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Mosquitoes

     Bird Watching
  PondStuff! Monthly Pond & Water Gardening Newsletter

Mosquitoes


Yesterday, I thought a walk at Jones Beach would be so nice.  It was getting late, nearing sundown, and I hadn’t been to the beach all summer.  As a child, I lived for the beach.  I guess that’s what prompted me to install a pond in the first place.  I wanted waterfront property and I got it.  But I figured a slow walk, with shoes in hand, along the surf at eventide ... it paints a nice picture, doesn’t it?

Wrong!  It took about 10 minutes of walking, taking pictures of the incredible painted sunset for me to notice the girl standing next to me was literally COVERED by mosquitoes!  There were others who had started running from the sand dunes toward their cars.  It took a couple of minutes for everything to register before we took flight too. 

There had been a crisp breeze, almost a real wind blowing, but part of the sky was covered with the “former” rain clouds.  In fact, we were right in the middle of a rain break.  It wasn’t more than drizzling, hardly more than a mist, and not at all unpleasant at the beach.  It almost seemed to be ocean spray.  But it brought out the breeding mosquitoes for their blood meal.

Here are a few mosquito facts everybody should know.  First, they are all egg-layers, although the eggs are laid differently depending upon which specie of mosquito.  Next, there are some very effective larvacides on the market that everybody with a pond or birdbath, or fountain, should use.  They target the mosquito and do not kill beneficial insects like the non-selective chemical sprays.  Some eggs will hatch into larva within 3-4 days.  Others can take up to 18 days.  Even others are well adapted to drought areas and can remain viable for many years until activated by water.

Yellow Fever was found to be spread by the brindled Aedes aegypti mosquito.  Malaria is carried by Culex pipiens, the common gray house mosquito.  The primary carrier of  Equine Encephalitis virus is the Culiseta melanura, a species of “swamp mosquito” that breeds in underground bodies of water cavities, such as under the trunk of a swamp tree at water level, especially the white cedar.  Curiously, the mosquito has to feed on a bird, and then another will act as carrier when it bites an infected bird AND transfers to a human host.  Now, I am going to simplify this by not naming the Latin names of specific mosquito species, but just to let you know that

1)   There are different mosquitoes responsible for carrying specific diseases

2)   There are EPA registered and approved larvacides on the market

3)   You don’t have to wait for your town or county to kill the mosquitoes for you

4)   Nobody has to wait until a deadly mosquito-carried virus strikes home to take action

5)   Mosquitoes are not just bothersome pests.

6)   Mosquitoes breed in flower pots, old tires, sea shells, and anything else that holds water.  It’s not just about ponds…

 

by Carolyn Weise, Ecological Laboratories, Inc.

 

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