In the early years in Moore Haven, before the advent of mosquito control, it was almost impossible to remain outdoors at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are most active. The female mosquito requires blood for reproduction, not for feeding. Early mosquito control methods included the use of DDT or other harsh chemicals that were harmful to animals and the environment. These chemicals sometimes killed beneficial insects such as bees necessary for pollination of our crops as well as mosquito populations. New chemicals have been developed which are much more environmentally friendly and are still just as effective.
Recently, an elderly gentleman pointed out that many years ago the thermal fogger used to put out a very heavy cloud of pesticides and now the ultra low volume (ULV) aerosol mist is more effective. Mosquito control is regulated by federal, state and local laws with regard to the kinds and amounts of chemicals for use in mosquito control and the number of droplets per cubic meter. Local mosquito control boards are charged with the responsibility of seeing that laws and standards are met.
However, since mosquito populations are obviously much greater where there is standing water, it stands to reason that those who choose to live next to ponds, lakes canals as well as rivers are going to experience greater populations of mosquitoes. The truck mounted ultra low volume aerosol mist is able to reach most of the critical areas where mosquitoes breed. However, the ULV cannot always reach areas where the roads are unimproved, to narrow or do not provide adequate space to turn around without infringing on private property. Nevertheless, by adulticiding on improved roads around these areas, mosquito populations are greatly reduced.
Most mosquitoes breed in standing water. Source reduction can be as simple as emptying water from containers around the home. This is something that homeowners can easily accomplish. For example homeowners can eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by removing unused plastic pools, old tires or buckets, by clearing clogged gutters and repairing leaks around faucets or by regularly changing water in bird baths and by filling or draining puddles, swampy areas and tree stumps. Eliminating such mosquito breeding areas can be an extremely effective and a permanent way to reduce mosquito populations without resorting to insecticides.
In addition to source reduction there are other methods of controlling mosquito populations. One such method is to use a slow drip can of biodegradable oil such as vegetable oil to drip on the surface of standing water that cannot be removed. This kills mosquito larvae by preventing them from getting their breathing tubes above the surface of the water and in addition it discourages the adult mosquito from the laying eggs on the surface. Also there are other methods such as the hanging lighted mosquito trap that attracts mosquitoes and kills them.
Yet another method is known as mosquito attractants that emit a plume of carbon dioxide along with other attractants such as sugary scents, lactic acid, octenol, warmth and water vapor mimicking the scent of mammals. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, “these devices will, indeed, trap and kill measurable numbers of mosquitoes.” There are many more ways to deal with mosquitoes too numerous to mention here. The Internet is a great resource.