People like to venture to warmer climes during the winter. Snowbird grandparents flee to Arizona or Florida. Lucky vacationers take planes to anywhere they can find that isn’t covered in snow and ice. College kids escape abroad for their winter breaks. The only downside these individuals can find in traveling to warmer places is that warm weather means mosquitoes. During the winter, at least, they can avoid that particular creature. Right?
Wrong! It’s a popular misconception that mosquitoes die off in the winter. That’s not quite what happens to them. If you’ve ever wondered where mosquitoes actually go when the snow starts to fall, you’re in the right place.
So: where do mosquitoes go in winter?
The answer to this question is different depending on the gender of the mosquito. Male mosquitoes don’t make it past autumn’s leaf fall. Their life span is, on average, no longer than ten days. Females, on the other hand, can survive the winter.
They’re able to do this by going dormant – a state similar to hibernation. They’ll find a safe place like a hollow log, animal burrow, or out-of-the-way corner of someone’s home. Females can remain in this state throughout the winter, for up to six months. Now that you know where mosquitoes are during the winter, you’re probably wondering: what happens when they wake up again?
Is there anything I can do to prevent spring infestations?
In the spring, there aren’t any male mosquitoes around. Unfortunately, however the female mosquitoes waking up usually have eggs to deposit. This makes spring the most dangerous time for people who are wary of mosquito infestations. The females need blood to help their eggs develop, so when the weather warms they wake up and are out seeking blood. How do you prevent them from harassing you and your home?
Use mosquito repellent outdoors. This won’t prevent infestations. It will, however, help you avoid aggressive biting from female mosquitoes during spring months.
Use candles when you’re going to be outdoors. Mosquitoes are repelled by certain oils used in outdoor candles. Citronella, clove, cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, and lemongrass are all valid options.
Remove any standing water from your property. This won’t keep them from biting, but it can help keep them from lingering. Mosquitoes need still, standing water to lay their eggs. Don’t let puddles develop on your property and they won’t have anywhere to infest.
Clean up random debris. Mosquitoes love standing water, yes, but it’s not the only place they’re willing to lay eggs. They can also make do with especially damp soil or debris with existing decay. This can include piles of leaves, mulch, or decaying woodpiles. Keep your outdoor space clean and free of decay to prevent mosquitoes from calling it their home.
It doesn’t matter the time of year – if you have a mosquito problem, Griffin Pest can help. Give us a call. Our experts can help diagnose and solve your pest problems, mosquito-based or otherwise. Not only can we remove existing infestations, but we can also teach you to better prevent future ones as well.
Mosquitoes are a fact of life in Michigan during the summer time. If you live in Michigan during the summer, you are going to contend with mosquitoes at some point. There’s just no getting around that.
You can’t avoid mosquitoes, but you can protect yourself against them. The best way to do that is to understand how they work. We’re here to help with that. Here are our answers to the mosquito questions our customers ask us the most. If you want to make it through summer even relatively unscathed, here’s what you should know:
When does mosquito season start?
The primary factor that determines when mosquitoes reach peak activity is the outdoor air temperature. Air temperatures consistently around 50°F or higher are ideal for Michigan 60-odd mosquito species. When it gets warm enough, mosquitoes either awaken from hibernation or hatch from their eggs.
Usually, mosquitoes start emerging in Michigan around mid-May. On years when we experienced an early or abnormally warm spring, however, mosquitoes have emerged earlier than usual. Mosquitoes also reproduce throughout their season, so the earlier they get started, the more mosquitoes we have to worry about. As you’re no doubt aware, mosquito season is well underway in Michigan this year.
Why are mosquitoes so bad in the summer?
Heat affects how quickly mosquitoes grow at every stage of their life cycle. External temperatures determine the incubation period of mosquito eggs. The hotter it is outside, the faster mosquito eggs hatch. Hot weather allows mosquitoes to remain active longer, so they eat more and grow faster.
Mosquitoes that grow faster reach reproductive maturity faster and lay eggs faster… you see where this is going. Michigan’s summers tend to be humid as well as hot, which is even better for mosquitoes. Michigan’s mosquitoes rely on humidity to stay hydrated while they hunt. They also lay their eggs in sources of standing water. Mosquitoes populations are always highest during summer, but they’re particularly huge during wet summers. Expect more mosquito activity than usual the day after a rainstorm.
Where are mosquitoes most active?
Although they can live just about anywhere, mosquitoes prefer to live near water. Mosquitoes require a water source to reproduce and lay their eggs. Most mosquitoes prefer stagnant, standing sources of water like swamps or bogs. They’re not picky, however, and they don’t need much water either. Virtually any quantity of stagnant water is sufficient for a mosquito to lay eggs in.
Mosquitoes also prefer living in dark, damp areas. Like any living thing, mosquitoes can become dehydrated and die. Though they thrive in heat, sunlight overheat and dehydrate too quickly. Living in dark, damp areas allows mosquitoes to stay active longer and reproduce more frequently. The ideal mosquito hot spot is a still pool of water located in a relatively heavily-forested area. If you live near water and/or sources of thick vegetation, expect a heavy mosquito presence near your home.
When are mosquitoes most active?
Mosquitoes are active all the time, but they’re most active at dawn, dusk, or nighttime. Mosquitoes don’t hunt quite as aggressively during the middle of the day because they don’t want to dry out in the hot summer sun. When the sun isn’t beating down at full strength, mosquitoes feel much more comfortable. They’ll stay out hunting longer and range much further from their usual, dark and humid haunts.
Keep in mind, however: mosquitoes are always active somewhere, even if you can’t see them out in the open. If mosquitoes can keep cool and hydrated enough to manage it, they’ll happily hunt and swarm all day. If you’ll be near a shady forest, lake, or swamp, prepare for mosquitoes no matter what time it is.
Look for and clean up any sources of stagnant, standing water both inside and outside your home. Outside your home, fix leaking faucets, hoses, and other plumbing fixtures. Look for places where puddles may naturally form on your lawn after rain or while you’re sprinkling. Remember: mosquitoes don’t need much water at all. Even tiny puddles left behind in drainage ditches, planters, storm drains, or plant baskets provide more than enough. Inside, make sure your sump pump works, fix plumbing leaks, and consider investing in a dehumidifier.
How do I keep mosquitoes away while I’m outside?
Apply bug spray whenever you’re going to spend time outside, especially in areas where mosquitoes may be prevalent. Apply the spray as often as its label specifies to any uncovered areas of your body except your face. If you’re going to spend time in an area where mosquitoes will be prevalent, wear long clothing. Cover vulnerable areas such as your armpits, knees, elbows, and ankles as much as possible.
Avoid spending an extended period of time outdoors after dark, especially in mosquito-prone areas. If you’re camping or participating in a similar outdoor activity, bring appropriate mosquito barriers. Make sure you have enough bug spray at all times, and continue to apply it regularly. Sleep and, if possible, eat under a mosquito net. Keep your campsite clean and clutter-free, and make sure there’s no standing water nearby.
If the mosquitoes around your home have become intolerable, don’t hesitate to give Griffin a call. We’ll help keep the bloodsuckers away so you don’t have to be afraid to walk outside your own home.
Mosquitoes suck – literally and figuratively. It’s bad enough that they swarm around us every time we go outside, covering us in itchy bites when they eat our blood, but the worst part is that they show up just in time for the nicest months of the year. Just when you actually want to start spending some time outside, they’re waiting for you.
Why? How is it that mosquitoes only show up just in time for summer? Where were they during winter or spring? Is there anything we can do to send them back? Get to know your enemy, and maybe you can have an itch-free summer this year. Here are some of the facts about the least interesting, most annoying bloodsuckers in the animal kingdom.
Mosquitoes deposit eggs in puddles of standing water, so there’s a direct correlation between rainfall and mosquito severity. So why summer and not spring? Mosquito eggs won’t generally hatch until the average temperature reaches around 50 degrees. The hotter the outdoor temperature, the more quickly mosquitoes complete their growth cycle. Mosquitoes come for the standing water and stay for those nice, summer temperatures. They even settle down and start families! It’d be kind of cute if they weren’t mosquitoes.
Where Were They?
If mosquitoes “come back” during spring and summer, then where were they the rest of the year? It varies by species. Mosquitoes respond to winter’s cold in one of two ways. Either they spend fall gorging themselves to prepare for hibernation like very small, flying bears, or they get busy making winter-proofed eggs and then die.
Fast forward to summer. When temperatures start warming back up, the hibernating mosquitoes emerge from the dark, enclosed places where they had been hibernating and start feeding, reproducing, and (of course) laying eggs. As for the less-lucky fall egg layers, the outdoor heat stimulates the previously-laid winterproof eggs, and a new generation of mosquitoes is born.
Where Are They Coming From?
Mosquitoes live, breed, and generally hang out around puddles of standing water, or in moist and dark areas. Anywhere that’s the least bit damp, dark, or warm can be prime real estate for the less-than-discerning bloodsucker. You may notice particularly bad mosquitoes around ponds and lakes, heavily-wooded areas, swampy, brackish fields, and natural low points that hold water like gutters, valleys, or potholes.
Most mosquitoes can be active all day, but you’ve probably noticed they’re considerably more active at dusk or night. Ironically, though they love the sun, mosquitoes are easily dehydrated. Staying out in the hot, dry summer sun for too long can kill them quickly. Most mosquitoes stick to dark, damp areas like basements, forests, or swamps during the day where they can stay hydrated, and feed at night when the darkness preserves a comfortable enough amount of dampness and coolness.
How Can I Keep Them Away?
Mosquito prevention revolves around depriving the pest of things they need. First, look for places where water may be accumulating. Clear your gutters, downspouts, storm drains, and window wells. Look for low spots in your lawn that may collect moisture, especially in shaded areas. Untreated wooden decks and porches soak up a lot of moisture and attract mosquitoes, too, so make sure yours is water resistant.
Next, look for other objects out in the open that could collect water. Keeping your lawn and hedges trimmed short can help too, because shorter plants collect less water than longer ones. Finally, it’s a good idea to apply mosquito repellant when you go out. If you’re planning on spending more than two or three hours outside, you should bring your repellant with you to reapply as needed to help prevent bites.
Few things on earth unite us like mosquitoes: everybody hates those nasty things. Understanding what makes mosquitoes tick (or suck) can help you better understand how to prepare for them and prevent them from ruining your summer.
And if you end up needing some help taking on your mosquito problem, remember you can always call Griffin. We’ve got the experience and knowhow to drive mosquitoes out and keep them out.
You aren’t the only one excited to finally spend some time outside in nice weather. All kinds of pests start to stir in the spring for the express purpose of enjoying the warm sun and abundant food available in summer.
Your summer should be about getting outside and enjoying the weather, not itching bug bites and removing ticks. Here are a couple easy ways to defend yourself and your home from these all-too-common summer pests.
It wouldn’t be summer without mosquitoes, right?! Because it would be better summer. The quintessential summer pest becomes most active (and hungry) during the hottest months of the year. Mosquitoes look for standing water where they can lay eggs. Clean up stagnant water to prevent mosquito overload. Look for low patches in your lawn, clogged downspouts, gutters, or storm sewers, plumbing leaks, and shaded areas where water won’t evaporate.
Mosquitoes only need a little water, so you have to be thorough. If you’re going out and can’t avoid the tiny bloodsuckers, follow these tips to prevent bites: Wear long sleeves and pants, high socks, boots, and a hat. It goes without saying, but you should also wear bug spray. Reapply the spray about once every two hours. Mosquitoes get more active at dusk and at night, so consider calling it a day shortly before the sun sets if you don’t want to get itchy.
Ticks are the other annoying bloodsucker of summer. They can’t fly, but they can jump onto you or your pets and bite down, latching on while they feed. Like mosquitoes, ticks get all feisty and active during hot summers. Unlike mosquitoes, ticks stick around; they may stay attached to you for days if they go unnoticed.
Ticks live in places with heavy foliage or vegetation, which they use to get to their unsuspecting prey. They jump from tall grasses, weeds, or other plants directly onto their target. Avoid overgrown paths or walking through forests unprotected. Wear long sleeves when hiking, and check yourself and pets for ticks when you get home. Run your hiking clothes through the dryer as soon as you get back. To prevent ticks around your home (it happens), keep your lawn, hedges, and bushes trimmed short. Maintain your garden by taking good care of plants and de-weeding frequently.
There are a ton of different kinds of ant, and they’re all pests in their own special ways. House ants contaminate food sources. Carpenter ants eat through wood. Fire ants have a notoriously painful bite. Whatever the case, you don’t want ants in your home. When the weather starts to heat up, ants come out looking for food and water. Homes like yours can be a great source for both, if you’re unprepared.
Ants usually infest kitchens. They’re attracted to food remains, especially crumbs and sweet liquids. Wipe down countertops and tables after meals. Don’t leave bread or grains of any kind sitting on in the open. Consider transferring food from paper containers into hard plastics. Don’t leave dishes out, even to soak in the sink. Look for any cracks or crevices where ants might sneak in, especially around the kitchen. Ants don’t need very much space, so don’t assume any opening is too small.
Wasp nests usually reach their most active state in mid-to-late summer. During this stage, wasps aggressively forage for whatever food they can get their hands on – and they love human food. If you’ve ever had a picnic outside during the summer, you’ve probably encountered wasps before. They’re particularly attracted to sweet food and liquids, like fruits, juices, and candies.
You only need to worry about a wasp problem on your property if they build a nest nearby. There are a number of ways you can prevent this: Keep your garbage in tight plastic bags. Wash out recyclable bottles before taking them to your bin. Don’t leave food out in the open for very long, and clean up immediately after meals. Wasps won’t sting unless provoked, so do your best not to antagonize them. If you’re allergic to wasp stings, call a professional the moment you notice a larger-than-average wasp presence around your home.
Pests may be more active during the summer, but that’s no reason to deny yourself some fun in the sun. Follow tips like these, and you’ll go boldly into the warmth and fear neither sting nor bite! Or at least, you’ll fear them less.
Of course, if you find out you have a pest infestation and you want it dealt with fast, you can always call Griffin today. We’ll take care of your problem quickly and permanently, so you can get back to your life.
Researchers at the University of North Dakota just published a study finding that Aedes vexans, a mosquito that is indigenous (native) to North America, is capable of becoming infected with the Zika virus and transmitting the virus through a bite. This is important news because Aedes vexans is the first North American mosquito confirmed as a transmitter of Zika.
Previously, we only knew that tropical mosquito species could transmit the virus. These tropical mosquitoes cannot survive in Northern climates such as ours, so experts have up until now considered us safe from likely disease sources. Now, however, we know that an indigenous mosquito may become infected. This raises the question: are we at risk of contracting the virus? Here’s what you should know about the possibility of Zika in Michigan, and what you can do about it.
What Should I Know About Zika?
The Zika virus belongs to the same Flaviviridae family of viruses as dengue, the West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis. The virus spreads via arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes and ticks. Since its initial outbreak in 2015, Zika has spread throughout the Americas and to parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific.
Most symptoms resulting from infection are usually mild in adults. They include fevers, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and joint pain, among others. Unfortunately, however, the virus is also strongly associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an uncommon but serious sickness of the nervous system. Even worse, Zika transmits to children from pregnant mothers, and can cause serious birth defects and pregnancy problems, including microcephaly. Consequently, scientists consider Zika especially dangerous for pregnant women.
What is Aedes vexans?
Aedes vexans is one of the most common mosquitoes in the world. It’s found on every continent except Antarctica and South America. It’s the most prevalent mosquito species in North America. The Aedes vexans species lays eggs in moist environments, usually on or near a source of standing water like a pool, puddle, or plumbing leak. They prefer moist, shaded environments where the soil stays wet for extended periods of time.
Contrary to popular belief, blood is not the primary food source of aedes vexans. They feed on nectar for sustenance. Blood gives females aedes vexans the protein required to lay eggs. Male aedes vexans don’t bite humans. Aedes vexan breeds and becomes most active in summer, because their eggs don’t usually hatch until the air temperature is at least 50 degrees. Though they can feed day or night, Aedes vexan becomes more active in the dark. They’re most prevalent at dusk.
Not necessarily. According to Jefferson Vaughan, Ph. D., researcher and professor of arthropod-transmitted diseases at the University of North Dakota: “Just because a mosquito species is physiologically capable of transmitting a virus does not mean that that mosquito species is necessarily a dangerous vector.” A ‘vector’ is anything that can carry a disease and transmit it to another organism, such as a human being. As Dr. Vaughan notes, Zika is a primate virus. In order to contract it, the Aedes vexan would have to feed on an infected party twice. In addition, Aedes vexan mosquitoes feed on larger animals more frequently than they feed on humans.
It’s also important to remember that this study was just that: a study. Aedes vexan can transmit the virus in a controlled environment, but they haven’t transmitted the virus in nature, yet. There have been no reports of Zika infection of a human via contact with Aedes vexan to date. Vaughan and the other researchers at the U of ND suggest that more research will be required to define the Aedes vexans’ actual vector potential in North America.
As of May 17, 2017, the CDC reports no cases of symptomatic Zika virus in the US that were transmitted by local infected mosquitoes. All 119 symptomatic cases in the US occurred in travelers returning from infected areas abroad. It’s important to note, however, that evidence of a possible Zika virus infection was found in 1,845 pregnant women in US states. The Zika virus is a nationally notifiable condition, which means any doctor will report any confirmed case to the CDC.
According to the information we have right now, the following things would have to occur for a Michigan resident to contract the Zika virus without leaving the US:
A female Aedes vexan feeds on an unidentified carrier of the Zika virus in the US twice. This carrier could have contracted the disease abroad. The five identified carriers would not longer transmit the virus if fed upon.
That same Aedes vexan feeds on another person, transferring Zika carrier blood from the earlier feeding into the bloodstream of the newly bitten person.
Though we don’t believe you have any reason to panic, it never hurts to practice effective mosquito control. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites and make your home and property mosquito-proof. When you spend time outside this summer, apply bug spray at least once every two hours, and consider wearing long sleeves and pants, and boots with high socks. Cover your baby in protective clothing, too, and consider investing in mosquito nets for their crib, stroller, and baby carrier.
Other than practicing pest control in your own home, the best way to stay safe is to stay informed. Griffin will continue monitoring Zika developments and update you with any pertinent information, and you can also stay up-to-date by checking the CDC’s frequently updated Zika virus page.
If you’re concerned about a possible mosquito infestation on your property, remember that you can always call Griffin Pest Control. We can figure out why mosquitoes keep bothering you and stop them permanently. Stay safe and have a great summer!