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Mosquito Control

As is true with most pests, prevention is better than cure. Mosquitoes are associated with stagnant and standing water, so if it is at all possible, the first line of defense is to remove their breeding sites. Do not leave water standing in wheelbarrows, buckets etc.

If the breeding site is impossible to remove then there are products available to destroy the adults and their larvae and to protect yourself from attack

16 products

Worldwide, there have been many attempts to eradicate mosquitoes but they have invariably failed. However, the more modest and realistic aim of mosquito control can reduce the incidence of bites.

Control measures:

  • follow the 'Habitat Modification' advice in the 'Pest Proofing' section
  • to clear mosquitoes quickly and effectively from a room, spray with a pyrethroid spray such as Protector C, or for a non-chemical control use Oa2ki Spray
  • prevent mosquitoes entering your home by fitting screens to doors and windows
  • use personal protection measures outlined in the 'Pest Proofing' section


Use pesticides safely and always read and understand the label

As most people know, it is the female mosquito that bites. The females of most species have piercing and sucking mouth parts and they must feed at least once upon mammalian blood before their eggs can develop properly. During the blood meals the females may either acquire or transmit various disease organisms. It is she who produces the characteristic whining sound by vibrating thin horny membranes on the thorax. The eggs are laid singly or glued together to form rafts, usually in stagnant water in ponds, pools, open containers, and other aquatic habitats. Mosquitoes have become adapted to extremes of climate and are found far north of the Arctic Circle, where they winter as larvae frozen in the ice. Mosquitoes are the vectors of several diseases and health experts are warning travellers to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes amid a worldwide increase in dengue fever. Mosquitoes are found all over the world except in Antarctica. Of the 32 species found in Britain, only 3-4 bite humans.

Description:

  • Thin, slender-bodied insect
  • 4-10mm long
  • characteristic scale-covered wings
  • long proboscis (feeding mouth-part)

Life cycle:

  • female lays several hundred eggs on the surface of water
  • eggs hatch in 2-3 days and larvae feed on organic matter in the water until they pupate about a week later
  • pupae live at the surface of the water for 2-3 days before metamorphosing into adults

One of the first things that adult mosquitoes do is seek a mate, mate and then feed. Male mosquitoes have short mouth parts and feed on plant nectar. In contrast, female mosquitoes have a long proboscis that they use to bite animals and humans and feed on their blood (the blood provides proteins that the females need to lay eggs). After they feed, females lay their eggs (they need a blood meal each time they lay eggs). Females continue this cycle and live anywhere from many days to weeks (longer over the winter); males usually live only a few days after mating. The life cycles of mosquitoes vary with the species and environmental conditions.

Worldwide, there are many diseases that can be caused by a mosquito bite, including:

  • Malaria
  • Yellow Fever
  • Encephalitis
  • Dengue Fever

The concern is that as global warming increases, some of these diseases will impact Europe and Britain.

Mosquitoes are always associated with water as they need water to breed in and develop into adults.

Only female mosquitoes bite. Mosquitoes are attracted to heat, light, perspiration, body odour, lactic acid and carbon dioxide.

How do mosquitoes locate us?

  • Chemical sensors - mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide and lactic acid up to 100 feet (36 meters) away. Mammals and birds give off these gases as part of their normal breathing. Certain chemicals in sweat also seem to attract mosquitoes (people who don't sweat much don't get nearly as many mosquito bites).
  • Visual sensors - if you are wearing clothing that contrasts with the background, and especially if you move while wearing that clothing, mosquitoes can see you and zero in on you.
  • Heat sensors - Mosquitoes can detect heat, so they can find warm-blooded mammals and birds very easily once they get close enough.

How to treat mosquito bites:

  • Treat mosquito bites by washing them with soap and water.
  • Avoid scratching the bite area by using anti-itch medicines, such as Calamine lotion.

The best way to reduce mosquito-borne diseases is through mosquito control and personal protection.

Personal Protection:

  • wear clothing that covers most of your body
  • spray your clothing with a Permethrin based product like PreVent. (Never apply permethrin to your skin, it is a neurotoxin!)

Habitat Modification:

  • mosquitoes need water to breed and will use any source of standing water
  • if you have a garden pond, stock it with fish as they will eat the mosquito larvae
  • ensure that there is no water left standing in buckets etc.
  • cover drains and water butts

To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home, make sure that all of your window screens are intact.