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Controlling Mosquitoes

If there’s one thing that bugs Arkansans more than anything else in the summer, it’s probably the mosquito.

Hot Springs, Ark. – If there’s one thing that bugs Arkansans more than anything else in the summer, it’s probably the mosquito.  Zika virus (http://www.cdc.gov/zika/) and the West Nile Virus are currently the mosquito-vectored viruses that are getting all the news coverage. 

The current rainy conditions plus warm weather has provided perfect conditions for mosquitoes.  Always be aware that you’re going to have increased mosquito activity following summer rains.  There’s no surefire way to keep mosquitoes at bay, but there are things you can do to lessen the chance that you will be plagued with those irritating mosquito bites.   

Anything that holds standing water for about five to seven days can be a source for mosquitoes to breed.  It is very important to look around outside your house to find things that hold water for more than a week and then dump, drain, or fill them.  Buckets, wheelbarrows, cans, tarps over pools or boats, gutters, cisterns, and tire swings are among the most common things that hold water.  

In addition to dumping and draining, there are products such as mosquito dunks (bacterial insecticides) that are available at many retail stores, garden centers and online garden suppliers, that people can add to standing water to prevent larval growth.  One example of these products contains a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or “Bti.” This bacterium kills mosquitoes but does not harm fish, birds or other wildlife.

When families plan for outdoor activities in the back yard, mosquito adults can be temporarily suppressed by spraying/fogging with labeled insecticides targeting foliage and other mosquito resting areas.  However, this method comes with some potential risks, such as adverse impacts on beneficial insects like butterflies and honeybees, and possible drift into neighboring properties.  Citronella candles and torches have been shown to provide relief from mosquitos in areas where there is no air movement.  Bug zappers provide very little mosquito control and actually kill more beneficial insects than pests.  University research indicates that there is no evidence that ultrasonic mosquito repelling devices work.  Electric or propane-powered suction traps have been found to work, but only for a small area.

When it comes to managing mosquitoes and preventing bites, remember the 4 D's.

DRAIN - Drain all standing water. Check rain water collection systems (hopefully you have screening to block mosquitoes on your rainwater system), dishes under flower pots, pet dishes, buckets, tree holes and low-lying areas in the yard.  If you have areas of standing water that it is not possible to drain, try using mosquito dunks (active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis).

DUSK & DAWN – Many mosquitoes are most active during dusk and dawn, so try to avoid being outside during the peak times.  However, the mosquitoes that vector the zika virus are daytime biters.

DRESS - Dress in light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants.

DEET - Wear some type of insect repellent.  DEET is a common insect repellent for mosquitoes and works very well, but there are other options. Other active ingredients to look for are picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always read and follow label directions.

Start now and prepare for this summer’s outdoor activities.  For more information go to our website at www.uaex.edu or call our office at 501-623-6841. 

Master Gardener Information

Master Gardener meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge.  They’re open to the public and guests are welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at abates@uaex.edu.   

EHC Information

Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Jessica Vincent on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at jvincent@uaex.edu.

4-H Information

We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.  For more information on all the fun 4-H activities that are available for our youth, call Linda Bates at the Extension Office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at lbates@uaex.edu .

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

By Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Allen Bates
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
abates@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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