Ahhhh… DC in the summer. Great free concerts, movies on the mall, everyone out and about, bbqs and hikes in Rock Creek, the heat, the humidity, and… the mosquitoes. This summer is promising to be a bad bug year. After a very mild winter, a warm and wet spring, and the promise of a hot summer we need to be ready for the invasion.
What are we talking about…
Mosquitoes used to be an annoyance that came out at dawn and dusk. But with the recent introduction of the Asian Tiger mosquito, they are out all day and night. The Tiger mosquito is known for its white stripped body, and its aggressive and flighty behavior. Mosquitoes have introduced and spread a number of nasty diseases, including West Nile virus, Malaria and Dengue. Tiger Mosquitoes, like all mosquitoes, carry heartworm that affects dogs. Of course, they also ruin outdoor activities with their bites. If you’ve ever had one buzzing about your head when you got to bed, their high pitched whine is a nightmare before you even fall asleep.
How About Some Control?
There are a few simple steps we can all take to help alleviate the problem this summer. One of the most effective is finding and eliminating, or treating standing water, the habitat that mosquitoes breed in and the larva live in. Mosquito larva can thrive in very small amounts of water so it is important to check around your property daily. Things to look out for are: open trash cans and trash (cans, bottles, etc), puddles that last four or more days after a rain, change the water in birdbaths and kiddy pools regularly, and check saucers under plants. Keeping gutters clean and lawns/weeds trimmed will help by eliminating some of the adult mosquito’s favorite places to hang out.
So they’re here…Now what?
The bbq is already planned and you want your guests to come for dinner, not to be dinner, what can you do? A real kindness is to have a few products on hand, such as low odor, environmentally friendly granules that can be spread in the yard and standing water 24 hours before the party to kill mosquito larva and adults. Lighting citronella candles and/or citronella coils and sticks will keep your yard from being an inviting environment for mosquitoes. Having a DEET based spray, or if you prefer a more natural product try Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, available so that your guests can spray before venturing outside will be the biggest help in avoiding bites. And just in case all of your mosquito battle techniques fail and one (or more) of your guests wind up with a bite…or two, try a bite relief pen.