It is Mosquito season in Knoxville TN
Here in Knoxville TN there are 49 species of mosquitoes. Most are just annoying but there are a couple that go beyond annoyance and pose a safety risk. Mosquitoes are the deadliest species on the planet transmitting malaria that kills one child every 30 seconds mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The season here runs March through October depending on the weather and every year more and more people complain about not being able to enjoy the outside without being eaten alive.
The Asian tiger mosquito aedes aegypti is the most common evil vampire we see in this area. Mosquitoes look for water as the egg, larvae, and pupae all require it in order to develop into the biting adult. A mosquito eggs can become full blown adults in 5-12 days. The females live about 21-45 days while the males have only 1 week to get their business done before death. This of course all depends on species and water temperature. They can even lay the eggs in areas that will become flooded later. The female is the only one who feeds on your blood because she needs it to produce the eggs. Her proboscis is .1mm thick and this is what she uses to feed. The proboscis includes the Labium hiding 6 needles. Two of these act like saws to cut into your skin, two to hold the wound open, and one to suck your blood. Each feeding takes about 0.01 milliliter. The last injects anticoagulants to help the blood flow freely and this is what give us the tell tell itchy reaction associated with mosquitoes. Are you having nightmares yet? She then separates the water from the blood and expels it on your skin while she eats. YUCK!
Despite the Zika scare of the last several years, La Crosse Encephalitis is the main concern here in the Knoxville area. La Crosse Encephalitis is most dangerous in children 16 and younger with the potential to cause brain inflammation, seizures, paralysis, and even death. Mosquitoes have been known to spread many diseases across the world such as dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria, and the previously mentioned making it more dangerous than a herd of angry hungry hungry hippos. Although these are a real danger, we don’t see much of the really bad affects here. If you have an issue just go see the doctor, don’t listen to me. Dangit Jim, I’m a killer, not a healer.
Prevention is key. Just like many things in life if you can stop the problem from starting you are ahead of the game. Once you have to deal with it, it’s not as easy to fix. The most effective way to prevent most pests is to use their biology against them. They require water to hatch eggs so it’s pretty simple, remove the water. Now you cannot get rid of all the standing water but the more you eliminate the better off you will be. They can use a space as small as a bottle cap so get looking. Some of the main offenders are potted plants, kids toys, gutters, storage items outside, and tires. All you have to do is tip the water out once a week or more. If you have a bird bath don’t forget that, change the water weekly. Do you have a frog pond or a fountain? Make sure the water is constantly moving. As long as the pump is working this should prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Even if you do everything correctly you will still have water off your property and you can’t very well manage your entire neighborhood. We all have that one neighbor who has 3 cars on blocks, a stack of tires and parts for 30 more projects strewn about. That is our mosquito friend. Ok, maybe “friend” is a little too nice. Those mosquitoes breeding in his junkyard will be out and about looking for blood and your nice American dream family playing in the back yard look pretty tasty to this maternal swarm of itchy. So I know that’s not very encouraging but there is more that you can do.
Applying repellents can have a huge impact on your tasty level. Just don’t fall for all the citronella products. At the end of the day, they are all junk. Long sleeves can also deter mosquitoes but I know here in Maryville TN I want nothing to do with long sleeves in the summer. I would be a greasy puddle after 5 minutes. Let’s go back to biology again. Mosquitoes weigh 2-10 milligrams. That’s almost nothing, a slight wind could throw them off course. So if you want to enjoy your deck just install some fans to move the air. They don’t have to blow your toupee off, just create some turbulence so they have trouble flying to you. It’s hot anyway, wouldn’t a fan be nice? Another option is to install bat houses. They eat more moths than mosquitoes but if you have a large mosquito problem they will eat what is available.
A professional treatment is always and option but must be applied monthly at minimum to maintain control. There is no such thing as elimination when it comes to mosquitoes. Remember, even if you did everything right and got a treatment, if your neighbor is breeding them you will only get so far. With that said, a professional application of an adulticide to the trees and bushes will reduce the numbers if they do come onto your property. We do this all the time with great results, allowing our clients to enjoy their yard again without the fear of these little vampires ruining the family BBQ. Schedule a treatment a couple days before and little Johnys 5th birthday will be spectacular and you won’t have to photoshop out all the mosquito bites later.
Phoenix Pest Control serves Knox and Blount counties in East Tennessee.
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