Standing Water and Mosquitoes

Andrea Burns
Ford County Extension Agent

With all of the wonderful moisture we have been receiving, the conditions are perfect for mosquito larvae development.

I have already been buzzed by a few in the evenings.

There are several things you can do to help eliminate their habitat for development.

To control these pesky annoyances, you first need to understand their development.

Mosquito larvae develop in standing bodies of water and they don’t need a lot of water to thrive. Female mosquitoes mate shortly after emerging from the water, after blood feeding they will lay a clutch of eggs on the water’s surface.

Mosquito larvae go through three stages, called instars. Each instar gets sequentially bigger before finally turning into the pupal stage. From the pupa, an adult emerges leaving the aquatic environment for the air.

While female mosquitoes feed on blood, male mosquitoes feed on plant nectar and are important pollinators.

The eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae then pupate in water for 7-10 days (they do not bite at this stage).

Adults have two wings and fly. Only female mosquitoes bite and ingest blood.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!

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, contact the Ford County Extension Office or visit us online at www.ford.ksu.edu.