Where are all these mosquitoes in my yard coming from? I don’t have any woods or marshes nearby. Or, my city, town, municipality already treats for them, but it doesn’t work….We hear these comments almost daily in the summer, so where ARE those mosquitoes coming from? A huge source for backyard mosquitoes in northern Indiana is Container Mosquitoes.
Container mosquitoes, lay their eggs along the water line of containers as well as directly into container water. This seems simple enough, until you realize that anything that holds water is a suitable container, including the grooves of plastic gutter extenders, outdoor toys, flower pots, and even a water glass left outside for one day too long.
In a big backyard, all of these containers can be tricky to identify by humans, but mosquitoes don’t have any trouble finding them. Container mosquitoes lay their eggs along the water line inside of these unconventional containers, and the eggs exist in a dry, suspended state for as long as a year. But, as soon as irrigation or rainwater raises the water level just enough to come in contact with the eggs, they hatch. Further, for mosquitoes that lay their eggs directly into the water, it only takes a few days to mature from egg to biting adult during peak summer conditions so even forgetting to check containers for just a short time enables the mosquitoes to mature and hatch.
Then, once the aquatic stage is complete, the adults don’t fly far from their larval habitats, because they have food sources and a place to lay their own eggs right there. Fortunately, Dr. Roxanne Connelly, chief entomologist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has outlined simple steps to help clean out pesky container mosquitoes.
“Source reduction is the key to getting rid of these mosquitoes,” said Connelly. “And when I say remove the source, it should be clear by now what the source is, the source of these mosquitoes are these items that hold water and can support mosquito life.”
She suggests starting by organizing a neighborhood or community clean-up day where residents rid their yards of potential mosquito environments.
“There’s a limit to that,” she said. “Once you get rid of all the cups or bowls or anything that is in the yard that can come out, you’re still going to have some containers that people want to leave in place. If possible, modify those containers.”
For example, for gardens with rain barrel irrigation programs, there should always be a tightly screwed on lid or at least insect screen coverings. Insect screens also help control pests when placed at the end of gutter extensions.
“Because they’re corrugated, they have those little ribs in them and they’re laying flat on the ground, they hold water in those little areas, so even after the rain washes through there you have water that’s left behind and the container mosquitoes love to fly up in these and lay their eggs,” Connelly said. “One of the best things you can do here is lift the pipe and dump out the water on a weekly basis.”
Bird baths should be dumped and scrubbed with steel wool or a stiff brush weekly and any old tires should be disposed of properly. The Asian tiger mosquito was actually unintentionally introduced to the United States through shipments of used tires that also toted the mosquito eggs.
“If you’re doing an inspection of someone’s home, trying to look for the source, don’t forget to look above — look at the roof line,” said Connelly. Clogged gutters make a perfect habitat for container mosquito eggs just waiting for the next big rain. Holes in trees can become a natural container when the conditions are right as well.
As always if you have a problem with, or even just a question about, mosquitos (or any other yard pests) feel free to call Damien Carboneau—“The Mosquito Guy” anytime at 574-527-8852. He’ll be happy to speak with you!
At Indiana Mosquito Busters we want to help you live MOSQUITO and TICK FREE.