Mosquitoes will soon be out and about

From The Record-Bee
May 1, 2018

Spring is mosquito time in Lake County and while this year’s mosquito problem is predicted to be less than last year’s when water left over from the winter floods was everywhere, you can still take a few precautions to reduce their number.

Backyard pools are breeding grounds for several species of mosquitoes. The good news is that the county’s mosquito population can be controlled. Lake County Vector Control has several methods of controlling the insects and they are free to the county’s residents. Two of the most popular are providing mosquito fish and spraying insecticides in mosquito-infested areas.

Only the female mosquito can bite and she does so to obtain blood from the victim, which allows her to produce eggs. The female mosquito has a mouth part called a proboscis, which is like a hypodermic needle. She pierces the skin of the victim and probes around until she locates a capillary, and then she sucks the blood. She also injects some of her saliva, which stops the blood from clogging. This is the point where she can transmit a disease directly into the victim.

The male doesn’t bite. There are also only a few species of mosquitoes that present a problem for humans. Depending on the species, mosquito eggs are laid singly or in rafts either on the water’s surface or on something solid that will eventually be under water. A female mosquito deposits 50-200 eggs. In the summer, the eggs can hatch into larvae in two to three days. Only unmoving water with organic material can support developing mosquito larvae, so females lay their eggs in tree holes that fill with rainwater, in tide water pools or salt marshes, in sewage effluent ponds, in irrigated pastures, in rainwater ponds or in horse troughs. Mosquitoes also will lay eggs in backyard habitats such as unmaintained swimming pools. Any container that holds water continually for a week may be a suitable habitat for a female to lay her eggs, even pet dishes and overflow reservoirs beneath potted plants.

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