tire in your yard from time to time, or consider moving it to a covered area like a garage where it cannot collect water. If you have a tire swing, drill holes on the bottom to allow water to drain instantly.
8. Failing to Clean the Gutters
This should not come as a surprise. When you have a gutter system full of leaves, twigs, bird nests and other debris, rainfall that usually occurs during peak summer will not be able to effectively drain away from your home. Simply, clogged gutters and downspouts lead to stagnant water – and stagnant water leads to a scourge of mosquitoes! This is why it is important to have your gutters checked and cleaned on a regular basis. A professional has the right set of tools and experience to meticulously clear out your gutters and prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for disease-carrying insects.
How to Prevent Mosquitoes With Gutter Guards
Because mosquitoes can lay eggs right next to stagnant water, areas like your gutters and downspouts – where small pools of water can be easily overlooked – are the ideal places for these pests to breed undisturbed. By installing a gutter protection system, however, you can mitigate the problem before it spirals out of control and leaves nasty, swollen bite marks on you and your family.
Gutter guards, screens or covers prevent debris from entering your rain gutters. As a result, the number of times your gutters need to be cleaned is minimized, saving you effort and money in the long run. And since gutter guards get rid of debris, the chances of having clogs or blockages in your gutters are also reduced. This means little or no stagnant water in your gutters! Your home becomes unappealing for annoying insects like mosquitoes to use as a breeding ground. Gutter guards on seamless gutters also function as a physical barrier to birds, possums and rodents.