Category Archives: Mosquito Control

How Far Do Mosquitoes Fly?

How Far Can Mosquitoes Fly?

How Far Do Mosquitoes Fly?

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 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, especiallyalbopictus, and are great at adapting to new climates.

aedes aegypti

Aedes aegypti
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.

Aedes albopictusAedes albopictus
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.

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!

Keep learning more about mosquito facts by following Mosquito Magnet® on Facebook. You can also sign up for our E-Newsletter to save 10% on your first purchase.

Miami Beach Mosquitoes Test Positive for Zika

Zika Mosquitoes Have been found hiding in Bromeliad plants.

Disappointing, but not unexpected, news for the War on Zika: 3 mosquitoes test positive for Zika Virus in the Miami Beach area. This is the first time that domestic mosquitoes have been found carrying the virus. This announcement comes on the heels of an already-instated travel warning from the CDC for pregnant women to avoid travelling to the area. Since the find of the 3 Zika-infected mosquitoes, 95 mosquitoes from 16 other traps have tested negative.

Zika Mosquitoes Have been found hiding in Bromeliad plants.
Popular bromeliad plants found to harbor Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes – keeping them safe from spraying efforts.

Officials claim that a popular tropical plant, bromeliads, may be to blame in harboring Aedes aegyptus mosquitoes. All residents of the city of Miami Beach have been asked to remove bromeliads, trash, and any small accumulations of water. With Hurricane Hermine having dropped torrential downpours on the area already, mosquito control is becoming a more difficult task.

According to the CDC, aerial spraying has helped to control the Aedes mosquitoes, but their sanctuary in plants and concealment in containers; such as trash cans, recycling bins, potted plants and outdoor decorations, is causing hitches in control efforts. Code Compliance Offers in the city of Miami Beach will be probing the city for risk-factors. If they determine that a private residence is in violation of the safety or welfare of the public, i.e., harboring or breeding mosquitoes, the officer may make immediate corrections on the property – at the expense of the owner.

Take preventative measures on your property to avoid breeding mosquitoes and to decrease your chances of spreading mosquito-borne diseases by removing any and all standing water, trash and debris and cleaning out gutters and drain spouts. Be sure to wear protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts and pants, and wear mosquito repellents containing DEET or Picaridin.

In the furor of the Zika outbreak, citizens are also reminded that West Nile Virus is still a danger, a very common one, to the general public, and precautions must be taken to prevent the spread of this disease as well.

Intensive trapping and studying of the area’s mosquitoes will continue. Check back with the Mosquito Magnet Blog for Zika updates as they arise or keep in-touch on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Tips for Entertaining Your Friends – Not the Bugs

Keep Mosquitoes Away from Your Backyard Barbeque - from Mosquito Magnet

Your big backyard barbeque is underway – a total success, everything planned to the ‘t.’ But then terror strikes in the form of those winged devils known as mosquitoes. Guests start slapping, scratching, and running for cover – and you’re embarrassed. Luckily, we’ve got some suggestions to help you entertain your guests – not the bugs!


Reduce the Mosquito Population in your Backyard

The best option for controlling mosquitoes is setting up a mosquito trap about two weeks prior to your event.  Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps mimic our body chemistry to lure in mosquitoes. Once close enough, the mosquitoes are sucked into the trap. You can drastically reduce the number of biting mosquitoes on your property by properly using a trap. Fewer mosquitoes mean fewer bites – and a more peaceful summer barbeque for you and your friends!


Choosing the Perfect Time for your Event

Hosting your barbecue during the early afternoon is ideal, since mosquitoes tend to hunt at dusk and dawn, they won’t be bothersome during the hotter hours of a summer afternoon. However, other bugs are still out and about during these hours so take precautions to fend off these intruders as well.

For starters, you certainly don’t want to begin your barbecue event with yellow jackets and flies in and around your food, so you should keep your serving table indoors or under the cover of a screen tent. You should also be sure that spills and food crumbs are cleaned up right away and garbage receptacles are covered tightly. Any foods that are set out for serving should be covered or individually-wrapped, if possible.

Since it is definitely warm during this time of day, having some fans outdoors to keep the air moving will be much appreciated. It will also keep mosquitoes and other small flying insects away from your gathering areas! Many of these pests are not able to fly well against an air current, so fans make the perfect dual-purpose addition.

You should also wear light-colored clothing and long pants – this will help protect against both the burning rays of the sun and the mosquitoes!


Keep Bugs Away from the Grill

Position your grill in a sunny area of the yard. Since mosquitoes dislike the heat from direct sunlight, this will keep them from congregating by the grill chef.

Cooked food should be moved to the serving area, and utensils should be cleaned or placed indoors immediately after eating. Pests such as flies and yellow jackets are attracted to your leftovers, so keep them at bay with proper cleanup.

Another grilling tip – place a bundle of fresh rosemary directly onto the hot coals. This will create a lovely scent for you and your guests, infuse the flavor of the herb into your grilled food, and create an undesirable smell for mosquitoes.


Keep Mosquitoes Away with Outdoor Décor

You can use your décor to your advantage in your fight against the bugs! Choose bug repelling plants in your yard and garden, for example, marigolds and mums are hardy and last well into the fall, providing a barrier from mosquitoes and other insect pests.

Decorate with herbs and flowers, creating beautiful centerpieces and accents. Try using lavender and eucalyptus; these scents are pleasing to us, but interfere with a mosquito’s ability to “smell” us. Here is a list of scents mosquitoes are repulsed by – luckily they’re all pleasant to our olfactory senses.

Placing a fire pit where people will gather can keep mosquitoes and other bugs away from that area. You could also choose to burn eucalyptus branches in the fire for extra mosquito repelling effectiveness.

You may also consider starting up tiki torches, citronella candles, and incense a few hours before your guests will arrive.


Prepare in Advance for your Backyard Barbeque

Yard preparation is key in planning for a barbecue. Clean up any trash or debris that may have blown onto your property, and be thorough; even a bottle cap filled with water is large enough to become a mosquito breeding ground.

Since many mosquitoes prefer to hide in taller grass, be sure to mow your lawn the day before or morning of your party. Also be sure to collect the grass clippings, not only does this eliminate hiding areas for mosquitoes, but it will keep grass clumps from being tracked into the house on guests’ shoes.

Drains and gutters should be cleared to ensure that water isn’t pooled up inside of them. Also, change bird bath water regularly – stagnant water makes a perfect area for mosquitoes to breed, and is also unhealthy for your birds. You may also consider adding bird feeders to your property – many birds choose to eat both seeds and insects and could help control the pest population.

Do you have any tips for keeping the bugs away from your backyard barbecue? Let us know in the comments or share your story with us on your next visit to Facebook!

CDC Issues Travel Warning during Miami Zika outbreak

zika virus, mosquito borne diseases, guillain-barre syndrome, Zika-related death, Mosquito Magnet

Update for August 2, 2016

After 14 people in Florida were found infected with Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning stating that pregnant women should not travel to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, Florida.

Previously, officials confirmed that four people contracted the Zika virus from mosquitoes within the same 150-square meter area of Wynwood in Miami. After door-to-door surveys of 200 people in the area, in their homes or businesses, an additional 10 tested positive for Zika virus.

Because of this small outbreak of local Zika transmission, the CDC is warning pregnant women not to travel to this area, and if they have since June 15, they should seek testing from their health care provider.

The website of the CDC also warns couples who are thinking about getting pregnant to speak with a healthcare provider if they have travelled to the Miami area. Additionally, those who have been in the area should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to become pregnant. The CDC also advises all pregnant women in the United States to be tested for Zika exposure during each prenatal care visit.

Check in with Mosquito Magnet® for updates on the spread of Zika and everything you need to know to keep mosquitoes from invading your property.

Find other updates here.

Mosquito Season: It’s Longer Than You Think

When Is Mosquito Season?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to mosquitoes – until you get a red, itchy welt on your skin that is a sure sign of a mosquito bite. While mosquito season is usually associated with the hotter summer months, it actually begins much earlier and extends well into autumn.

Protect Your Home And Business With Our Mosquito Magnet® Traps

Quick-fix mosquito solutions that only last a few weeks won’t get the job done. Any mosquito control program you choose needs to be implemented on a long-term basis in order to provide effective, lasting protection throughout the mosquito season.

Why Should You Be Concerned About Mosquito Season?

There’s no doubt that mosquitoes are an annoyance. There’s nothing like a swarm of pesky mosquitoes to ruin a fun evening on the deck or patio with your family, or to send your barbecue guests running for cover. But some of the 176 known mosquito species in the United States can also pose a health hazard to people and animals.

Examples of potentially serious mosquito-borne diseases include eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus, which in severe cases can result in brain damage and even death. In 2014, the first cases of an affliction known as chikungunya — which can cause fever, rash, severe joint pain and other health issues — were reported in the U.S.

Mosquito Bite

When Does Mosquito Season Start?

Depending on the species, some mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and re-emerge when the weather begins to get warmer, while others hatch from previously laid eggs in the spring. The temperature plays a key factor in determining the actual start of the mosquito season.

Generally, mosquito activity will begin when the temperature reaches the 50° F level. Mosquitoes thrive on hot weather. Thus, as the temperature begins to rise, the mosquito volume increases accordingly. The mosquito season reaches its peak during the hot summer months.

When Does Mosquito Season End?

When is mosquito season over? Again, the temperature plays an important factor. As the weather begins to cool, you’ll likely notice a decrease in the level of mosquito activity on your property. Non-hibernating mosquitoes will begin to die off as the temperature approaches the 50° F mark, while the hibernating species will start to seek winter refuge in hollow logs, abandoned animal burrows and other convenient hiding spots.

The first frost is usually a reliable sign of the end of mosquito season. However, it’s possible that some hibernating mosquitoes will emerge during unexpected warm spells during winter, only to return to their hiding places when the temperature drops.

Mosquito Season Varies by Region

Since mosquito activity is so closely linked to temperature, the actual mosquito season can vary greatly from one region to another — and even from one year to the next. As you might expect, the warmer the climate, the earlier the mosquito season starts and the longer it’s likely to last. While residents in some areas of the U.S. may not see the first mosquito until May or June, others will have to start dealing with the flying pests as early as February. In the extreme South and Hawaii, mosquito season has been known to last throughout the year!

Mosquito Season By StateCreative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

As far as other warmer regions in the U.S., the mosquito season in Arizona typically begins in early March. The mosquito season in Florida will vary depending on which part of the state you’re located in. The cooler northern portion normally doesn’t begin to experience mosquito activity until early March, while South Florida may see mosquitoes in early February. The tropical South Florida climate is especially conducive to the mosquito lifestyle, since mosquitoes are attracted to moisture and humidity for breeding and laying eggs.

In contrast, the mosquito season in Alaska is notoriously brief. While the mosquito season in southern Alaska generally starts in early May, it might begin as late as mid-June in the northern regions of the state and end by late July. In the Northeast, the gradual warming trend that has occurred in recent years has also produced a longer mosquito season. Use our mosquito population map to get an idea of the expected beginning of mosquito season on a regional basis.

Prepare Before Mosquito Season Arrives

Many property owners wait until they see a swarm of mosquitoes – or until they have been bitten – to begin the mosquito control process. However, by this time, infestation has probably already occurred. The actual preparation for mosquito season should begin much earlier, before the mosquitoes have had the chance to promulgate.

Remember, as the weather warms, the mosquito breeding cycle time shortens, which ultimately results in an increase in the number of mosquitoes on your property. This means you’ll want to get started while the weather is chilly – before the temperature consistently reaches that magical 50° F plateau.

Start by Mosquito-Proofing Your Property

It’s never too early to begin the process of creating a mosquito-proof property. Take steps to make your yard less inviting to mosquitoes, and make sure they don’t have easy access to the inside of your home:

Objects that collect water  Remove any objects that collect water — Take an inventory of your yard and remove anything that could hold standing water, since these objects can serve as primary mosquito breeding grounds. Mosquitoes require only a small amount of water for depositing their eggs, so don’t overlook any potential water collection vessel. Flower pots, birdfeeders, old tires, wheelbarrows, and buckets are just a few examples of favorite mosquito habitats.

Clean gutters  Clean clogged gutters — Gutters tend to become clogged with leaves and other debris during the course of a long winter. Flooded roof gutters and clogged drainage systems create standing water that attracts mosquitoes in droves. It will be worth your time to get the ladder out on the first relatively warm day (after all the snow and ice has melted) and give your gutters a good cleaning.

Fill In  Fill in low-lying areas — Ditches and other low-lying areas also collect standing water after a rainfall. After the snow melts, survey your property for these potential trouble spots and fill them in wherever possible.

Fill hollow logs  Fill in hollow logs — By filling in or removing any hollow logs on your property, you’ll eliminate another standing water source while also removing a potential habitat for hibernating mosquitoes in the winters to come.

Repair windows  Repair damaged or ineffective window screens — Repair your window screens before you install them for the warmer weather. Tiny mosquitoes can find their way into your home through the smallest tear in your screens. Consider replacing worn screens or ones with openings that are too large to keep mosquitoes out. A 16-18 mesh is the recommended size for pest control purposes. If you have a screened-in deck, porch or patio, check the screen condition on this as well.

Repair Leaks  Repair cracks and leaks — Cracks in your home’s foundation and exterior walls can provide easy entry for mosquitoes, so be sure to seal any that you find. Also repair any leaks that could create pools of water.

Install Bug Lights  Install bug lights — Installing yellow outdoor bug lights won’t necessarily keep mosquitoes away, but it will make your property somewhat less attractive during the nighttime hours.


In-Season Mosquito Control Tips

While mosquito-proofing your home will go a long way toward preventing an infestation, it’s difficult to keep these relentless pests away for the entire season. You’re particularly susceptible if you live in a warmer region where the mosquito season is long and the bugs are plentiful.  You’ll probably need to implement some or all of the following:

In-Season Mosquito Control Steps

Cover potential water-collecting objects when not in use — There may be some objects that you want or need to keep outdoors during the warmer months, such as boats and wading pools. Keep these items covered when you’re not using them, or overturn them to prevent mosquito access.
Be vigilant after rainstorms — Summer rains can be refreshing and will keep your lawn and plants healthy. But rain also creates puddles and pools that are sure to attract mosquitoes. Patrol your property after every rainfall and sweep up/dry and wet areas where possible.
Keep your swimming pool clean — Mosquitoes will generally stay away from well-maintained swimming pools. However, if you don’t use your pool for an extended period of time or fail to keep it clean, they’ll likely be drawn to the dirty, stagnant water. If you cover your pool, the cover will collect rainwater. If your pool remains unused and covered for extended time frames, dump off any accumulated water.
Mosquito repellents — There are a number of commercially available mosquito repellent products you can use in an effort to deter mosquitoes. Citronella candles can sometimes work well in smaller, confined areas. Other options include sprays, coils and bug zappers. These products can provide varying levels of success, so it may require a bit of trial and error to find the ones that work best on your property.
Personal mosquito protection — If you live in a region that is prone to mosquito infestation, you’ll want to protect yourself while you’re outdoors. Cover as much of your body as possible with light-colored clothing, and apply a DEET-based mosquito protectant on exposed skin. Try to avoid going outdoors during the early morning hours or at dusk, which are the peak mosquito times.

Use Traps to Control Mosquitoes Throughout the Season

All of these methods can be extremely beneficial in helping you control mosquitoes and keeping them away from your property. Unfortunately, none of these options will do anything to reduce the mosquito population. Mosquitoes are prolific breeders, especially during the peak mosquito season. The best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to disrupt their breeding cycle.

That’s where an effective mosquito trap can be your biggest ally in your ongoing fight against these swarming, bloodsucking pests. A Mosquito Magnet® trap will help you create a mosquito-free property from the beginning of the season until the end.

Mosquito Trap for All Seasons

Mosquito Magnet® Traps Use the Power of Attraction

Unlike other mosquito control methods, Mosquito Magnet® does not temporarily repel mosquitoes. Instead, it relies on the power of attraction to lure and kill mosquitoes. Continuous use of a Mosquito Magnet® trap throughout the mosquito season will disrupt their breeding cycle. Because fewer mosquitoes are breeding, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in the mosquito population on your property.

The Mosquito Magnet® Attraction Process

Have you ever wondered what makes humans so attractive to mosquitoes? Mosquitoes are naturally drawn to the warmth, moisture and carbon dioxide that is found in human breath. When you exhale, you’re unwittingly inviting mosquitoes to stop by for a snack.

A Mosquito Magnet® trap emits a precise and steady stream of carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture that mimics human breath. When the mosquitoes are lured to the trap, the patented Counterflow™ Technology works like a vacuum cleaner and sucks them inside. The mosquitoes then become entangled in a specially designed net, where they die of dehydration within 24 hours. Instead of repelling mosquitoes, you’re systematically capturing and killing them all season long.

Start Using Your Trap at the Beginning of the Mosquito Season

It’s important to begin your mosquito control efforts as early as possible, before the breeding cycle goes into full swing. You should start using your Mosquito Magnet® trap as soon as the temperature begins to rise above the 50° F level. This ensures you’ll be able to trap those newly emerging mosquitoes before they have a chance to meet up with their friends.

Since the trap is designed for effective 24/7 operation, you’ll be able to keep trapping them as the mosquito system progresses. Here are a few examples of suggested trap starting times for a cross-section of U.S. states:

•  Mosquito season in Maine: early May

•  Mosquito season in Alaska: early May

•  Mosquito season in California: early April in the north and early March in the south

•  Mosquito season in Pennsylvania: late April

•  Mosquito season in Florida: early March in the north and early February in the south

•  Mosquito season in Arizona: early March

Maximize Trap Performance With a Secondary Attractant

Regardless of when the mosquito season starts in your area, you can increase your catch rate by as much as 10 times by using a secondary attractant. We offer EPA-registered attractants that are tailored to the types of mosquitoes that are most prevalent in specific regions:

•  Octenol — Ideally suited for luring the Asian tiger mosquito found in coastal areas and the northern U.S. and Canada

•  R-Octenol — An enhanced formulation of Octenol that lures most mosquito species found in coastal regions and the northern U.S.

•  Lurex3™: Powerful attractant for luring the Asian tiger and other day-biting mosquitoes found in the southern U.S. and Hawaii

Mosquito Attractant Map

Be Ready for Mosquito Season – Whenever It Starts

When does mosquito season start? Whether the mosquitoes in your neck of the woods begin to make their presence known in February, June or anytime in between, a Mosquito Magnet® trap can provide the season-long protection you need to keep these uninvited guests away.

When is mosquito season over? The beginning of the end for mosquitoes occurs when you start running your Mosquito Magnet® trap! Check out the complete lineup of Mosquito Magnet® traps and choose the one that best meets your mosquito control requirements.

Things That Eat Mosquitoes

what eats mosquitoes, bats eat mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes

Things that eat mosquitoes, what eats mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes

5 Things That Eat Mosquitoes

We all know how much mosquitoes like to dine on us – but what eats mosquitoes? While there are plenty of animals that eat mosquitoes – the purple martin, red-eared slider and various other reptiles and amphibians – mosquitoes don’t make up a significant portion of their diet. However, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most interesting creatures that choose mosquitoes as their dinner-of-choice.

what eats mosquitoes, bats eat mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes
Little Forest Bat in glove” photograph by Doug Beckers, CCPL, Source Flickr

The Little Forest Bat Eats Mosquitoes

Vespadelus vulturnus, the little forest bat, is a microbat and a predator of mosquitoes. These bats, weighing in at only 3.5-6g and comparing in size to a sparrow, inhabit the eucalypt forests of south eastern Australia. These microbats are carnivorous, feasting upon flying insects that they typically catch on their wings. A study by the University of Sydney showed that their hunting range dramatically shifted in accordance with abundance of mosquitoes in a location. Mosquitoes are a very important part of the little forest bat’s diet.

What eats mosquitoes, dragonflies eat mosquitoes

Dragonflies Eat Mosquitoes

With over 5,000 known species of dragonflies, these insects offer up the potential to decimate mosquito populations. As some of the first winged insects to evolve over 300 million years ago, fossils of this prehistoric helicopter indicate a wingspan of up to two feet! In both their larval and adult stages, dragonflies are known to eat mosquitoes. A single adult dragonfly can eat anywhere from 30 mosquitoes up to hundreds of these bloodsuckers per day – depending on what it’s in the mood for

what eats mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes, spiders eat mosquitoes, vampire spider

Spiders Eat Mosquitoes

Spiders will have the occasional mosquito snack – but often opt for other meals when available. However, two jumping spiders from two separate continents share a passion for the delicious mosquito. Evarcha culicivora and Paracyrba wanlessi are specialized in the art of capturing mosquitoes. These spiders will even ignore other insects in order to chow down on a mosquito.

In East Africa, the Evarcha culicivora – dubbed the vampire spider – feasts upon female Anopheles mosquitoes that have just had a blood meal. Even more fascinating is that the vampire spider is the only known animal that chooses its prey based upon the prey’s diet. By consuming a blood-filled mosquito, the Evarcha culicivora become more attractive in the spider dating-scene.

Paracyrba wanlessi stalks mosquitoes in the bamboo forests of Malaysia.  This spider, described as being “like a miniature cat,” will hunt both adult and larval stage mosquitoes – regardless of whether the prey is empty or full. This mosquito is said to be hardwired to a preference for mosquitoes, even if they had never before been exposed to a mosquito (such as in a laboratory environment).

Things that eat mosquitoes, what eats mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes

Mosquitoes Eat Mosquitoes

Yes, other mosquitoes! Toxorhynchites rutilus, aka the elephant mosquito or mosquito eater, is considered a beneficial pollinator – drinking up nectar from flowers and pollinating along the way. It is the larvae of this species that feed upon the larvae of other mosquitoes. As adults, unlike biting mosquitoes, both male and female elephant mosquitoes feed solely on flower nectar.

Fun fact: Often confused for the real “mosquito eater” is the adult crane fly, which you may find bouncing around your walls and porch near lamplight. While completely harmless to you, it’s also completely harmless to mosquitoes. It has gone by such monikers as a mosquito hawk, skeeter eater, and giant mosquito – all of which are misnomers.

What eats mosquitoes, ants eat mosquitoes, pitcher plant mosquitoes, eat mosquitoes
Nepenthes bicalcarata by CARNIVORASLAND, CCPL, Source Flickr

Ants Eat Mosquitoes

Camponotus schmitzi, an ant species native to Borneo, lives inside the stems of the pitcher plant Nepenthes bicalcarata. These ants are able to swim under the water inside of the pitcher plant to eat mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. This beneficial relationship keeps the ant colony fed and keeps mosquito larvae from stealing nutrients from the pitcher plant.

Do you know of some other interesting critters that eat mosquitoes? Let us know in the comments, or tell us about it on your next visit to Facebook. Never miss an article; sign up for the Mosquito Magnet Newsletter for discounts and special offers!

The Dos and Don’ts of Mosquito Bites

Herbal remedies for treating mosquito bites

It happened: you’ve just been bitten by a mosquito. Get ready for swelling, itching – and if you’re like some of us – about a dozen more bites to come. For many – the lucky ones – mosquito bites only result in a mild allergic reaction that goes away in a short period of time. But in some cases, a mosquito bite could lead to the onset of a more serious allergic reaction, or the contraction of a mosquito-borne illness such as Zika, West Nile or encephalitis.

Mosquito Bite Care

So what should you do if you’ve become a tasty morsel for the mosquitoes? Here are some basic dos and don’ts for dealing with mosquito bites:

  • Wash the area: Any broken skin could lead to infection or more severe health consequences. Thoroughly washing the area with soap and water can prevent this from occurring. A good oatmeal soap can clean the area and also provide some moisture and itch relief.
  • Apply anti-itch cream: Applying calamine lotion or an anti-itch product can help to alleviate the discomfort. Hydrocortisone cream, for example, will work to reduce the inflammation around the area.
  • Apply ice: Ice will reduce the swelling and alleviate the itching sensation.
  • Take an antihistamine: Over-the-counter antihistamines can be effective in combating an allergic reaction resulting from a mosquito bite.

treating mosquito bites, MosquitoMagnet.comWhatever You Do, Don’t Scratch a Mosquito Bite

For most people, the first reaction is to scratch an itchy mosquito bite. But unfortunately, scratching will only provide temporary relief. What’s more, scratching will actually inflame the area and cause the itching to get worse. You may also increase your chances of infection. If you must do something – tap or slap the bite, which will momentarily pause the itchy feeling.

When to Seek Treatment for Mosquito Bites

A mosquito bite will usually go away in a day or two. However, if the redness, itching and swelling lingers, or you notice signs of infection, you should seek medical treatment. Other more severe symptoms that should not be ignored include fever, headaches and body aches.

Herbal remedies for treating mosquito bitesWhat About Home Remedies for Treating Mosquito Bites?

There are many household items that can be used for treating mosquito bites. Here are a few home remedies you can try:

  • Spoon: Believe it or not, many people find that applying a warm spoon to the affected area can alleviate the itch and discomfort.
  • Onions: The juice from a fresh onion may provide relief — as long as you don’t mind shedding a few tears in the process! Of course, you’ll want to avoid applying this mosquito bite remedy anywhere near your eyes or nose.
  • Preparation H: Phenylephrine, the active ingredient in Preparation H that reduces the swelling from hemorrhoids, can also do the same for mosquito bites.
  • Lemon or Lime Juice: This antibacterial fluid will clean and provide some itch relief. Just be sure you’re not out in direct sunlight while applying citrus juice – as it will cause you to get sunburn more easily.
  • Toothpaste: Some claim that applying toothpaste to the affected area will relieve the itch on contact.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is an alkaline-based product that can neutralize the pH in the skin. This can promote the bite healing process.
  • Table salt: Salt offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can provide mosquito bite relief. Combine the salt with a small amount of water to create a paste that can be applied to the affected area.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: You can apply vinegar directly to your spots or mix 2-3 cups into your bathwater. Definitely don’t apply this at the same time as baking soda.
  • Basil: Break out the mortar and pestle and crush up some basil leaves. The oils in basil contain chemicals– such as camphor – which will create a cooling feeling when applied to the skin.
  • Alcohol: Don’t go running for a gin and tonic, we’re talking about applying rubbing alcohol to clean the area! Although – did you know the gin and tonic was created in the early 19th century to combat and prevent the mosquito-borne illness Malaria? Quinine, the ingredient that fights malaria, was very bitter – so officers in the British East India Tea Company took to adding water, lime, sugar and gin to make the necessary medication more palatable.

Be careful when using any mosquito home remedy, as not everyone may have the same reaction. Always consult your doctor when trying new treatments.

mosquito bitePrevent Mosquito Bites From Occurring in the First Place!

Want to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes? Setting up the new Mosquito Magnet® Patriot Plus trap can help control the mosquito population throughout the summer season. The Mosquito Magnet works by attracting biting female mosquitoes with a combination of CO2 and a lure which mimics the scent of a blood meal. They are then sucked into the trap where they will dehydrate and die within 24 hours. Fewer mosquitoes = fewer mosquito bites!

Stay in-the-know about what goes buzz in the night by following Mosquito Magnet on Facebook. Sign up for the Mosquito Magnet Newsletter for discounts and special offers!

First U.S. Zika-Related Death Reported in Puerto Rico

zika virus, mosquito borne diseases, guillain-barre syndrome, Zika-related death, Mosquito Magnet

First U.S. Zika-Related Death Reported in Puerto Rico

Amidst an outbreak of mosquito-borne Zika virus – the first U.S. Zika-related death has been recorded. The unidentified 70-year-old man sought help at a health center in San Juan and was dead in less than 24 hours.

Officials report that the man had recovered from the initial symptoms of the Zika virus, after which, he developed a condition causing antibodies to attack his blood platelet cells – ultimately dying from internal bleeding. The CDC report says the man died of “complications related to severe thrombocytopenia.” Three similar cases have also been recorded the South American country of Colombia.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Puerto Rico

Also in Puerto Rico, 89 pregnant women are infected with Zika while 19 are hospitalized and four are believed to have developed Guillain-Barre. This is among the approximate 600 cases that have erupted on the island.

So far, there have been 426 reported cases of Zika in the U.S. – all of which were connected to travel into outbreak areas. But, officials warn that small clusters of Zika will occur in the U.S. as mosquito numbers grow. As concern swells, Quest Diagnostics has announced that it has received emergency authorization from the FDA to sell its diagnostic test for Zika in the U.S.

Stick with Mosquito Magnet for updates on the spread of Zika and everything you need to know to keep mosquitoes from invading your property.

Find other updates here!

Zika virus: Here’s what you need to know

Mosquito on hand - diseases spread by mosquitoes

Update for September 2, 2016: Miami Beach Mosquitoes Test Positive for Zika Virus

Update for August 2, 2016: CDC Issues Travel Warning during Miami Zika Outbreak

Update for May 11, 2016: Zika Virus Detected in Asian Tiger Mosquitoes – Puts Northern US in Danger of an Outbreak

Update for  April 29, 2016: First U.S. Zika-Related Death Reported in Puerto Rico

Update for April 12, 2016: ZIka is a Threat to Adults

New information on the Zika virus is being released frequently. Check back here for updates.

 Zika Virus: Here’s What You Need to Know

The Zika virus is one of several tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes. The world has seen a strong increase in the number of infections and complications involving this virus since 2015, especially in parts of South and Central America — particularly in Brazil. The virus is closely related to the West Nile virus, dengue, and yellow fever.

The Zika virus was in the news frequently in 2015, and continues to dominate headlines in 2016, mostly because it has been linked to microcephaly, a rare but serious birth defect. Pregnant women who are bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus have a risk of birth complications — including microcephaly.

In late 2015, Brazil declared a state of emergency because of the virus, which caused many other nations to become concerned about the safety of their own people. In late January 2016, the World Health Organization considered declaring the Zika virus outbreak an international health emergency.

Why do mosquitoes cause so many illnesses?

West Nile virus, malaria, and other diseases can all be spread by the bite of a mosquito. In fact, the mosquito is considered one of the most deadly creatures on earth. Part of the reason for this is its bite. Female mosquitoes need blood when they are getting ready to produce eggs. While mosquitoes only take a tiny amount of blood, they tap directly into our bloodstreams, meaning they can pass microbes back and forth between victims, easily spreading infectious diseases and viruses.

diseases spread by mosquitoes

History of the Zika virus

The virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, in a forest known as Zika. Since then, the virus has been common in Asia and Africa. However, it has not traditionally been associated with microcephaly. This is partly because outbreaks of the virus didn’t happen in larger populations.

In addition, since microcephaly is rare, no noticeable spike in the number of affected births were found. Compared to life-threatening mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, the Zika virus seemed relatively minor since most patients didn’t even require hospitalization.

Then, in 2007, the virus began to spread — first to small islands in the Pacific. By 2013, an outbreak of the Zika virus occurred in French Polynesia. The virus was on the move again, and this time 42 residents out of the 270,000 in French Polynesia had developed the rare Guillain-Barrê syndrome, a condition causing paralysis. It was the first time scientists recognized that the Zika virus could lead to very serious complications on a grand scale, and the first time they saw the virus affecting the brain and nervous system.

In May 2015, another outbreak happened in Brazil. It was the first time the virus was seen in significant numbers in the Western Hemisphere. It was also the first time the virus was linked to high instances of microcephaly.

What are the symptoms of the Zika virus?

Symptoms of Zika virus are generally mild and usually last no longer than a week. Most patients do not need to be hospitalized, and the virus is very rarely fatal. Although everyone reacts differently, the most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Mild flu-like symptoms

One of the challenges with Zika virus is the lack of symptoms. Some patients have such mild symptoms they don’t even realize they have been affected, and only about one in five patients ever experience any symptoms. In most cases, the incubation period for the virus is likely no more than twelve days, and symptoms usually pass in seven to ten days without any need for medical assistance.Zika Mosquito Virus - only one in five people show symptoms


How does the virus spread?

The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito. A mosquito will bite someone who has the virus, and will then become a carrier itself. If the affected mosquito then bites a healthy person, that person will contract the virus.

Not all mosquitoes act as carriers. The culprits are yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus), distinctive for the white stripes on their bodies. These insects are more likely to bite in the daytime, when many people don’t expect mosquitoes to be active. Only the females of these species bite.What you need to know about the Zika virus

Although the virus is most often spread from an infected mosquito to a healthy person, scientists think it may be spread other ways as well. For example, it may be spread from a mother to her unborn child, and there is some evidence that it may be spread through sexual contact or even blood transfusions, although more information is needed about this. Scientists agree that the vast majority of cases are contracted through mosquito bites.

The Zika virus outbreak and your risk

While the symptoms of the virus are mild compared to malaria and other mosquito diseases, the Zika virus poses a significant threat to pregnant women because it can cause birth defects. Specifically, when a pregnant woman is bitten by a mosquito and contracts Zika fever, her unborn child is at an increased risk for microcephaly and, possibly, other birth complications as well.

Microcephaly is a birth defect leading to delayed development, brain damage, cognitive problems and a very small cranium. In some cases, people with microcephaly have a reduced life span and most are permanently disabled. Since the condition affects the development of the brain, some babies born with microcephaly die within a few days, simply because their brains have not developed to the point where life can be sustained. There is currently no vaccine for the disorder, and there are few ways to prevent it other than reducing the number of Zika virus infections among pregnant women.

The effects of the Zika virus

In 2015 and 2016, many of the babies affected by microcephaly likely caused by the Zika virus were born in Brazil, which has suffered a Zika virus epidemic. The virus has spread throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean, although many other countries in warmer climates around the world are potentially affected.

Researchers are not certain what the link is between microcephaly and the Zika virus, nor do they know how the virus leads to microcephaly. However, it’s hard to argue with the facts: in Brazil, an outbreak of Zika virus has been linked closely with unusually high numbers of microcephaly.How many babies in Brazil are infected with Zika Virus

Usually, Brazil reports 150 cases of microcephaly out of the approximately 3 million babies born each year. Between May 2015 and early 2016 alone, however, when an outbreak of the Zika virus occurred, about 4000 instances of microcephaly were reported. In the town of Pernambuco alone (population 9 million), there are usually 9 cases of microcephaly and 129,000 births reported each year. Between May and November 2015, the town reported 646 babies born with microcephaly. In the United States, one child born in Miami in January 2016 was diagnosed with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus.


Where is the Zika virus now?

Due to the risk to pregnant women, the CDC has recommended that pregnant women avoid traveling to countries where the virus is endemic. In January 2016, this included Brazil, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Suriname, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Venezuela, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, and Puerto Rico, although over time, more countries may be added to the list.

Brazil Zika VirusIf you must travel where the virus is active, or if you are not yet pregnant but are considering getting pregnant, talk to a doctor first. If you are bitten by a mosquito, contract the virus, and then get pregnant, the virus may still be in your system, causing potential risks.

In addition to the threat of microcephaly, the Zika virus can cause other complications, such as Zika infection. The Zika virus can be passed from mother to unborn baby, and babies may suffer from Zika infection, which can affect their hearing and their sight, even if they don’t have microcephaly.

The Zika virus in the US

As of early 2016, no one had contracted the Zika virus from mosquitoes in the United States, but between 2015 and 2016, several travelers had returned to the United States with the fever after contracting the virus in affected countries. Between 2015 and late January 2016, approximately 31 cases were reported across 11 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, one case was reported in the American Virgin Islands and 19 in Puerto Rico. However, a forecast suggests there may be 3-4 million cases of Zika infection between the Southern US and Argentina during the year 2016.

A few instances of Zika virus among travelers have also been found in Canada. However, Chile and Canada are the only two regions in the Americas where the virus likely won’t gain a foothold, because the climates aren’t sustainable to the mosquitos carrying the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the United States is at risk for a Zika virus outbreak, since the mosquitoes carrying the virus have been emigrating to certain parts of the country — especially California. The United States has the climate to support these mosquitoes, and they have already been spotted in 12 California counties.

What can pregnant women do if they have been exposed?

what to do if you're pregnant and you think you have the zika virus

The rules for at-risk pregnant women have been changing since 2015 as new information has become available. The CDC initially recommended that at-risk pregnant women receive blood tests to screen for the Zika virus if they had traveled to areas where the virus was active. Unfortunately, this poses a few problems:

  • Laboratories do not have the resources to test all potentially affected women.
  • Women may not realize they are at risk (because they don’t have symptoms or don’t notice a mosquito bite).
  • The risk between the Zika virus and pregnancy is not entirely understood, meaning there may be a secondary infection or something in addition to the Zika virus causing birth defects. In which case, a test for the virus alone may not be enough.
  • The location of the Zika virus may change over time, potentially affecting who may be at risk.
  • Blood tests for the Zika virus are only accurate within the first week of infection. After that, other antibody tests may be less accurate.

Women who may be at risk are encouraged to get ultrasounds to check fetal development. Microcephaly can usually only be detected towards the final stages of the second trimester, however, which means that women may learn of the condition but have few choices, especially since there is no cure or treatment for microcephaly.

Another complication with pregnancy is researchers’ belief concerning when infection occurs. Scientists believe pregnant women are most at risk from the Zika virus during the first trimester. Unfortunately, many women might not realize they are pregnant at this stage, and therefore may not realize they are at risk.

What can I do to protect my family?

Currently, there is no treatment and no vaccine for the Zika virus. Since the disease has traditionally not been very dangerous and doesn’t usually result in hospitalization, there has been little push to develop vaccines or medications. With new links to microcephaly, there is some growing concern about how to keep people safe.

Mosquito bite Zika virus

If you are worried about the Zika virus, there are a few things you can do:

  • Get the facts. The biggest risk is to pregnant women, and most people outside this group may not even experience symptoms if they’re bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. If you are not pregnant and not planning on getting pregnant, this disease probably does not pose a risk to you as long as you are generally healthy.
  • Be cautious about your travel plans. If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, try to avoid areas where the virus is active. Check for up-to-date reports about the spread of the virus and be aware that any countries where the yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito live are a risk — even if an outbreak has not yet been reported in the area. Talk to your doctor before you travel.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when heading outside. This is especially important during the day when the yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito are most active. Try to avoid swampy and wet areas, where mosquito breeding grounds are most common.
  • Stay inside. Keep the air conditioning on, and make sure mosquitos stay outdoors where they belong. Use screens on your windows and doors to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Use mosquito nets at night to provide further protection.
  • Use insect repellant. Look for insect repellants with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration, which ensures effectiveness and safety. Always follow the instructions on the package when using these products.
  • Reduce mosquitoes where you live. Mosquitoes don’t just spread the Zika virus, but also many other viruses and diseases. If you live in a warm climate or a four-season climate where mosquitoes thrive, work to reduce the number of mosquitoes buzzing near your home. This will reduce your risk of bites. You can reduce mosquito breeding grounds by mowing your lawn, keeping hedges trimmed, and by eliminating all standing water on your property.

Reducing your risk of mosquito bites

Reducing your risk of any mosquito diseases, including the Zika virus, begins with decreasing your chances of getting mosquito bites. If mosquitoes don’t bite you, you won’t be at risk. Additionally, the fewer mosquitoes you have in your area, the lower your risk of bites.

One way to control mosquito populations where you live is with mosquito traps. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps, for example, are based on extensive research and are scientifically proven to control mosquitoes effectively and safely over specific areas. This long-term solution converts propane into a mixture attractive to mosquitoes: a precise blend of CO2, moisture, heat and a secondary attractant.

When female mosquitos approach the trap, they’re sucked in with a vacuum and deposited in netting, where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. With fewer female mosquitoes in your area, there are fewer of them to breed, helping to reduce the mosquito population over time.

Want to Know More?

Are you taking steps to protect your family from mosquito bites? Tell us about it by visiting the Mosquito Magnet® Facebook page. If you’d like to do more to reduce mosquitoes on your property, or would like more facts about our mosquito traps, contact us by calling us at 800-953-5737 or by visiting our website. Get the latest news about mosquitoes and mosquito prevention by signing up for the Mosquito Magnet® newsletter.

GMO Mosquitoes: What You Need to Know

genetically modified mosquitoes, transgenic mosquitoes, GMO mosquitoes


The talk of the town is how to effectively control the mosquito population and reduce the risk for mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika Virus and dengue fever. For many, spraying for mosquito control is undesirable, so an effort to create the Genetically Modified (GMO) self-destructing mosquito is underway. Tests have already been performed in a number of  countries using these types of mosquitoes, and talks are happening to potentially test these GMO mosquitoes in Florida as well. Many questions have arisen about the use of these GMO mosquitoes and their safe usage out in the world. We hope to shed some light on the topic, so here is a quick rundown of GMO mosquitoes and what you should know about them.

What is a GMO Mosquito?

GMO mosquitoes are mosquitoes that have been implanted with a gene or bacteria which was not originally present or naturally occurring in the insect.

In one case, the implant in question is a self-limiting gene that disrupts the normal processes of mosquitoes’ offspring. These offspring will, in turn, not survive to adulthood. These lab-grown Aedes aegypti mosquitoes would be released into the wild to mate with the wild population – where their offspring’s inability to grow to adulthood would lower the population of mosquitoes. These are also often referred to as transgenic mosquitoes. Alternatively, scientists have also created an infertile male mosquito which, when sent into the wild, breeds with females which then lay unfertilized eggs. These mosquitoes also contain a heritable gene which gives them a fluorescent mark, so that researchers can see the difference between the GMO mosquitoes and wild ones.

Another form of GMO mosquitoes have been implanted with bacteria called Wolbachia to fight dengue fever. Wolbachia stops the dengue virus from replicating inside the mosquito, making it impossible for dengue to pass on to humans. Scientists hope that the Wolbachia mosquitoes will then mate with the wild population, creating mosquitoes that are not able to carry and transmit dengue. The Wolbachia bacterium is much too large to fit in the mosquito’s proboscis – the probing mouthpart used to drink blood – and therefore has no chance of being transmitted into humans. If you’re brave enough – here is a video of the mosquito using its proboscis to find a meal.

Why GMO Mosquitoes?

The main reason GMO mosquitoes are being developed is to stop the spread of infectious diseases without the use of potentially harmful chemicals. In the 1950’s, for example, DDT was used to eradicate the A. aegypti mosquito during an outbreak of Malaria. Few mosquitoes were left, but bred so rapidly that they returned to their normal population numbers once again. The chemicals were also known to kill off beneficial insects as well. All these years later, the environment is still recovering from the side effects of using DDT – particularly with bird populations like the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon, which were devastated by the use of this chemical.

GMO Mosquitoes in Florida?

Several years ago there was an outbreak of dengue fever in Key West, which is a huge tourist destination. With the risk factors of spreading disease being so high, county officials plan to begin releasing the self-limiting GMO mosquitoes in Florida. While many of the locals are concerned about possible consequences – officials are currently awaiting FDA approval to begin.

zika virus, mosquito borne diseases

Can GMO Mosquitoes Stop Zika?

Studies performed in 2015 show that the self-limiting mosquito method showed a reduction of 82 percent of mosquito larvae in Piracicaba, São Paulo Brazil.  They also concluded that the test reduced the number of dengue cases in the area. While this is great news in the quest for eradication of mosquito-borne illnesses, it is not conclusive that this would help to eradicate the risk altogether of a breakout of the Zika virus. Since the virus itself is not what is being stopped from transmission – the remaining percentage of mosquitoes could still be a vector, or carrier, of the virus. Much more research and testing will need to be completed before there is a final answer. Especially in poorer countries, costly research might be too much of an imposition.

What Can We Do Right Now?

One of the main things to do to combat Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases is to educate the public in areas where the outbreaks are common. Be sure that people know to wear protective clothing, use repellents and get rid of trash which could be holding water and larvae. Many governments are setting up programs where volunteers are sent to homes to show people what can be done to drive down the disease-carrying mosquito population.


While Zika has not yet hit the U.S. in the form of an outbreak – those who have contracted the disease had visited an outbreak area and come back to the states – mosquitoes can still be a vector for diseases like West Nile virus.

Homeowners and businesses can drastically reduce the number of mosquitoes on their property by using mosquito traps. Mosquito Magnet mosquito traps attract the female mosquito by using a lure in conjunction with CO2. Mosquitoes are drawn to the lure, and then pulled into the trap via the patented CounterFlow™ Technology, where they will dehydrate and die within 24 hours. The reduction in the female mosquito population will reduce your chances of being bitten by a mosquito.

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