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Mosquito Season and You!

Understanding Mosquitoes in South Carolina

As the warm weather settles in, everyone is reminded of the most pervasive and unwanted summer guest, mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are commonly referred to as the unofficial state bird and are found everywhere across the state! These tiny blood-sucking insects can turn a pleasant outdoors evening into an itchy nightmare. So what exactly are they, and what can you do about them?  

What Are Mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are insects that belong to the family Culicidae. While the term is often used to cover the entire category, there over 60 different and unique species of mosquitoes across the state. These small, flying insects are notorious for their noisy buzzing and itchy bites. In addition to the frustration and pain they can cause, they are also known spreaders of disease. These can diseases can include malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. While most mosquitoes in South Carolina are not carrying these diseases, they can still pose a health risk to people because of the bites. Femail mosquitoes require blood meals to grow their eggs, while male mosquitoes typically feed on plant sugars. If you’re getting bit by a mosquito, it is most likely female! 

Why Am I Just Now Seeing Mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are a seasonal pest that all but disappears in the cold weather. Since mosquitoes are cold-blooded creatures, they can’t survive during colder seasons. This is why they all but disappear during the colder months of the year. Generally, mosquitoes are active once temperatures exceed 80 degrees, lethargic at 60 degrees, and can’t function below 50 degrees. When the weather gets too cold, some adults hibernate and overwinter in burrows, logs, basements, or anywhere they can find shelter. Alternatively, some breeds survive the cold weather by laying eggs in water that wait to hatch until the next season. Regardless of the variety, they generally go into a state of hibernation in a sheltered area for the winter. Once the weather warms up, they start to wake up, look for food, and lay as many eggs as they can. 

Where Did All The Mosquitoes Come From?

Mosquitoes have a short life span with a fast maturation rate. This allows them to go from laying eggs to those eggs developing to adults in just a few days or weeks. The general mosquito lifecycle exists in 4 stages: eggs, larvae, pupas, and adults. When an adult mosquito lays eggs, they can lay between 50-200 eggs. This allows for the rapid growth of mosquito populations as the seasons warm up. Here is a quick breakdown of each stage. You can always see more on the CDC’s website.

  • Eggs
    • Once a female mosquito has blood fed, they will find an area with still water or marshy areas to lay their eggs. While this normally in and around streams, creeks, and small ponds, they can lay their eggs in any damp area. 
    • They can each lay anywhere between 50 to 200 eggs. 
    • These eggs will generally hatch within 2-3 days. 
  • Larvae
    • Once the eggs hatch, these larvae will live in the water as they prepare to become pupae. 
    • They will feed on algae and other microscopic organisms in the water until they are ready to become pupae.
    • These mosquito larvae are usually ready to develop into Pupae in 4-10 days. 
  • Pupae
    • Once the Larvae become Pupae, they don’t need to eat. 
    • They simply finish changing and growing their new mosquito body. This normally takes 2-3 days for them to finish developing.
    • Once they finish growing, they emerge and fly off. 
  • Adults
    • Once a mosquito becomes an adult, they become a lot more familiar. These are the annoying insects that you see flying around. 
    • Some adult mosquitoes only live a few days, but most types of mosquitoes live for a few weeks. 
    • During this time the female mosquitoes will be the ones that bite you. 
    • The mosquitoes will feed and reproduce. Each female mosquito capable of laying 50 to 200 eggs with some capable of laying up to 500 eggs!

How To Deal With Your Mosquitoes

Spring is here and with warmer weather on the way you’re going to see some mosquitoes. That is the nature of living in South Carolina, but what can you do reduce the number you’re seeing around your home? Before you call in the big guns, there are a lot of things you can do to make your life less buggy in the summer season.

  1. Eliminate Any Standing Water
    • This is the most impactful thing you can do when it comes to mediating mosquitoes in the spring and summer.
    • Remember that they can breed in and reproduce in any small amount of standing water. Some of the most common problem areas are:
      • Pet water bowls
      • Birdbaths
      • Flower pot saucers
      • Natural low points in your yard
      • Old tires
      • Outdoor storage bins
      • Leaking pipes or faucets
      • Clogged gutters
    • Any area that can hold water is a prime spot for mosquito populations to boom!
  2.  Use Mosquito Repellents
    • When you’re spending time outside, don’t hesitate to use some repellent. Repellents containing Deet or certain essential oils are usually the best at repelling mosquitoes.
    • If you’re working outside, don’t hesitate to wear mosquito repellent clothing and gear.
  3. Install Physical Barriers
    • Make sure that your windows have screens and that they’re hole free.
    • Look for any gaps around doorways or windows where they could possibly enter the structure.
    • Make sure any pet entrances to the house firmly close.
  4. Maintain Your Yard
    • During the heat of the day most mosquitoes will rest on the underside of leaves and grass. This helps them avoid the heat. If you’re yard is overgrown, they will have more places to rest and multiply.
    • Keep your yard neatly trimmed and look for ways to minimize overgrown areas that they can multiply in.
  5. Professional Pest Control
    • If the mosquitoes are still proving to be a nuisance, this is now the time to call in the professionals. Most technicians have access to specified chemicals and training on how to reduce mosquito populations.
    • While no mosquito control can completely remove all future mosquitoes, they can greatly reduce the population and reduce the number of new mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are an unavoidable part of life in South Carolina. Thankfully, there are a lot of proactive steps that you can take to reduce their impact. If the problem ever gets too severe, we’re happy to step in and help take care of them. With the annoyance of mosquitoes minimized, you can enjoy the upcoming summer evenings around your home!

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