Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes don’t feed on people – at least not in the sense of using us as a primary food source. Rather, adult mosquitoes are mostly herbivorous, feeding on plant nectar. This makes them important pollinators. However, the one time that mosquitoes need to feed on people and other animals is to breed. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal to get enough protein to lay eggs. That means only female mosquitoes bite, and only when they’re looking to reproduce.
Since only female mosquitoes bite, only female mosquitoes spread disease. Here in the Chicago, IL area, we’ve got several dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses we need to watch out for during the summer months. These include West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, and several different varieties of equine encephalitis including eastern, western, and California. While rare, all these illnesses have the potential to cause brain swelling, which can lead to permanent brain injury and even death.
Mosquito Prevention Tips
While there’s not a lot you can do to avoid getting bitten if you’re hiking through the backwoods besides wearing repellant and protective clothing, you can do a lot to keep mosquitoes off your property. One of the biggest ways to discourage mosquitoes from setting up shop in your backyard is by addressing moisture issues.
Mosquitoes don’t often travel all that far from the place they’re born, so eliminating breeding spots can cut down on their local numbers. To reduce these spots, get rid of standing water wherever you find it: kiddie pools, birdbaths, dog bowls, clogged gutters, etc. If you don’t want to get rid of things like kiddie pools or outdoor pet bowls, be sure to change the water in them at least every other day.
Other mosquito prevention tips include:
- Trimming back trees and brush to eliminate shade and encourage evaporation, as some species of mosquito need no more than moist soil to breed.
- Planting mosquito-repelling herbs and flowers like citronella, geraniums, lemongrass, basil, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. Burning candles with oils from these plants can also help ward off mosquitoes.
- Building a bat house. Bats love mosquitoes and can eat thousands of them a day, so inviting a few of them to hang out in the backyard can drastically reduce your mosquito population.
- Making sure all window and door screens are intact and undamaged to keep mosquitoes from getting into your house.
Unfortunately, female mosquitoes can smell blood from a long way off, so if you and your pets spend a lot of time in your backyard, mosquitoes may show up no matter what you do. If that happens, you’re going to need professional help. Here at Aerex Pest Control, we’ve been providing safe and effective pest services to the Chicago, IL area since 1948. We combine our 70+ years of experience with the latest technological innovations to create solutions that can’t be beaten. So give us a call or visit our contact page at Aerex Pest Control to book your appointment today!