Follow research-based mosquito control recommendations
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Media Contact: Donald Stotts | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-4079 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent rains and relatively cool weather throughout Oklahoma have made conditions favorable for mosquitoes, especially in regions that have recently experienced flooding.
“The species we’re seeing typically bite during the evening hours or when disturbed in shady areas,” said Justin Talley, Oklahoma State University Extension entomologist. “Most of these mosquitoes live two weeks and will not survive when temperatures get hotter.”
Species currently active in Oklahoma include:
- Aedes (container-breeding mosquitoes)
- Culex (known to carry West Nile Virus)
- Anopheles (known to transmit Malaria)
- Psorophora (large mosquitoes, also known as gallinippers)
They are most often found in standing water that remains after heavy rainfall or flooding, so be sure to police property and containers that can hold water — such as bird baths, garden pots, old tires, tree holes and even depressions in the ground.
“Mosquitoes spend the winter as eggs that have been laid at the edge of standing water the previous year,” Talley said. “The eggs hatch only after they have been dried for a period and then are flooded in some manner. Unfortunately, many thousands of eggs can hatch at the same time.”
Research-proven control measures for fending off mosquitoes include the following:
- Apply a repellent. Products containing the chemical DEET are proven to be the most effective in repelling mosquitoes. Those DEET repellants should not be allowed to contact children 3 years or younger, and no repellent of any kind should be allowed on children 2 months or younger.
- Mosquitoes are more active during dusk and dawn periods, so plan activities accordingly.
- Remember to re-apply a repellent one hour before dusk if working into the night with assistive lighting.
- Wear long sleeves and pants when possible.
- Be diligent in dumping all sources of standing water.
- Be aware debris from recent storms may hold water for long periods of time.
- Since most mosquitoes go unnoticed when feeding, be sure to conduct routine inspections of your body to determine if a repellent will need to be re-applied.
OSU Extension recommendations are to apply repellents containing pyrethrins only to clothing and never to exposed skin. Even when applied to clothing, there is usually a label-directed period from when the repellent is applied to how long a person should wear the clothes. Always read the label directions carefully with these products.
Gallinippers are Mother Nature’s real-life version of a monster movie. The floodwater mosquitoes can grow up to six times larger than most other species. Although disease transmission is low for these pests, they can deliver very painful bites.
“Again, a key management tool is to ensure your property has good drainage and empty any areas of standing water,” Talley said. “If standing water is not draining from the property, then products are available that can be applied to the water. Known as insect growth regulators, they usually can be applied as a granular from a standard lawn fertilizer spreader.”
Fact sheets detailing research-based information about mosquito and other pest control practices for urban and rural areas are available online through OSU Extension and at OSU Extension county offices.