It's officially summertime! There's no better time during the year to go outside and enjoy some fresh air, maybe some backyard barbecues, and perhaps a dip in the pool or a nap on the hammock.
Even though all those things sound great, there might be a few things standing (or flying) in your way: wasps, hornets and mosquitoes.
Whether it's a sting or a bite, no one wants to have their fun time interrupted by constant scratching, or worse yet, an allergic reaction to one of these flying pests.
If you want to enjoy your summer without having to swat at a mosquito every second or even stay indoors to avoid the bugs, we have a few tips to keep in mind for getting rid of flying pests once and for all.
Mosquitoes don't sting, even though it feels like they do. These nuisance insects have mouthparts called a proboscis that pierces through your skin and sucks up the blood.
As the proboscis enters your skin, it injects the insect's saliva into the area. The proteins in the mosquito's saliva is what triggers the immune response that causes the itching and red welts.
What attracts mosquitoes to bite you?
Have you ever been told how sweet you must be to have mosquitoes bite you over and over again? Mosquitoes don't actually prefer sweet perfumes or a person with a wonderful attitude. They're mostly attracted by the carbon dioxide in your breath. Not only that, they may be attracted to your natural body odor and temperature.
When should you worry about a mosquito bite?
Mosquito bites are usually harmless, and the skin reaction will go away on its own after a few minutes or hours. If you continue to scratch it, the itching and redness will only persist.
You should seek medical attention if the symptoms last longer than usual and are accompanied by other symptoms such as a rash, eye redness or a high fever.
What diseases are caused by mosquitoes?
A mosquito bite is always a cause for concern only because these insects are known to spread diseases. However, you could suffer through a night's worth of bites and never have problems other than itching.
It only takes one, however, to transmit a disease to you, especially one that can lead to worse symptoms. Some of the main mosquito-borne diseases are:
- West Nile virus
- Zika virus
- Chikungunya virus
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
Prevention is the key to stopping a mosquito infestation in your backyard. If you live in a part of the world where it rains a lot, you'll have to work extra hard to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Mosquitoes breed in water, so if you have standing water on your property, you're inviting them to your home.
Follow these tips to control mosquitoes in your own backyard:
- Get rid of anything that could hold water, such as unused tires, flower pots and buckets.
- If you have a tire swing, drill a few holes in the bottom to let the water run out.
- Keep an eye on your birdbaths and children's pools. Fill them with fresh water every few days.
- Seal any leaky faucets, and fix the gutters where they may leak and cause pooling around the foundation.
- Trim the bushes and hedges. Mosquitoes love to rest on the leaves when they're not feeding.
- Look into getting mosquito traps to capture adults or briquets to place in the water and to stop the larvae from maturing.
There are many other insecticides for mosquitoes that can help you control the population and take back your property from these unwanted pests.
Wasps and Hornets
Whereas mosquitoes bite, wasps and hornets sting...and it hurts. It can also be a life-threatening situation for people who are allergic to the stings.
Wasps and hornets are both flying insects with stingers used for defense and aggression. Unlike bees, which can only sting once, wasps and hornets can sting over and over again, making them a serious threat to adults, children and pets within close proximity to their nest.
You don't even have to be near a nest to encounter an aggressive wasp. It may simply be scoping out your porch for a place to build a future nest. If it feels threatened, it will attack.
Hornets are larger than wasps and build huge paper nests in trees, sheds, abandoned cars and other places. Wasps build smaller paper nests, which are often found under the eaves of your roof or around your doorway.
If you're allergic to bees, wasps or hornets, our best advice is to avoid them and call a professional to handle the problem. You don't want to put your life in danger by swatting at a wasp or trying to get rid of the nest on your own.
If you're not allergic, follow these tips on how to get rid of wasps and other stinging insects around your home:
- Don't approach the nest. Stay back as far as you can but close enough to use an insecticide spray.
- Invest in a wasp and hornet spray to kill the insects on contact. Just stand at a safe distance, and spray toward the nest. Most sprays will work up to 20 feet away.
- Leave the area quickly. Don't return for at least 24 hours to remove the nest. Make sure there are no other wasps or hornets left in the area.
- For prevention, use a residual insecticide in the area to keep other wasps and hornets from returning and rebuilding a nest.
Always use a contact insecticide when trying to kill wasps and hornets. The insecticide will work extremely quickly, knocking down the insects before they have a chance to sting.
Control Wasps, Hornets and Mosquitoes This Summer
If you take the time to insect-proof your property, you'll have a more enjoyable summer in your backyard. Just remember to get rid of standing water and to play it safe when encountering wasps and other stinging insects. Having the right insecticides on hand will also give you an advantage against nuisance pests all summer long.
Want more tips and tricks? Check out this short podcast where technical specialist, Kevin Leeper, discusses a few more products that will have you summer time ready.