Mosquito Prevention and Protection
Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can spread viruses that make you sick or, in rare cases, cause death. Although most kinds of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some kinds of mosquitoes in the United States and around the world spread viruses that can cause disease.
While more than 3000 species of mosquitoes have been described on a world-wide basis, at least 84 species are known to live in Texas. Listed below are the most common types of mosquitoes found in South Texas
Common Texas Mosquitoes
Aedes-Aegypti (Yellow Fever Mosquito) – Small, brown-black in color with a black & white pattern. Breeds primarily near human dwellings and has be known to follow hosts indoors to feed as it prefers human blood. This species is one of the most wide-spread globally. Can carry diseases: Dengue, Yellow Fever, Chikungunya, and Zika.
Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito) – Small, black in color with white spots/stripes pattern. Also breeds near human dwellings, though most bites occur outdoors (prefers human blood). Related to the Aedes-Aegypti, can also carry diseases: Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.
Culex Quinquefasciatus (Southern House Mosquito) – Medium, golden brown in color. Prefers to breed in pounds, sewage drains. This species feeds primarily at night and has a wide variety of hosts including mammals, birds, and humans. Large carrier of West Nile Virus.
Anopheles (Malaria Mosquito) – Small, dark brown in color. An easy identifier is that while resting the mosquito’s abdomen points downwards. Breeds in both fresh and salt-water and can be active at all times of the day. Prefers to feed on humans and cattle. Carries Malaria in humans and heartworms in dogs
All mosquitoes require water in which to breed. Even the smallest bit of water can hold thousands of mosquito larvae. Prevent mosquitoes from by draining or replacing often any standing water around your house and make sure you check places like:
- Old tires
- Pet’s water bowls
- Bird baths
- Empty garbage bins or recycling containers
Swimming Pools and Ponds
Maintain your swimming pools to keep mosquitoes from using it as a breeding ground. Try to cover the pool when not in use. Treat ponds with a wild-life friendly bacterial insecticide that kill mosquito larvae, but keeps fish and animals safe. You can also stock your pond with fish (guppy and goldfish) that eat mosquitoes.
Some plants are natural deterrents and help keep mosquitoes away. Keep any of these plants in the yard or on the patio to repel mosquitoes:
Even when you’ve done all you can to keep mosquitoes away, you can still be at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses. Protect yourself from bites by wearing the correct attire outdoors and using mosquito repellent.
When choosing a repellent, looking for ones with at least 15-30% DEET. A higher percent of active ingredient is best when you plan on being outdoors for a long period of time. With a lower concentration you may have to reapply more often. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to test the repellent on a small section of your skin before full application or try a natural alternative.
- Tea Tree Oil
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Neem Oil
- Soy Bean Oil
While mosquito repellent can help protect you from getting bit, it is not 100% effective and does not kill mosquitoes. Repellents only block mosquito sensors so they cannot detect you when searching for a blood meal. Wearing light colored and loose fitting clothing can help reduce being bitten. If practical, wear pants and long sleeves.
|Mosquito Prevention Survey|