All The Ways To Attract Mosquitoes In Maryland
The scent of spring is in the air! Tender plants are once again peeking out of the moist soil. Warm air ushers in rain-filled skies sent to wash off the effects of winter and prepare the way for the upcoming hot and hazy days of summer. While we happily say goodbye to “old man winter” and welcome the spring rains, it does not come without a price. Spring rains facilitate a prime breeding ground for one of the most dangerous animals on the planet - the dreaded mosquito.
Three Common Maryland Mosquito Species And The Problems They Cause
Here in Maryland, we experience problems with three different types of mosquitoes. Though they all bite, each transmit different diseases:
- Culex Mosquitoes: Culex mosquitoes are commonly referred to as a house mosquito and can be found all over the United States. They come in a variety of colors and are usually gray in color with white, silver, or green/blue lustrous scales. They have two wings, a set of antennae, long bodies, and slender legs. It is known to transmit diseases such as West Nile and West/East Equine Encephalitis.
- Anopheles Mosquitoes: Anopheles mosquitoes are known as “marsh mosquitoes” and “malaria mosquitoes.” They are commonly found in saltwater marshes, but some species breed in freshwater sources such as streams, river edges, rain ponds, swamps, mangroves, and rice fields. The Anopheles mosquito is typically dark brown in color. It has three sections to its body. When it is resting, its stomach area points upward. It shares a long body and slender legs with the rest of the species. The Anopheles is known for transmitting malaria though this is not a problem in the United States.
- Aedes Mosquitoes: This species of mosquito was originally found in tropical and subtropical regions. However, recently, the Aedes mosquito has been found on every continent except for Antarctica. The Eastern tree hole mosquito is the most common Aedes mosquito found in the East. They have dark legs without bands; a black band circles the middle of its body surrounded by silver and white on the side. Its abdomen is black with silver scales. The Aedes is known for transmitting the following diseases: chikungunya, yellow fever, dengue, and the Zika virus.
Breeding And Feeding
Multiple species of mosquitoes can be found in the Maryland area. Even though there are thousands of different species, they all have one thing in common: water. They especially enjoy stagnant water. A “bowl” in the cup of a leaf or something as small as a bottle cap can bring life to a hoard of mosquitoes. Other areas that invite mosquitoes to breed are old tires, playground equipment, toys, pools, birdbaths, or potted plant trays.
Most mosquitoes are dawn to dusk feeders. During the heat of the day, most rest in cool places and wait for the evenings (although they still bite if disturbed). Females have tube-like mouthparts that pierce the skin of the host and feed on the blood. They are motivated to find a host as they need a blood meal to produce eggs. While feeding, their bite can also transmit pathogens to future hosts. There are three ways that mosquitoes locate their hosts: chemical, visual, and heat sensors.
- Chemical: The female can sniff out blood sources; it really likes type O. They seem to be least attracted to type A. People with an abundance of skin bacteria can influence how mosquitoes feast on them. The ankle and feet seem to be their favorite areas to bite as there is an abundance of bacterial colonies.
The female mosquito looks for carbon dioxide which is found in the exhaled breath of a host. They have an organ that senses plumes of carbon dioxide. Pregnant women and those with elevated body temperatures from exercising or drinking alcohol are high on their menu as they exhale more carbon dioxide than normal.
- Visual: Although mosquitoes do not have great eyesight, they use their vision to find their targets. People who wear red or black clothing get bitten more than those who wear muted, light colors.
- Heat Sensors: Mosquitoes have thermal heat sensors; therefore, they can sense heat in their prey.
Strategies To Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Maryland Property
Though you may avoid the outdoors to limit your exposure to mosquitoes, this is not feasible all the time. When you find yourself outside, there are some strategies that will help protect you from a mosquito bite:
- There are a variety of sprays on the market to help combat mosquitoes. If you are looking for a natural repellent, oil of eucalyptus is endorsed by the CDC.
- Mosquito coils and lamps use an insecticide to drive mosquitoes away; however, fumes from these devices can be hazardous and irritate the skin.
- If you have plans outside, plan it on a day when it is breezy. Mosquitoes have a difficult time flying in winds over 1 MPH. Plug-in or natural fans can also get the job done.
- Take note of the time when you go outdoors. Mosquitoes are typically out before dawn and after dusk (when the wind dies down).
- Keep your body cool.
- Wear light clothing.
- If you are exercising outside, make sure you wear tightly woven protective equipment and apply a repellant.
In the end, the best way to reduce mosquito bites is to reduce their numbers. The most effective way to remove them from your property is to eliminate any standing water in the yard.
How Can Capitol Pest Help?
Capitol Pest offers initial inspections of your property (both inside and out) to locate potential mosquito breeding areas. Then, we use backpack sprayers to greatly reduce the mosquito population on your property. We offer recurring mosquito control during the warmer months or a single service for those looking to reduce mosquitoes for a special event. With over 80 years of experience, we have the tools and tricks to get the job done right – guaranteed. Reach out to the experts at Capitol Pest today to learn more about our mosquito control options.