MOTHER NATURE’S MOSQUITO TERMINATORS
Mosquitoes are once again in the news, as they wreak havoc in many countries all around the world. In Southeast Asia, hundreds of thousands have been felled by dengue, with no cure in sight. Even though vaccines are now available for prevention, most poor countries still find it a big challenge to have their citizens immunized for one reason or another.
Mosquitoes have always been the most dangerous creatures on the planet. No, it is not the lions, alligators, snakes, sharks, spiders, bears, or any other animal you can think of. They would definitely pale in comparison. Though physically, mosquitoes do not inspire fear among us, nobody can beat their body count. In fact, mosquitoes have killed more humans than all the wars in history combined. How did that happen? Why are they so deadly?
Mosquitoes transmit several types of deadly diseases; some of which include dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, Zika virus, and the West Nile virus. If you are reading this, chances are you are having problems with mosquitoes in your home and that you are looking for a top exterminator in my area for mosquitoes and other pests. We will get to that in a short while.
In order to fight the mosquitoes, one should know what a mosquito is, what it looks like, and their breeding and feeding habits.
There are around 3,000 species of mosquitoes on the planet, but only three of them are known to transmit diseases. Mosquitoes are small insects that are classified as invertebrates. Its Scientific name is Culicidae. When we talk of mosquitoes, three types come to mind: the Culex mosquitoes, which carry filariasis, West Nile virus, and encephalitis; the Anopheles mosquitoes which carry malaria; and the Aedes, which carry yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis. Their size is only about .125 to .75 inch in length and they weigh .000088 ounces. Their bodies are slim, with jointed bodies. They are equipped with a pair of wings each. They have six legs, prolonged mouthparts called proboscis, and antennae attached to their heads. Mosquitoes are nocturnal creatures. They also happen to be one of the slowest flying insects, they fly at a speed of only 1.5 miles per hour. They are also very lightweight, which makes it easy to disturb their flight patterns using an electric fan.
Only the females have the necessary mouthparts that can suck blood. Their mouths have two tubes: one is for injecting enzymes that would prevent blood clotting, and the other is for sucking blood. Therefore, it is only the female adult mosquitoes that can bite and transmit diseases. The male mosquitoes can only feed on nectar.
Mosquitoes have poor eyesight and can only rely on the carbon dioxide emitted by humans or animals to find them. Aside from that, they also use scent to help them find a host.
Mosquito life cycle
Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis all their lives. The mosquitoes’ life cycle starts from being eggs, then onto the larvae stage, to pupae and finally the adult stage. Female mosquitoes breed on the water surfaces that have become stagnant for at least a week. They can live to as long as 5 to 6 months. For an insect, they live very long.
Mosquitoes can lay 100 to 300 eggs at a time and can do so all throughout their lifetime.
This is why they are so dangerous: the disease that they spread. Among the fatal diseases they transmit are the following:
- West Nile Fever -The most common mosquito-borne disease here in the United States. Of the people who are infected, only 20 percent show symptoms. Symptoms include mild fever, body aches, headaches, diarrhea, vision loss, numbness, body rashes, swollen lymph glands, muscle weakness, and paralysis. These symptoms usually show after 3 days to two weeks of being bitten. Some people will show severe symptoms after, and have meningitis and permanent brain damage. This could be fatal and patients may die. People over 60 or those with medical conditions are at higher risk of getting severe symptoms. Doctors may order tests to verify if you contracted the virus.
- Malaria – Malaria is transmitted by a female Anopheles mosquito. Though this disease attacks people from other countries, Americans are still vulnerable. Americans get malaria due to increased travel to countries where the parasites are endemic. When an American gets bitten then goes back to the U.S., he would be carrying the infection with him. The danger here is that if the infected person is once again bitten, then malaria would spread in the United States. Signs and symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, nausea, muscle aches, chills, and tiredness. If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can progress to severe illness and even death. Consult a doctor if you think you are infected with this disease.
- Yellow fever – There are no symptoms for most people who are infected with yellow fever, but those with symptoms will have a fever, chills, severe headache, body pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. Then a few more patients will have a more severe phase in a span of one day. Jaundice, high fever, dark urine, and abdominal pains will appear in more severe cases. It is called yellow fever precisely because of jaundice that appears in some of the patients. There may be bleeding in the eyes, nose, mouth, and stomach. Death of the patient may occur after 7 to 10 days.
Dragonflies are the mosquito terminators
I never would have thought that these harmless creatures can be so terrible for the mosquitoes. Yes, they eat mosquitoes at all stages of their lives. This now makes sense to me, as whenever evenings come, dragonflies can be seen flying around hunting for mosquitoes and other pests. They are our aerial defense against these terrible creatures.
More than any other insects, dragonflies are the best mosquito population controllers that we can have at our disposal. They not only protect us from the skies but because dragonflies are aquatic insect predators, they also feed on mosquito larvae during their larval stage. They are actually most effective as larvae when controlling mosquito populations, but as adults, they can still eat at least 100 mosquitoes per day each.
Now, the problem is, how to attract these dragonflies?
One of the best ways to attract butterflies to your area is to place a small body of water such as a pond in your landscape. Since dragonflies are aquatic insect predators, this is your best bet to get them to live within your area. They lay their eggs in the water.
Another way is to grow an array of plants that will attract the dragonflies. Plant trees and shrubs around the perimeter. This will give them a place for shelter. Blooming plants are also good since they attract pollinators. It is important to note that mosquitoes are attracted to flowers too.
Here is a list of plants you may want to have in order to attract dragonflies:
- Meadow sage – These are perennial, purple colored flowers that attract butterflies and other small insects that dragonflies prey on. This plant really does not need much water, only lots of sunshine. It loves full sun but can do well in partial shade.
- Swamp milkweed – These flowers come in white and pink colors and come back annually. They attract butterflies, wasps, and bees; again, insects that are prey to the butterflies. These plants like wet, clay soil.
- Black-Eyed Susan – Black-Eyed Susans are heat tolerant and drought resistant flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. They are bright yellow in color. They live for around 2 years in warm climates. They adapt well to almost every type of soil.
- White Yarrow – These are perennial wildflowers that can be described as a plant that can produce an abundance of huge clusters packed with around 20 white flowers. Their foliage is resistant to diseases. They attract butterflies and parasitic wasps that in turn, attract the dragonflies. This plant thrives in full sun and well-drained soils. It is also very easy to grow.
- Joe-Pye weed – Joe-Pye weeds are plants that produce pale pink flowers. This plant can grow to 3 feet to 12 feet and attracts butterflies and other pollinators that dragonflies prey on. If you have this, your yard will smell like vanilla. It grows in full or partial sunlight.
Grow these plants in your garden and let us watch for the dragonflies to come. However, if these attempts fail, or you still have mosquitoes, you may call the top exterminator in my area for mosquitoes and other pests, the Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth is simply the best
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.