Mosquitoes won't take the hint when you put out a bug zapper and a few citronella candles just before your yard party. If you have a dozen guests over, the mosquitoes will be drawn to a dozen parties of their own! You really need to set up your backyard mosquito control in the spring, when mosquitoes are just beginning to plan your summer for you.
Backyard Mosquito Control, by the Numbers
To really understand mosquitoes, you need to get a tiny bit technical - but we can make that happen without too much pain.
There are an estimated 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world, and a little under 200 in the United States. When scientists name a species, they give it a two piece name (genus & species), as they did when they named humans homo sapiens. Still with me? Great!
The mosquitoes commonly known to transmit diseases fall into one of the following three genera (that's the plural of genus 🙂)
Culex mosquitoes - These little guys breed in stagnant water where ever they can find it. It only takes the eggs about two weeks to hatch, become larva, and mature into adult mosquitoes. Like many mosquitoes, they aren't strong fliers, and generally won't travel more than a few hundred yards from where they hatched from eggs. They're fairly aggressive, and prone to attack from about dusk to two to three hours past dusk. This type of mosquito is is a common carrier of the West Nile virus. They actually prefer to bite birds, but as we all know, they're good with people too! The most common of this genus is the Culex pipiens, which calls a broad band across the middle and northern states home, as shown in this map.
Anopheles mosquitoes -
Aedes mosquitoes - Different types of mosquitoes dine on different hosts, and transmit different diseases as a result. The Aedes family of mosquitoes is best known for transmitting heart worm disease to dogs, but it has also been known to carry the West Nile, Zika, Dengue, and other viruses to humans. Unlike other mosquitoes, Aedes are fairly strong fliers, and have been known to travel as far a fifteen miles from where they hatch. They lay their eggs in moist ground, above standing water. The eggs won't hatch until the area floods, and won't hatch if the flood water is cold and clear. Their larva prefer warm water full of organic contaminants - yum! This map shows the habitat for the species you've come to know and love as Aedes Vexans.
In all cases, the female mosquito needs the protein from your blood for their eggs, so her bite is nothing personal.
Maps of Culex and Aedes mosquitoes: Kalluri, Satya; Gilruth, Peter; Rogers, David; Szczur, Martha (2015): Maps Showing the Potential Distribution of Four Species of Mosquitoes in the United States. PLOS Pathogens. Figure. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.0030116.g002
Ready for Action?
Join our exclusive list of subscribers for more exciting promos, coupons and the latest bug news sent directly to your e-mail!