It’s getting to be that time of year again. Flowers are popping up, leaves are sprouting on tree branches, and as the weather gets warmer people flock to the outdoors.
Whether it’s grilling in the backyard, sitting in the stands for sporting events, or trying to relax poolside, enjoying the sun and breeze is unavoidable.
That is until the clouds roll in and open up a downpour. It’s also getting to be that time of year again too.
Amounts of rainfall can differ depending on location but just one inch of rain covering an acre of land can actually amount to almost 27,000 gallons of water.
That’s a lot of water to be sitting on the ground. And where there is sitting water during high temperatures there’s one more thing that comes along with it: mosquitoes.
Nothing can ruin that perfect summer evening faster than hearing the hum of wings.
Mosquitoes are attracted to still water because their larvae and pupae live in the water until they reach adulthood.
Some prime examples of where mosquitoes lay eggs include temporary pools created by rain accumulation, floodplains along river banks and streams, any container that holds water or fills up after rain, and holes in trees that collect rainwater.
Mosquitoes have the inherent ability to delay development when temperatures get too cold.
They put themselves on hold for months at a time until there is enough water or warmth to meet their needs for growth, which is why April showers bring not only May flowers, but also an outburst of the pesky insects.
The most immediately irritating side effect of a mosquito bite is the itchy, raised bump left on the victim’s skin.
This is caused by the body’s histamines fighting off the protein left by the insect’s saliva. These bites can be easily treated by over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines.
Those with mosquito bite allergies can experience fever, abdominal pain, and rarely anxiety, chest tightness, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of the tongue, eyes, or face.
Mosquitoes can also act as carriers of parasites and diseases, carrying them from person to person. West Nile Virus and Zika have both made headlines, while heartworm disease is a concern every year for pet owners.
Many different measures have been tried to control the mosquito population. Since mosquitoes need water to develop, reducing still water sources is an effective long-term approach.
Keep pools properly chlorinated, overturn any buckets or planters that might collect water. Local pest control companies are able to use chemical products to help prevent infestations.
Cover up as much of your skin as possible while outdoors. Use insect repellent whenever necessary. DEET is a chemical compound that has been proven to ward off mosquitoes.
It is effective when applied directly to clothing or skin. More natural repellents such as essential oils containing lemon and eucalyptus are available.