How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard For Summer Fun

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Summer is finally here. Time to celebrate the sun, the great outdoors and the season for fun! Get ready for 4th of July festivities and lots of impromptu summer BBQ’s without the uninvited guests – mosquitoes. Mosquito control is the goal of many a homeowner. Mosquitoes are not only an itchy nuisance, but they can also carry serious diseases. The good news for this summer is we’ve got some pro tips to help you keep your yard mosquito free for ultimate outdoor enjoyment.

Summer’s Here! Grab These Tips To Ward Off Mosquitoes!

It’s just a little itchy, who cares? Mosquitoes, unfortunately, cause more than an itchy (and annoying) red bump that goes away in a few days. These summer friends carry a multitude of potentially life threatening health problems, like the West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus, that make mosquito control an essential goal for homeowners in areas prone to heavy mosquito activity.

You guys aren’t welcome at my house! There are many small and easy to implement steps homeowners can take to prevent mosquitoes* from overtaking their home bound summer festivities.

  • Don’t let standing water stand. Preventative steps like routinely checking your outdoor area for standing water is often overlooked but extremely helpful as mosquitoes thrive (and breed) in standing water. Standing water can pool up in potted plants, equipment that’s stored outside and storm drains – or any place that water can collect after summer rain showers.
  • Torches set the mosquito-free mood. Citronella torches and candles strategically placed where you spend most of your outdoor time can help reduce the appearance of mosquitoes during use.
  • When in doubt, set a mosquito trap. One mosquito magnet or trap has been estimated to control mosquitoes for up to an acre of property. The machine can be costly as it burns propane used to emit a stream of carbon dioxide which attracts mosquitoes, but can definitely provide another option for mosquito control.

My lawn can keep them away, wait what, how? If you’ve been wishing, hoping and searching for tips on how to get rid of mosquitoes, you might not have to look further than your very own garden. You can keep your yard mosquito free with some simple and beautifying tips from the pros at Spring-Green.

  • Plant mosquito-repelling plants. Many beautiful and functional plant, herb and flower choices abound that can offer the dual function of beauty as well as a repellent. Some popular choices include Marigold, Horsemint, Ageratum and Catnip. You can plant these types of plants in the ground to repel mosquitoes or grow them in planters that become mobile, allowing you to bring them to wherever you are spending time in your yard.
  • Keep your grass short. Every species of grass has a specified length that is best during different times of the year. Of course, you should always stay within those guidelines, but by keeping your grass short, you’ll also be ridding your yard of mosquitoes (at least some of them). The shorter grass offers less places for mosquitoes to breed, but keep in mind proper mowing guidelines.
  • Hire a professional. If you follow all the tips but still have a mosquito problem facing you every summer, you don’t have to retreat indoors. A simple phone call to your local lawn care professional at Spring-Green can get you loving the summer again. Have more fun outdoors without being bothered by these pesky insects. Our mosquito protection service* creates a barrier around your home to control the mosquito population and allow you to enjoy summer outdoors without worry or discomfort.

It’s summer which also means it’s mosquito breeding season, but that doesn’t mean we have to retreat indoors at the first sign of these pesky menaces. By following a few easy “best practices,” you can master mosquito control this summer to increase your fun and protect your family.

Spring-Green has been your neighborhood lawn care professional since 1977, and this summer is no exception. Count on us for all your lawn care and landscaping needs. Our professional mosquito control services create a barrier around your home that keeps pests away and keeps your family safe.

Schedule your mosquito control service today!

*Not available in all locations

What Attracts Mosquitoes and How to Avoid Bites

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Did you know only the female mosquitoes bite? Female mosquitoes use blood meals for its protein and other components it contains in order to produce their eggs. Males do not feed on blood; they mainly sip on plant nectar.

When females bite, they are doing what comes natural to them in order to survive. That does not make their bites any less bothersome, but maybe a little more understandable. There are 175 different species of mosquitoes and they have been around for about 170 million years, so they are not going away anytime soon.

What Attracts Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are attracted to humans by the release of carbon monoxide, something we do every minute of every day. Anything that can raise your metabolic rate is going to increase the amount of carbon monoxide you exhale. Pregnant women and people who are overweight have higher metabolic rates even at rest and so do people who exercise or are very active outside.

They are also attracted to movement, so the more active you are, the greater the chance you will be noticed. This can be increased by consuming beer at the same time as beer or most alcohols also increase your metabolic rate.

Mosquitoes can smell a victim from over 150 feet away. When we exercise or are very active, especially in the summer time, we develop body odor from the bacteria that grows on our skin. This body odor is an attractant to mosquitoes. Washing frequently is an option, but so is avoiding perfumes or other scents that can act as an attractant.

Some people claim that mosquitoes like them more, and to a certain extent that is true. Some people produce more secretions than others and those secretions are an attractant for mosquitoes. So is blood type. People with Type O blood seem to attract more mosquitoes than people with Type A or B. There is not much one can do about your genetics that dictate your blood type of how much of a certain substance your body produces. Be sure to take the proper precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites if you have Type O blood.

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes don’t have acute eye sight and rely on images that easily stand out. A dark background on a landscape is easier for a mosquito to distinguish than a lighter colored image. That is why wearing light colored clothing makes more sense, so does wearing clothing made of tightly woven, breathable fabrics that are more difficult for the long nose or proboscis of a mosquito to penetrate.

Some other ideas to avoid mosquito bites is to stay indoors at dawn or dusk as that is when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are very bad when it comes to flying and can be kept away with a fan when indoors. Even setting up a fan outdoors can provide some relief from mosquito bites.

Use an insect repellant when outside during the day or night. One of the most effective dermally-applied formulations is one that contains DEET, but at no less than 15% DEET. Another product that has been shown to be as effective as DEET is picaridin. A relatively new product is designed to be worn as a click-on container and houses a tiny fan that releases a small amount of metofluthrin.

Reducing water sources is very important when trying to reduce mosquito populations. Empty water dishes, flower pot drainage trays, watering cans, bird baths or any other place where water can collect and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Another great way to reduce mosquito populations around your home is to apply an insect control product or mosquito control application to the landscape and other places mosquitoes like to hide when they are not active. To learn more about these services, contact your local neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green.

Where Do Mosquitoes Go In The Winter?

where do mosquitoes go in the winter

During a recent mid-February warm up, I actually saw several insects flying around, even though it had been in the low 20’s just a few days earlier. I even saw a moth circling an outdoor light in the evening. That got me wondering, where do mosquitoes spend the winter? They are cold-blooded, so the freezing temperatures are going to keep them in some form of hibernation.

Mosquitoes are amazing creatures and most survive the winter in a different life stage, such as an egg, or will enter a period of inactivity called diapause. Some have the ability to dehydrate themselves to avoid freezing and wait until the weather warms up again. Other insects can actually raise the level of glycerol in their body (the glycerol acts as an anti-freeze to prevent them from freezing).

In regards to mosquitoes, it all depends on the species as to how they protect themselves during the winter. Some mosquitoes lay eggs in moist areas to survive the winter. The eggs remain dormant until the temperatures warm and spring rains return, usually in the spring. Other mosquito species spend the winter in the larval stage. These mosquitoes will enter into the diapause stage and stop developing as their metabolism slows way down.

where do mosquitoes go in the winter

Surprisingly, many mosquito species will spend the winter as adults. Most of the adult population at this time consists of females. After mating in the fall, the males will die off, which happens quite often in the insect world, and the females look for a place to spend the winter. Hollowed out logs, underneath leaves, the burrow of an animal or any other suitable site that will allow them to survive until the following spring. When these females become active in the spring, they immediately start looking for a blood meal. Once this has been completed, the females find any standing water in which they can lay their eggs.

A good place to learn more about insects or just any other household pest is the National Pest Management Association at www.pestworld.org. In their section on mosquito prevention, they list some very good points on what to do to prevent mosquitoes from bothering you this year.

  • Inspect your property now for water-holding items that could contain mosquito eggs deposited during the warmer months. These items may include flowerpots, birdbaths, tire swings, grill covers and other objects where water collects.
  • Homeowners should unclog gutters, repair any leaky pipes or faucets on the outside of their home, drill holes in the bottom of tire swings and wheel barrels to allow water to drain, and ensure trash cans are tightly sealed and lids aren’t flipped upside down.
  • Apply an insect repellent containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus when spending time outdoors, especially in areas that don’t get much colder than 50 degrees fahrenheit like Texas, Arizona, Hawaii, Florida and Southern California. Make sure to apply the repellent as directed on the label.

To learn about mosquito prevention services for your lawn, contact your local Spring-Green office.  Whether you want a one-time application before an outdoor party or event or you want month by month prevention services, Spring-Green can provide a program that will meet your needs.

More Rain Means More Mosquito’s…

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Some areas of the US are experiencing record rain falls this spring. Which has led to wide spread flooding and property damage. On the bright side, with all this rain comes lush plants and green lawns. But, unfortunately brings one other concern – MOSQUITO’S! We may even see a bumper crop of these bloodsuckers this year, especially in areas that have had huge storms this year.

Mosquitos only need half an inch of water to breed. They can find water in places we never think about, such as gutters that may be blocked with old leaves, bird baths, flower pot trays, swimming pools, wheel barrows left outside, pet water dishes left outside or any other place where water can collect.

Once an egg is laid in the water, it takes anywhere from 4 to 14 days to progress through four life stages before becoming an adult, depending upon the water temperature. The male will feed on the nectar of flowers, but the female immediately searches for a host from which to extract a blood meal. She can lay as many as 300 eggs at one time.

Mosquito Protection Service – Expert Lawn Care Tips

Don’t forget about protection! Protecting yourself from mosquitos starts with the elimination of breeding sites. Protecting yourself can reduce your chances of contracting several mosquito-borne illnesses, such as: Zika, encephalitis, yellow fever, malaria, West Nile virus, or dengue. It is estimated that up to 2 million people may die each year from mosquito-borne illnesses, malaria being the most common mosquito-borne illness.

5 Preventative Mosquito Tips:

  1. For personal protection, use a product that contains DEET. According to the CDC, other products that act as a repellant include: picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products. They also caution to read and follow all label instructions.
  2. Since mosquito’s can bite through thin clothing, consider spaying your clothes as well, but don’t spray your skin under clothing that has been sprayed with a repellent.
  3. If possible, avoid being outside during peak mosquito biting hours, which is basically from dusk to dawn.
  4. Check your home and make sure all screens are free of holes and fit tightly in their frames.
  5. It is also a great idea to treat the areas around your house, such as your landscape plants, mulch beds and areas under decks.

Although spraying your property will not eliminate all the mosquito’s in your outdoor environment, it will greatly reduce the chances of you, your family, guests and family pets from getting bit. There are over 3,500 species of mosquito’s in the world and close to 200 species found in the United States.

Mosquito facts

Spring-Green offers Mosquito Protection Service to its customers to help keep the mosquito’s away. Contact an office nearest you to schedule this important service. Don’t let mosquito’s spoil your summer.

How to Reduce Mosquito Bites With 5 Simple Steps

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Zika Virus, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Virus, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever and Malaria. These are major diseases that are often discussed as it relates to a person who may contract something as the result of a mosquito bite. Some of these diseases make headlines almost every night, like the Zika Virus, while others are rarely discussed. It seems like we should be afraid to venture outdoors for fear of getting one of these diseases.

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No one really likes to get stung by a mosquito, especially if there is a remote possibility of coming down with a serious disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can take steps to reduce the possibility of being bit by a mosquito.

These steps include:

  1. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  2. Stay indoors where it is air conditioned to keep the mosquitos out.
  3. If you enjoy sleeping with the windows open, be sure your screens are free from holes or tears that could let mosquitos inside.
  4. Sleep under a mosquito net to prevent being bit while sleeping. If you enjoy camping, use a mosquito net while sleeping.
  5. Use insect repellants that are registered by the EPA. When used as directed, these products are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant or nursing mothers. As is the case with any pest control product, be sure to read and follow all label directions. Reapply these products as directed.

If you are trying to protect an infant or baby, follow these recommendations:

  1. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.  When protecting older children, spray insect repellant onto your hands and rub it on their face.
  2. Just as you would have an older child or adult, dress in clothes that cover arms and legs.
  3. Use mosquito netting over the crib, stroller and car carrier.

Another step you can take to prevent mosquito bites is to treat your landscape during the months when insects are most active in your area. There are numerous products available at home improvement centers and hardware stores, but many people prefer to hire a professional company to spray for mosquito’s. Spring-Green offers this service at many of its locations. Contact your local office to inquire about Spring-Green’s Mosquito Protection Service.

Mosquitoes 101

how to control mosquitoes

Mosquitoes. They are the true pests of the summer months. Always ruining our outdoor activities with their buzzing and biting, our swatting and smacking, not to mention that smelly bug spray, gross! Why are they even around? Where do they come from and how do we get rid of them?

Here’s the scoop on those irritating mosquitoes:

Where do mosquitoes come from?

Mosquitoes have been around for about 100 million years, surpassing humans by a landslide (we’ve only been around for 200,000 years).

Mosquitoes serve as food for fish, birds, and bats. They also serve as pollinators for many different flowers. Out of 3,500 species of mosquitoes, there are only a couple hundred that feed on human blood, which is how they transmit diseases from host to host. Thankfully there are only a few species. They’re enough of a problem.

Why do mosquitoes feed on blood?

The female mosquitoes are the gender that feeds on blood. Come dusk, female mosquitoes come alive, looking for a meal in order to lay their eggs. They will feed on just about any warm-blooded creature, but they tend to like humans best since our skin is less protected. Many animals are covered with hair or fur, making it more difficult to reach the skin. Normally, females do not live more than two weeks in the wild, and they will often mate several times before their short life comes to an end. Male mosquitoes typically only live for 5-7 days, feeding on nectar and various other sources of sugar.

male vs female mosquitoes

Where can you find mosquitoes around your home?

Much of the United States has had abundant rainfall this year. Where I live (northern Illinois), we’ve received over four inches of rain in the last week alone. That means that there is going to be an excess of locations where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. Standing water can gather in many places, so walk around your property and empty any containers or other places that water may have collected, including planter dishes, gutters, watering cans, pet dishes, bird baths, or children’s outdoor play equipment. Mosquitoes don’t need a lot of water to lay eggs.

Mosquitoes generally find a cool place during the day to hide from the sun and predators, such as bushes, small plants, long grasses, and the lower portions of trees. If disturbed, mosquitoes will come out to feed, but are usually not as active.

How can you get rid of mosquitoes?

Removing standing water around your property will not eliminate them entirely, so it’s a good idea to have your landscape treated for mosquitoes. They don’t fly much higher than 10 feet, so concentrate on bushes, hedge rows, lower branches of trees, and even the trunks of trees.

Mosquito Protection Service – Expert Lawn Care Tips

Spring-Green offers mosquito control services in most locations, so contact your local Spring-Green office to schedule this service. Don’t let those pests ruin your outdoor events this summer.

Bill Gates Talks About the Deadliest Animal in the World

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Every year Shark Week raises awareness for the most feared creature of the sea, but fewer than a dozen people a year actually die from shark attacks. Surprisingly enough, the animal that kills more than 725,000 people a year is the mosquito. This is why philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is calling attention to the deadly insect by naming this week Mosquito Week on his blog.

Despite their tiny size, mosquitoes carry devastating diseases including dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis and malaria to name a few. They can be found on every region in the world except Antarctica and in their peak breeding seasons, they outnumber every other animal on Earth, except termites and ants.

Although you can’t control mosquitoes in most areas, you can restrict them from bothering you at home. With a higher number of mosquitoes around in the spring and summer months due to rain, Spring-Green’s mosquito protection services create a barrier around your home to control their activity. This service allows for more fun outdoors without being bothered by the pesky insects.

Areas like rain gutters, tree holes, old buckets or birdbaths with stagnant water are breeding sites for mosquitoes so make sure these areas are looked over and cleaned out. If you’re unsure about how to take care of the mosquito issues around your home, contact a Spring-Green professional near you to make your yard a mosquito free zone!

5,674 Cases of West Nile Virus Reported in 2012

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5,674 cases may not seem like a lot considering the number of people that live in the US, but when you compare that statistic to the number of reported cases of West Nile Virus in 2011, 712, it seems like we are under attack from mosquitoes.

One of my fellow employees at Spring-Green sent me a link from a CBS News show that aired on June 30 titled “Waging a Losing War Against Mosquitoes.” The statistics mentioned above come from that broadcast. After watching the 8 minute report, I really want to go home and spray for mosquitoes.

The show provided information on how mosquitoes, especially the dangerous, disease-causing ones, have developed a taste for humans above all other animals. Although they are not absolutely positive how mosquitoes find humans, studies have shown that they can smell a human from as far away as 50 yards. Some species can fly up to 25 miles in a single day. Although death from a mosquito bite is rare, the diseases they can transmit can be agonizing.

So, what can you do about them? There are numerous products that are labeled to control mosquitoes. Most of these require repeat applications as the products will dissipate over time. If you plan to do it yourself, be sure to thoroughly read the product label before using the mosquito protection product and carefully follow all directions. If you are a Spring-Green customer, we offer a mosquito control program of timed applications to keep the mosquitoes in check. Contact your local Spring-Green office to add this program. You will be glad you did.

To watch the CBS news report, click here.