Though the passing into fall means getting closer to winter, some people might relish this passing thanks to a summer full of mosquitos. When the cooler temperatures arrive, most people believe that they no longer need to worry about getting bit, bugged, or exposed to the dreaded Zika virus. Unfortunately, mosquitos do not die off as soon as the first snowflakes begin to fly. Learning exactly what they do in the off-season can help you and your family prepare now to prevent a future mosquito hatching problem when spring arrives.
The Lifecycle Of The Mosquito
Unlike some of the other pesky insects of summer, mosquitoes do not simply die off during the colder months. The ways in which they survive the cold depends on the species. The mosquito that is responsible for transmitting the Zika virus is the Aedes aegypti. This breed overwinters in the egg stage. As the temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the adult females deposit their final batch of eggs in areas as shallow as a half-inch of water. The female adults eventually die, but the newly deposited eggs enter a stage that suspends their development during the cold months.
When the temperatures begin to rise, and the rainfall begins to increase in the spring, the eggs are re-submerged into the water and begin to hatch. This creates the next generation of the annoying Aedes mosquitos that will seek out humans for their food source. According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the most alarming thing about this breed is that these newly hatched offspring can be infected with the Zika virus
No matter where you live, it’s important to take steps to avoid mosquito infestation in and around your home. Many of the same steps taken in the summer can be taken during the fall and winter. Equally as important is to avoid getting bit when you spend any amount of time outdoors. Follow these important tips to ensure mosquito safety:
- Inspect your property and get rid of any standing water that can become a breeding ground for mosquito eggs. Empty out your birdbaths, flowerpots, grill covers, and any area where water can collect.
- Unclog your home’s gutters, repair leaky pipes and faucets outside the house, drill holes in the bottom of wheel barrels to allow drainage, and ensure trash cans are tightly sealed with lids secured.
- Apply an insect repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus when you spend time outdoors. This is especially important in areas that don’t get much colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure that you follow the directions on the label for any type of insect repellant.
Taking the steps to prevent mosquitos is important. Don’t let these bothersome bugs take advantage of you this winter. Preparing now can give you the enjoyment you’ll look forward to this spring.