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Advice from the UGA Extension: How to best combat mosquitos

The sun is out, the temperature is warm, the flowers are blooming, and the bees are buzzing… Know what else is buzzing? Mosquitoes! Mosquitoes are buzzing! Is it already that dreaded time of year? Unfortunately, yes, we have begun seeing mosquito activity already.

Mosquitoes are a common nuisance around the world, which results in a variety of ways that are known to reduce populations. What does the University of Georgia say? Well, like most pests, integrated pest management is the best way to target your mosquito problem.

What is integrated pest management, you may ask? “Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable, science-based, decision-making process that combines biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools to identify, manage and reduce risk from pests and pest management tools and strategies in a way that minimizes overall economic, health and environmental risks.”

Understanding the biological and cultural components of a mosquito is crucial to reducing populations and controlling large infestations of the pest, starting with the fact that all mosquitoes require standing water for their larval and pupal development. Reducing the location availability for life development by tipping and tossing all containers for water storage in and around your house as well as ensuring your yard is adequately drained during periods of wet weather will prevent significant breeding close to you.

Chemical control will also help in reducing populations of mosquitoes near you. There are two different classifications of chemicals needs to control insect populations: larvicide and adulticide.

Larvicides should be used in the event that standing water cannot be removed. If you have bodies of water than cannot be removed, mosquito fish are a viable option in some scenarios. Larvicides that can be used include Methoprene, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis, Bacillus sphaericus, and Spinosad. Surface film oils are also known to be effective against the pupal stage. These products are known as growth regulators, which disrupt the life cycle process resulting in mosquitoes that will not transition into adults.

Adulicides will be the next step of chemical control. These products kill adult mosquitoes, reducing the adult populations. Adulticides used for mosquito control include Naled, Malathion, Chlorpyrifos, Permethrin, Deltamethrin, Sumithrin, Prallethrin, and Etofenprox. When using these products, ensure you protect pollinators by reading and following directions on the pesticide label. Applying these products later in the day can also assist in reducing contact with pollinators.

Do not let mosquitoes ruin the beauty of spring and summer for you and your family. By utilizing the steps of IPM and IMM (integrated mosquito management), you can help in controlling significant mosquito populations around your home so you can enjoy the beautiful days of spring.

The steps are:

1) Biological and cultural control of reducing standing water,

2) physical control (mosquito fish in suitable areas of water),

and 3) chemical control of using larvicides and adulticides to control populations.

Always remember to read and follow all pesticide labels because that label is the law.

For questions, contact your local county extension at 129 North Anderson Drive, Swainsboro or call 237-1226.

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