Protect Your Landscape from Mosquitoes
North Texas has had near record rainfall the last few months, and that means, even more than usual, mosquitoes will be a problem through the summer.
And in addition to the annual problem of West Nile Virus, this year everyone needs diligence to avoid the Zika virus, the much-reported disease that is disrupting Olympic Games preparation in Rio de Janeiro.
The first line of defense for almost anyone is insect repellent. While this may seem like common sense, again, be diligent. Many of us don’t use repellent for short trips such as picking up the mail. This is often done just before dusk, one of mosquitoes’ most active times of day. Also, be aware that many West Nile cases come from indoor bites.
Eliminate standing water in your back yard. Even if you traditionally take this critical precaution, do more than your traditional inspection. Our heavy rains have probably created far more “mosquito” homes than you have seen before, so make a thorough search. If you have a bird bath, change the water at least once every two weeks.
If you can’t drain all the standing water on your property, mosquito dunks or an insect growth regulator called methoprene are effective treatments. If you live near a creek or pond, the fish generally take care of controlling your problem.
Of course, ridding them from your yard isn’t enough. If you are planning an outdoor activity, such as a picnic, short-term insecticides such as pyrethrins or resmethrin can be used on mosquitoes resting in shrubbery, trees and shade trees.
You can also use a garden sprayer for pyrethroid sprays to trees, entry ways, (where mosquitoes are more likely to enter your home). This can be a tricky job, and may require frequent treatment. Warning: on using pyrethroid insecticides: While effective, they should only be used in peak season (July-September). And follow directions carefully. To minimize risk to beneficial bees and butterflies, limit spraying to dusk, and don’t apply when rain is expected or on windy days.
Hiring a Professional
If all of this sounds a little involved or over your head, consider hiring a professional. Many lawn care companies offer these services and can usually do a more thorough job, such as spraying into higher areas of shade trees, where some mosquitoes often rest.
In spite of your best efforts, you are unlikely to eliminate all the mosquitoes from your yard. But do your best, double up on your efforts, be diligent, and you are more likely to enjoy your summer.