Make your yard a less appealing mosquito habitat

Published: Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 03:33 PM.

If you think all those mosquitoes in your yard are flying in from some far away swamp, think again. The Asian tiger mosquito, our state’s worst mosquito species, lives and breeds in urban areas and odds are it is making its home in your yard at this very moment.

Easily identified by its distinct white and black striped legs and body, the Asian tiger mosquito is one of more than 40 types of mosquito found in our area. It is of particular concern because it can spread diseases to humans and animals, including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, as well as heartworms to dogs and cats. While many garden related activities create the perfect habitat for these prolific pests to multiply, there are actions you can take today so they will find your yard less appealing.

Tip and toss

All mosquitoes lay their eggs in or very near standing water. The larvae that hatch from these eggs are aquatic, often referred to as “wrigglers” for the way they wriggle back and forth as they move through the water. It takes wrigglers several days to mature into adult mosquitoes.

Many of our native mosquitoes reproduce in ditches, swamps, marshes, and other permanent bodies of water where their natural enemies, which include birds, frogs, dragonflies, and fish, also reside and help keep their numbers from getting out of control. 

The Asian tiger mosquito is different. It prefers to reproduce in small pockets of water where natural enemies cannot survive. These tenacious pests can reproduce in as little as an ounce of water. They are weak flyers, generally moving less than 1000 feet from the spot where they hatched. This means if you have Asian tiger mosquitoes in your yard they came from somewhere close by, like a clogged gutter, flower pot saucer, or birdbath. 

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