The phrase might have been considered vulgar if it came up in an earlier generation. Yet today, “Mosquitos suck,” seems to be pretty widely accepted, and it stands as a full sentence. No doubt about it, it’s true both literally and figuratively, and that’s one reason there is so much interest in mosquito pest control. The annoyance of mosquitos – the discomfort they bring and their talent for ruining what otherwise would have been an enjoyable occasion – a picnic, a softball game, an evening with friends on the patio – is enough to give them a bad name.
The very definition of the term, “pest,” mosquitos are relentless, intrusive, and the itch they leave behind can seem to last for hours. Plenty of reasons for mosquito pest control right there. Yet there are some even bigger reasons for mosquito pest control than that. The serious reasons for mosquito pest control may have faded into the memory of an earlier generation, but today public health experts have their eye on that hazard once again.
As a result, it makes sense to consider mosquito pest control in the light of some serious health hazards, as well as that of our own comfort and convenience.
Far Worse than the Movie
New Orleans in 1853 and Savannah in 1876 presented grizzly pictures of sad, sudden death with outbreaks of Yellow Fever in the days when the mosquito’s role in spreading the disease was not yet understood. Yellow fever in New Orleans was the backdrop of a classic Bette Davis-Henry Fonda movie titled, Jezebel. The facts were far more lurid than the movie, with more than 9,000 deaths, probably under-reported, in New Orleans alone. In 1878, Yellow Fever killed an estimated 20,000 people in a swath that ran all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to St. Louis. The superstition and ignorance about Yellow Fever’s cause and spread made the nightmare even worse. One result is that Yellow Fever took the lives of an estimated 100,000 Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries.
And although even those who are aware today of the old Yellow Fever story might think of it as an occurrence of the South, even cities as far north as Boston, Portsmouth, and Providence suffered Yellow Fever epidemics in the century before the New Orleans and Savannah outbreaks.
New Threats in a New Century
West Nile and Zika are merely the two shortest-named mosquito-transmitted viruses to threaten our health and way of life in more recent years. And because trade and travel are global today, port cities and riverside cargo terminals are not the only locations where risk enters the traffic pattern.
Although great strides were made in mosquito pest control measures to limit the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, such as draining mosquito habitats beginning in 1930, scholars now suggest that the declining human population of the rural south in the mind-20th century may have played a significant role in making mosquito-borne disease less top-of-mind.
Clean, drinkable water, improved sanitation, and rising standards of living that included TV and air conditioning – resulting in more time spent indoors and less exposure for mosquitos to follow us there – brought about a period in which yellow fever, dengue fever, and malaria appeared to be practically wiped out in North America.
A whole different kind of germ is out there called zoonotic, in which animals other than humans play a major role in the transmission cycle. Examples are West Nile Virus and certain types of encephalitis. These threats remain even as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever seem to take their place in the history books.
Whether the risks at stake are our lives themselves, or just our way of life, mosquito pest control is not something to take on as a do-it-yourself project. We’ll offer you our best answer first: Bring in a professional for an assessment of your property’s mosquito risk and sources, and to formulate a specific treatment plan for you.
This is the route to comfort. And importantly, it is also the way to get the comfort that comes from peace of mind.
That said, there are mosquito repellents you can use, the best of them containing DEET. These will make your skin much less attractive to mosquitos. DEET is approved by the EPA for use by people of all ages, including children, and it breaks down quickly in the environment, so it Is not considered harmful to wildlife.
Mosquito traps can cut down on mosquito traffic in your outdoor play spaces. Our favorites are Dynatrap and Flowtron. For heavy-duty use, we think you’ll like the Mosquito Magnet. Even a large fan can play a helpful part in mosquito pest control, because they are fairly weak flyers, and the fan can ruin their aim.
What about citronella candles? We’ve all used them, let’s admit it. Yet a study we find interesting found that they were not effective at all, and in fact, may have actually attracted more mosquitos to the human beings in the study!
Mosquito Pest Control Advice
We’re happy to share what we know when it comes to mosquito pest control. Yet again, the best advice we can offer you is two-fold:
- The stakes for mosquito pest control may be higher than you think.
- The best way to start feeling good about it is to have us over for an assessment.
We hope we can be of service, and we look forward to helping you make your outdoor enjoyment season even more enjoyable.