Controlling mosquitoes this summer
Barton County Extension Agent
Mosquitoes are one of many insects or arthropods that can have health affects.
Several years ago we really hit West Nile Virus hard in terms of getting horses vaccinated. We also know that West Nile Virus affects people as does malaria in the tropics. Both of these are spread by mosquitoes biting a person and sucking their blood and then biting and spreading it from person to person or from bird to animal or person.
Having said all of that, you can’t fight a forest fire with a hand held fire extinguisher. There’s just too much fire and fuel. By the same token you are not going to have much success by spraying or fogging adult mosquitoes with insecticides.
I realize no matter how much I tell you this, you want to try anyway. You may help the situation out a little if you spray all the vegetation in your yard with malathion or a permethrin spray. You will probably need to do this almost daily. The cities do it mostly to make the citizens feel better that they are trying to combat them.
The best protection is to get rid of old tires, buckets or bird baths that hold standing water and allow mosquitoes to breed. However there is always going to be some mud hole in the vacant lot down the street. The old remedy used to be to mix diesel fuel and malathion and spray those spots. The environmentalists might frown on that these days.
The best thing is to keep your grass mowed and weeds cut down. This will force the mosquitoes to different quarters from you.
Personally I like to go out when it is cooler at dusk and later or dawn when the mosquitoes like to go fly around as well. Thus the best thing to do is to not live in fear, but apply repellent with DEET when possible. Avon Skin-So Soft, Citrinella candles and other things can work also, especially if the DEET active ingredient causes an allergic skin reaction. For most of us it doesn’t, it just smalls foul, but does the job. I like the Cutter wipes or the Deep Woods Off spray. Just avoid getting it around your eyes and don’t touch your eyes or mouth if you get it on your hands. I recommend that in the hot weather months, you shower before bedtime to get it all off of you so you don’t get it on the bedding.
After a few weeks of hot, dry weather, the population should start to die off. For those of you who don’t like summer you will just have to wait for a freeze to permanently get rid of them for the year.