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Control pesky mosquitoes now

Mosquitoes can interfere with outdoor activities on your acreage and wreak havoc on your livestock. Take control of mosquitoes with these tips from the University of California.

Standing water attracts mosquitoes. Identify any areas or objects on your acreage that can hold water for more than a few days. Even small containers like cinder blocks, flowerpot saucers, or crotches of trees can serve as mosquito habitats. Fill the area or object with soil or cement. Or drain, discard, or treat the area or object with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Bt infects and kills mosquito larvae, a highly effective control method. One common product, Mosquito Dunk, is a donut-shape float that lasts for about 30 days in water.

Another option for mosquito control is mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis). These fish have been used worldwide for mosquito control, and they are most effective when used in man-made bodies of water that do not connect with natural waters.

The use of insecticide sprays or outdoor foggers for control of adult mosquitoes provides another option. Although sprays and foggers may provide a temporary reduction of the adult population, they have no lasting effect. Equipment for the application of outdoor sprays is expensive and complex.

Personal protection

Ideally, it's best to avoid areas where mosquitoes are at high densities. If you find yourself in a situation where you must be exposed to biting mosquitoes, you can minimize the exposed skin surface by wearing a hat or head net, long trousers, and a long-sleeve shirt.

When mosquito densities become very high, you may want to apply a mosquito repellent. Most effective repellents contain DEET. The repellent should be used on your clothing and not put directly on your skin. Commercial repellents contain varying concentrations of DEET, usually between 10% and 50%. Special formulations for children contain low concentrations of DEET.

Repellents have their drawbacks, too. They are only effective for about four hours depending on wind, high temperature, high humidity, and sweating. Other control methods exist on the market, but most are ineffective. These include wrist bands that contain an aromatic repellent, ultrasonic emitters, electric grids, electronic repellers, aromatic plants, and others.

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