Cases of mosquito-borne diseases have taken a dramatic increase this year. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports 57 human cases of West Nile virus infection in Maricopa County so far in 2019 (as of July 19), compared to 24 in all of 2018. The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department has reported higher counts of mosquitoes in their traps in our area in recent years, largely because of our proximity to canals and the irrigation systems.
Over-watering and areas of open water combine with the warm temperature to provide a perfect habitat for breeding mosquitoes.
“We’ve created the ideal environment for mosquitoes,” said Chuck Wells, president of the Mosquito Squad of Greater Scottsdale. “It doesn’t take very many mosquitoes to really go crazy with the infestation.”
Wells added that the growth of mosquitoes is doubling every year in Arcadia. And since one female mosquito can breed a million offspring in a month, prevention is key in keeping them from ruining your summer.
“Arizona mosquitoes can be especially difficult,” Wells said. “You have to be stubborn in order to beat these mosquitoes and keep them away.”
Here are Wells’ tips to keep these pests away.
Eliminate standing water
Check around the property for standing water. Any puddles – including small crevices of water where your pool toys are stored and in saucers underneath plants – should be removed. Cleaning outdoor drains with bleach or any repellent with larvicide in it can help achieve a mosquito-free backyard. Avoiding over-watering your lawn also prevents mosquitoes from finding a new home right below your feet.
Set up a fan on the porch
Since mosquitoes can only fly up to one mile per hour, placing a fan anywhere near your patio or outdoor hangout spot may reduce the number of mosquitoes coming your way.
Purchase an insect repellent containing DEET. This may help reduce mosquitoes, but it also requires constant reapplying, especially at night and early in the morning when mosquitoes are most active. This may only achieve temporary results.
“I’ve tried a lot of different things, but a lot of them have not worked very well,” Wells said. “DEET was effective for a little while, but then the mosquitoes came right back.”
Mosquitoes have bad vision. However, they are generally attracted to darker colors, so lighter hues are the way to go.
Keep property clean
Any insects, especially scorpions, love to hide in any crevice they can find to stay invisible. Ensure there are no stray pieces of wood, wood piles or cardboard near your house, or they could become a scorpion’s new home. Mosquitoes also like to hide in any debris.
If none of these solutions seem to do the trick, the next step is to let the professionals handle it. The Mosquito Squad – among other businesses in the industry – has multiple treatment options.
“You have to be persistent,” Wells said. “You have to treat your property over and over again and eventually these mosquitoes will not want to come back.”
For more about mosquito-borne diseases, prevention and current statistics, visit Maricopa County Vector Control: maricopa.gov.