This mosquito activity is almost as marginal as the recent weather of Georgia.
Following the extraordinary 2018 wet, this rainfall produced heavy rainfall in many low-lying areas. In May, it turned hot and dry quickly, and put most of the state into dry dry status very low to moderate, according to a Drought Monitoring map.
While some of the mosquito larval habitats have dried up the lack of rainfall across Georgia, the development of the larvae after the hot afternoon and the recent hot nights has developed, and the mosquito season has been prioritized.
Mosquito larvae were basically observed as keeping water in the last few weeks and the hot nights were only successful in increasing their rate of development.
After the significant rainfall in recent days, homeowners should eliminate any remaining water behind. Mosquitoes require constant water of larval and pupae, so it is very important that all types of stable water are treated in homes and communities.
The female mosquito will lay eggs on the surface of the fixed water or in areas that fall under water or fill with water. When the eggs are wet for a period of time, they wake up, and the larvae feed on particles and look at surfaces covered by algae in their larval habitat. The hottest nights in Georgia may require only five or six days of larvae, but larvae usually take a little longer before they turn into the pupal stage.
After two or three days as pupa, adult mosquitoes come forward on the surface of the water and begin to search for nectar juices and plants used for flight energy. The woman will be looking for a blood meal to get the nutrients needed to stimulate egg production. This is a blood feed that makes mosquitoes a serious pest and a public health pest.
Last year there were 34 cases of West Nile virus detected and two deaths. One case of eastern equine encephalitis and one case of St. Louis was detected encephalitis. While these numbers are not particularly large, the mosquito control profession considers that all mosquito-borne diseases can be prevented.
Any encephalitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) can be very serious and can have long-term effects. For the West Nile virus, many people are exposed to the virus and do not show any signs. It is estimated that 20% of those exposed to the West Nile virus develop West Nile fever, and 1 in 150 develop a more severe form of the disease. These cases are high fever, severe headache and decomposition which may have long-term effects.
This is why it is so important to prevent mosquito bites. It is helpful to wear light pants, loose fittings and long sleeves shirts if mosquitoes are present. Compared to dark colors, light colored clothing does not contrast with the environment and a person's heat image is reduced. Sleeved pants and shirts reduce the amount of exposed skin.
The application of a vested right of the Environmental Protection Agency to any exposed skin adds another limit to help prevent bites. Products with DEET are always excellent options, but other EPA-approved deposits of pickle, IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil and the newer 2-undecanone have been proven to be effective.
EPA classifies IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil and 2-undecanone. Products consisting of DEET, IR3535 and picket are allowed for use for children of two months or older. According to Consumer Reports, DEET, pickled and lemon eucalyptus oil contain three of the most effective faeces. It is important to get full coverage with any of those who make repulsion. Adult repellent should always be applied to children.
In many areas, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is the most common pest during the day. This mosquito usually develops in containers and usually does not fly more than 100 yards from its larvae habitat.
Homeowners often help to create mosquito populations in habitats hidden around their properties. Planting trays, tariffs, buckets, tires and drainage pipes and systems are some of the most common house habitats.
On a larger scale, community clean-up efforts can have a significant impact on mosquito populations. Used tire reduction programs, litter cleaning, and the removal of other discarded or abandoned items can serve as a viable part of an integrated mosquito management program. As a last resort, non-custodial properties causing public health risk from mosquitoes can be addressed through the enforcement of codes in most communities.
For more information see the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Circular 1154, “Best Management Practices of Mosquito Integrated Management,” at https://extension.uga.edu/publications. The publication provides a basic guide to what communities can do to prevent mosquito populations.
Elmer Gray is a collaborative recipient of an extension to the University of the College of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences in Georgia.
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