When Mother Nature finally lets spring come out to play, the warm temperatures and all of the standing water have created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry diseases such as West Nile Virus.

There are four developmental stages of mosquitoes: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Adult females lay a rate of 100 to 300 eggs every third night during their life span.

The adult life span can be several weeks depending upon environmental conditions. That’s a lot of mosquitoes! The eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae then pupate in water for seven to 10 days (they do not bite at this stage). Adults have two wings and fly. Only female mosquitoes bite and ingest blood.

To control breeding sites around your home, eliminate artificial water-holding containers, buckets, clogged gutters, pool covers, etc.

Clean birdbaths and water bowls weekly. Fill in or drain holes, stumps and puddles.

Homeowners should water flowers and gardens carefully to avoid standing water for more than a few days. Garden ponds should be stocked with mosquito-eating fish. Aerate pond and swimming pools. Mosquito dunks can be used to kill larvae in standing water.

Chemical controls can be used on lawns if a substantial accumulation of mosquitoes is noticed. Some effective products include: Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray, High Yield Lawn, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control, and Ortho Home Defense MAX Outdoor Perimeter Insect Killer. Be sure to read and follow the label directions.

For personal protection, use common sense. If possible avoid being outdoors during peak mosquito hours. An hour prior to sun rise and sunset are prime mosquito hours.

When you must or need to be out, wear long pants and shirts and keep plenty of insect repellent around that contains DEET.

For more information on mosquito control, visit our website at www.ford.ksu.edu.