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Agricultural News

OSU Entomologist Justin Tally On How To Keep Mosquitoes Under Control

Tue, 15 Jun 2021 11:36:17 CDT

OSU Entomologist Justin Tally On How To Keep Mosquitoes Under Control Recent rains and relatively cool weather throughout Oklahoma have made conditions favorable for mosquitoes, especially in regions that have recently experienced flooding.

Associate Farm Director, KC Sheperd, caught up with Oklahoma State University Extension entomologist, Justin Tally, and he said, “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.”

Mosquitoes are most active during the times dawn and dusk times, Tally said. Additionally, areas with standing water can provide an ideal spot for mosquitoes to stay.

One preventative measure to take is to empty areas of any standing water.

There are many objects and areas that can collect standing water. These include pots, yard decorations, puddles, ground depressions and even unconventional items like children’s toys and drainage systems, Tally said.

Areas that have standing water that’s not being drained or evaporated within a week or longer will support mosquito development, he said. Equally important to be aware of is the water you might not see, he added.

As little as four cap-fulls of water is enough to support mosquito development, so dumping water when possible is critical.

For those sources unable to be rid completely of water, Tally said there are some alternatives available. Mosquito dunks and mosquito granules can be applied to combat mosquitoes in areas of standing water, such as decorative ponds free of fish.

Methods to prevent these pesky creatures include applying mosquito repellant and having your yard sprayed with insecticide.

“The biggest thing with protecting ourselves is putting some kind of repellant on when trying to enjoy outdoor activities,” Tally said.

Some mosquitoes feed during the day, so it is important to initially and recurrently apply, especially as you sweat, he added.

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.

Another common mosquito prevention method is yard insecticide sprays. These have the potential to be especially efficient because of not only the spray itself but the timing of the spray.

When the spray is applied during mosquito-heavy times like dawn and dusk, applicators are able to apply the insecticide to mosquito resting sites, reaching more than just the flying pests, Tally said.

Also capable of being bit are our four-legged friends.

“When we think about animals, our biggest concern is dogs,” Tally said.

Mosquitoes can transmit dog heart worm, so it is vital to make sure pets are protected, too.

Looking forward, Tally said the mosquito population will be dependent upon the future weather.

There are four species currently active in Oklahoma:
* Aedes (container-breeding mosquitoes)
* Culex (known to carry West Nile Virus)
* Anopheles (known to transmit Malaria)
* Psorophora (large mosquitoes, also known as gallinippers)

If it gets hotter and dryer, numbers are likely to decrease. If the humidity much of Oklahoma is currently experiencing sticks around, numbers are likely to rise.

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.

To hear more from KC Sheperd and Justin Tally, click or tap below.

right-click to download mp3


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