Vacations come in many different flavors, as varied as the people who plan them and own the properties. You may think only the beach will do, while your friend enjoys heading to the mountain to walk in the woods. Whatever your vacation preference — whether it’s the beach, lake resort or woods, or a rented property or a vacation home that you own — there’s one vacation party-crasher you need to take seriously: the mosquito. Mosquito is a Spanish word, meaning “little fly.” You may think that this little fly is just a minor annoyance, but these uninvited pests can actually derail your guests’ vacation experience. Imagine grumpy, itchy children and unromantic scratching under the stars.
If you’re renting a vacation property to guests each year, remember that dissatisfied renters who slapped and sprayed their vacation away are not likely to return next year. They could also bad-mouth your property to their circle of friends or the entire world via the Internet. On the other hand, vacation-home owners looking to rent out their properties will have a unique selling feature if they can demonstrate that they have a pest-control plan in place to minimize the number of mosquitoes at their property.
Some Vacation Spots Are Buggier Than Others
Any time you plan to vacation near water in warm weather, plan on having some unwanted visitors. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in water, so they need a water source to breed and create more of their species. This means a vacation spot in a cabin by a lake or stream, or waterfront properties are more prone to these pets. When searching for an area to buy a vacation home, rent a cabin, condo or other waterfront property, you can look into the mosquito population in different areas. Most places have mosquitoes, especially when the temperatures are warm, or above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. No matter what place you choose, you’ll need to have a mosquito control plan before you go, so it’s a good idea to know a bit about mosquito population by region.
People often head south to enjoy the warmth these states offer, but bugs — especially mosquitoes — love the Southernmost United States. The Huffington Post lists several southern states in its “10 Most Buggiest” list:
- Richmond, Virginia
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Atlanta, Marietta and Sandy Springs, Georgia
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Pompano Beach, Florida
- Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia
- Houston, Texas
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida
Mosquitoes love the south because they thrive in the humid, moist, and often rainy environment that this region offers. While there are many different types of mosquitoes in the South, there are two that are notorious for biting humans: Southern house mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito.
- Southern House Mosquitoes —These are small brown mosquitoes that like to annoyingly buzz around your ears. If you’re going out at dusk in the cool evening air, these little pests are out and hungry for blood. They can carry diseases, such as St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
- Asian Tiger Mosquitoes — These black-and-white-striped mosquitoes don’t wait until dusk to start feeding — they feed 24/7. These mosquitoes carry diseases like dengue fever. They are also a threat to pets because they carry dog heartworm.
Vacationing in the Midwest can also be an itchy experience. While Midwestern states didn’t make the buggiest cities list, at least 90 percent of residents in this area prepare in some way for mosquito season. If you’re planning to retreat to the Midwest and enjoy fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities, be prepared and have a mosquito protection plan in place.
Going north may sound like a good idea to get away from mosquitoes. After all, these pests like humidity and balmy air, right? This isn’t true in Alaska during the months of June and July when mosquito populations are high. Vacationing in moist tundras and interior forests of Alaska means battling swarms of mosquitoes. Alaska has over 35 different species of mosquitoes, but not all of them bite humans. The best time to vacation in Alaska is between the months of May and September, and you can suggest these months to your guests if you own a rental property. Summer time in the Northeastern U.S. is also a buggy time of year, but not as bad at the southern states. About 60 percent of people in that region complain about mosquito problems.
A vacation along the Pacific Coast may sound nice, but the western states also have their own mosquito issues. California and Las Vegas have high mosquitoes populations during the summer months, but only about 30 percent of residents in the southern region complain about mosquitoes being a problem, so vacationing in the west may be an appealing option if you’re easily annoyed by mosquitoes.
Vacation Sites to Avoid
If you’re concerned with mosquitoes ruining your vacation, there are a few favorite vacation areas that have high mosquito populations:
- The Caribbean
Mosquitoes in these areas are not only bothersome, but can carry a disease known as Chikungunya. While outbreaks have occurred in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, as of 2013, the disease was detected for the first time in the Americas. This mosquito-borne disease is not fatal and most people infected fully recover, but not before experiencing some uncomfortable symptoms:
- Muscle pain
Older people are more likely to suffer complications from the viral disease. While you can choose to completely avoid the above vacation spots, having effective mosquito control solutions from Mosquito Magnet® are all you need to enjoy your vacation without itchy welts.
Mosquito Free Vacation Spots
Mosquito-free places do exist, but they are not ideal vacation spots for families who are on budget or want a kid-friendly area. However, if you’re a property owner targeting a different clientele, the following places may be mosquito-free options:
- French Polynesia
- The Seychelles
- New Caledonia
In reality, if you want a vacation spot where mosquitoes aren’t a problem, you’ll have to find a place with no standing water. But doesn’t that take all the fun out of vacationing in the warm summer months? You can also research mosquito populations in the area you plant to visit and find out the best or worst months for mosquitoes and try to plan your trip around those months.
Mosquitoes Can Be Deadly Vacation Pests
When choosing your vacation spots, some vacation-goers don’t immediately think of the mosquito as a serious threat or take it into consideration when picking their destination. They think the worst they can take away from a chance encounter with a mosquito is an itchy welt. This held true until about 10 years ago in the U.S. There are now approximately 2,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide. Of these, an estimated 176 breeds are in the U.S. The medical profession is seeing more documented cases of serious, even fatal, illnesses that can be traced to a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes are passing on illnesses that are new to the U.S., and these are illnesses that you shouldn’t risk if you own a rental property. Given the amount of mosquito species and potential diseases, a “do-nothing” approach to mosquitoes is ill-advised. No matter where you go, what’s the best way to keep a vacation cabin, lake cottage or beach house safe from mosquitoes? You can try several solutions to control them:
Candles - Insect candles can protect a small area for a short time, but they aren’t practical for long periods of time or larger areas.
Zappers - Just about everyone enjoys the sound that occurs when a bug gets fried in the bug zapper. But there are downsides to this option for keeping your vacation mosquito-free. One problem is that these zappers also attract and kill beneficial insects. Zappers actually neutralize a small number of mosquitoes — most zapped insects end up being moths and beetles instead of mosquitoes.
Mosquito Nets - Mosquito nets are an effective deterrent at night. However, they aren’t in use during the time periods mosquitoes are most active: dusk and dawn. They also aren’t portable either, making them inconvenient to use on vacation or to suggest for your tenants. Imagine wrapping yourself in a mosquito net and taking the boat out on the lake or going for a swim — it’s not the ideal scenario.
Space Sprays - Many household bug sprays work great indoors. They can immediately bring down an individual mosquito and they work quickly. Unfortunately, sprays aren’t effective outside. Outside, insecticides disperse too quickly to provide reliable protection. Sprays also kill beneficial insects and don’t have a good track record for managing mosquitoes for long periods of time.
Vegetation Management - No matter what type of rental property you own, it’s advisable to include vegetation management in your mosquito control plan. Be sure to cut down any weeds growing next to the house foundation and in the yard. This reduces the number of areas where adult mosquitoes can find shelter. Also mow the lawn on a weekly basis.
Remove Sources of Standing Water - Female mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs. This step should be done in conjunction with your other pest control activities. Be sure to drain any standing water on the property. Once per day, circle your property, using the bullets below as a checklist. Overlooking this step is like a neon sign telling mosquitoes to breed on your property. Remember that even the smallest of containers can collect water sufficient to breed hundreds or thousands of mosquitoes. Follow this checklist:
- Get rid of tires. Tires are open places that can easily fill with water and breed thousands of mosquitoes.
- Drill holes in the bottom of any containers used for recycling, so water cannot build up.
- Remove leaves and debris from roof gutters. Empty standing water from pet dishes regularly.
Mosquito Magnet® traps offer the most effective mosquito pest control. Traps attract mosquitoes without destroying beneficial bugs, and they aren’t harmful to humans or animals. As propane in the trap heats up, the trap generates a column of carbon dioxide (CO2) that mimics the breath and body heat of a living animal. You can also add water vapor and one or more scents, such as lactic acid, octenol and/or sugar to the CO2 column. This combination fools a mosquito into thinking a mammal is close by. The mosquito swoops in to land on this “mammal” and is sucked into the trap by an attached trap fan. The American Mosquito Control Association has cited mosquito traps for their success in trapping and killing mosquitoes. A Mosquito Magnet® trap can also cover large areas, making them perfect solutions for vacation properties of all sizes. A mosquito trap (or several traps in larger areas) can be used in these situations, as well as for other properties that have high mosquito populations:
- Cabin mosquito control
- Resort mosquito control
- Lake home mosquito control
- Vacation home mosquito control
- Mosquito control for ponds
Whether you own a vacation cabin, lake-side cottage, or beach-front home, you can control large mosquito populations effectively using Mosquito Magnet® traps. Mosquito control methods that cover a large area are a great investment for owners of rental properties or vacation homes. What better way to ensure your guests are comfortable and itch-free for their whole vacation? You can choose between different models, so you can find the right amount of protection for your property. This means you or your tenants can enjoy their favorite outdoor activities without worrying about mosquitoes bites and the diseases they carry. Contact us today to learn more about your mosquito control options.