The day you can finally go outside in short sleeves after hunkering down indoors during Iowa’s winter months is a glorious one. That is until you realize how many times basking on your outdoor patio is interrupted by itchy, incessant mosquito bites. You may think enduring these pests is just one of the trade-offs of the otherwise pleasant summer months, but what if we at Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape told you that you can have a mosquito-free season without endless layers of DEET embedded in your clothes?
Easy Ways to Control Mosquitoes
For as many bites endured at a 4th of July barbeque, there are solutions to repelling these annoying critters with effective mosquito control. Adding some easy mosquito reduction steps to your lawn care routine makes the difference between taking out one or two of these pesky insects or being outnumbered by a swarm of them.
1. Maintain high grasses and heavy weed areas.
Thick vegetation is the perfect host for high mosquito activity. Because your best defense is reducing breeding opportunities among these pests, removing these popular party spots from your yard minimizes the overall population later in the season.
2. Add plants to your yard for natural mosquito control.
There are several herbs and grasses that emit odors mosquitoes can’t tolerate and will steer clear of areas heavy with these types of plants:
- Lemon or citronella grass.
- Lemon balm.
3. Remove stagnant water sources.
This one is a game-changer; female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, where they hatch and grow into flying, biting adults. By eliminating standing water sources and regularly cleaning birdbaths and pet bowls, mosquitoes won’t have a place to lay their eggs and will go elsewhere.
4. Bring a box fan out to your patio.
Either installing an overhead fan on your porch or bringing a box fan outside helps keep mosquitoes at bay by making it very difficult for them to fly and locate a feeding source. Mosquitoes won’t hang around an area where there’s a strong breeze deflecting them.
Not only does the absence of these blood-sucking insects allow you to slip into a truly Zen state while enjoying your backyard. Mosquito control heavily reduces the chance of your family, guests, and pets contracting diseases mosquitoes are notorious for spreading.
West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus (WNV) is contracted when an infected mosquito bites a human or animal. Although those with the virus rarely show symptoms, severe cases can result in paralysis or death. Mild symptoms last from a few days to a week and include:
- Head/body aches.
- Stomach, chest, or back rash.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
EEE can seriously harm horses and other animals in the horse family. This viral illness is transferred via a mosquito bite and, fortunately, is very rare in humans. However, severe cases can result in convulsions and comatose. Symptoms include:
- Fever and chills.
- Joint and muscle pain.
Of the mosquito-borne viruses, Zika is the most contagious. It can be passed through sexual contact or from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. Even those who don’t have symptoms can pass the virus, so it’s best to get a blood or urine test done if you suspect you have it. Symptoms include:
- Red eyes.
- Joint pain.
- Itchy rash.
Pets and livestock are in the clear when it comes to this disease, but malaria is very serious and can be fatal to humans. Luckily, symptoms can be treated with anti-malarial medications. Symptoms include:
- Muscle aches.
- Chills and shaking.
- High fever.
- Extreme tiredness.
Dengue is the only mosquito-borne virus that can be contracted more than once, the second time yielding harsher symptoms. Dengue doesn’t affect pets, but humans can suffer from severe infections like dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Symptoms include:
- Severe headache.
- Pain in muscles, joints, and behind the eyes.
- Mild bleeding in nose or around gums.
- Low white blood cell count.
*Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Best Time to Spray for Mosquitoes
Mosquito spraying aids in mosquito extermination, as well as killing and repelling other insects known to plague Iowa lawns. Mosquito season starts when outdoor temperatures reach prime mosquito egg-hatching temperatures (50 degrees Fahrenheit or higher). In Iowa, this is generally May through September. The best time to incorporate mosquito spraying into your pest control measures is in early spring, before the millions of eggs laid in March and April have a chance to hatch.
Contact Our Team of Experts
Our goal at Smitty’s Lawn and Landscape is to deliver the know-how, tools, and team to empower you to take back your lawn and enjoy summer fun—and that doesn’t include swatting at an endless swarm of mosquitoes and other pests. Our Perimeter Pest Control Program combats backyard pests by spraying a fine mist around your home or business’ perimeter—paying special attention to your trees, shrubs, backyard, and other mosquito hot spots. Our combination of highly-effective products wipe out mosquitoes in every stage of their life cycle, so you don’t have to worry about spawns coming back with a vengeance.