What comes to mind when you think of warm weather? Maybe a nice, relaxing day on the beach or lake? Or maybe it’s the reminder that pesky bugs will be making their comeback for the summer. Out of all the little annoyances, mosquitoes are often considered the worst. In addition to being annoying, mosquitoes pose a serious threat to public health, as they transmit dangerous diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus. Luckily, there are several management strategies to help prevent mosquitoes from bugging you this summer. So, put down the citronella candle and take notes on how you can protect yourself from these pesky intruders.
Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water and will lay about 300 eggs in their six- to eight-week lifespan. This is an overwhelming number of mosquitoes! One of the easiest ways to help manage mosquitoes is by dumping any buckets or small containers that have standing water in them, picking up litter and clearing gutters. These are all areas where little pockets of water will sit and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
In aquatic environments such as lakes, ponds and stormwater basins, one of the keys to prevention is through aeration. Mosquitoes prefer warm, stagnant water, therefore, the more you get the water moving, the less appealing the habitat will be for breeding. In some cases, aeration may not be sufficient if the waterbody is filled with nuisance aquatic weeds, so be sure to treat and remove undesirable aquatic plants to help the water circulate more efficiently.
Another management method for lakes and ponds is fish stocking. Fathead minnows, Mosquitofish and Bluegill all eat mosquito larvae in order to support their own growth and development. Adding a healthy population of these fish can help reduce larvae populations in your waterbody. In addition to stocking fish, maintaining a buffer of beneficial vegetation such as swamp milkweed and arrowhead will help provide habitat for mosquito predators like dragonflies. Not only will the buffer help limit mosquitoes, it will also prevent an overload of nutrients from entering your waterbody – it’s a win-win!
This time of year can also bring another annoying species that residents of the south are especially familiar with – midges or “No-See-Ums.” Midges are mosquito-like insects, but differ from mosquitoes in that they don’t bite, suck blood or carry diseases; however, they can still be quite the nuisance. Good news! Midges can be managed using all of the strategies mentioned above. This insect is drawn to waterbodies with low oxygen and a high level of pond nutrients; making it their perfect breeding habitat.
Now that the days are getting longer and warmer, take some time to prepare your waterbody and community for mosquitoes. Implementing these management strategies will make your outdoor activities more enjoyable and help keep you and your family safe from deadly diseases. While installation of a pond aeration system and stocking fish will help reduce the presence of mosquitoes, introducing an Integrated Mosquito Management plan into your annual maintenance will help make your mosquito management efforts a success. Reach out to your lake manager to learn more about mosquito prevention in your community.
Contact the experts at 888-480-LAKE (5253) for all of your lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management needs.SOLitude Lake Management is an environmental firm committed to providing full-service solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Our services include lake, pond, wetland and fisheries management programs, algae and aquatic weed control, mechanical harvesting, hydro-raking, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, bathymetry, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat assessments, invasive species management and nuisance wildlife management. Services, consulting and aquatic products are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, parks, and state and federal agencies. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.