The Zika-spreading Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes only fly a few hundred feet from their breeding area. Most mosquitoes, however, have the ability to fly 1-3 miles. Some of the larger mosquitoes in the Midwestern United States can be found 7 miles or more from their breeding sites. If the Aedes aegypti and albopictus are unable to fly very far – then why do they have such a huge range?
The Problem with Aedes aegypti & Aedes albopictus
The reason that the Aedes mosquitoes are such a problem is that they’re great travelers. They will get in suitcases, airplanes and boats – their entire lifecycle can happen in a puddle of water in a small vessel. Their major survival trick is that their eggs can be completely dried out and still hatch several months later if covered with water. Additionally, their larvae are able to enter a hibernation-like state, or a state of torpor. Both species are relatively recent immigrants to the US, especially albopictus, and are great at adapting to new climates.
The yellow fever mosquito arrived on the Southeastern shores of the US via slave ships from Africa. It is quite fond of the climate conditions in the Southern US. This mosquito is a dawn and dusk biter and is black with white harp-shaped scales. Aedes aegypti is quite fond of nipping the ankles of its human victims.
The Asian Tiger mosquito arrived in the States via shipments of old rubber tires from Japan to Texas in 1985 and in shipments of ornamental bamboo to California in the early 2000s. You can see where the mosquito got its name; its body is black and white striped. Aedes albopictus is an extremely aggressive daytime biter – often biting one victim several times.
What Can Be Done to Control Mosquitoes?
You can control mosquitoes in your own property to protect your pets and family from being bitten. Since both Aedes aegypti and albopictus need water to breed – living near a pond or slow-flowing stream might attract more mosquitoes to your property. But, you can still fight back; follow these steps to keep your home safe from mosquitoes.
- Remove standing water; check tarpaulin creases, pool covers, kids’ toys, dog dishes, bird baths and gutters.
- Install a filter into still ponds and water features to keep water moving
- Decorate with mosquito-repelling plants such as marigolds or citronella
- Install fans during outdoor parties; it will keep mosquitoes at a distance since they can’t fly against the wind.
- Wear protective clothing and EPA-registered repellents.
- Lure mosquitoes away from you with mosquito traps.
Battling Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Gravid, or egg-baring, female mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, sweat, and heat – signs of a blood meal. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps lure in mosquitoes that are looking to bite by using carbon dioxide and an attractant that mimics our body chemistry. Mosquitoes are then sucked into the trap where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours.
Trapping the female mosquitoes interrupts the breeding cycle. Fewer mosquitoes breeding near your property, means fewer chances for mosquitoes to take a bite out of you!
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