With the increase in West Nile virus related fatalities, businesses with outdoor areas—golf courses, restaurants, resorts, clubhouses, pool and recreation facilities, and other venues—are being urged to continue to be vigilant about mosquito control even though hotter, dryer weather persists in some areas of the country. Mosquitoes are very adaptable to changing weather conditions, and even though many areas of the United States are experiencing drought conditions this year, experts say the mosquito threat does not go away.
“Because we had a mild winter in many areas, population density is up, and mosquitoes will be active as long as the temperature and moisture levels are favorable,” said Paul Curtis, B.C.E., director of service quality for Terminix. “As a general rule, warmer temperatures decrease the time it takes for insects to reproduce, thus producing larger populations. For example, a common mosquito type in California might go through its life cycle in 14 days at 70˚F, and take only 10 days at 80˚F.”
While extreme heat can impact mosquito populations, in some cases it can just delay infestations.
“The drought and temperature extremes in some areas can cause a delay in some stages of mosquito development, which can then rebound when temperatures become more favorable and water requirements are met, Curtis said. “That means you may see very few mosquitoes for a period of time, and then suddenly clouds of them everywhere.”
Along with keeping customers and employees comfortable, safety is also an important consideration in mosquito control. In addition to West Nile virus, dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Florida has reported local cases of dengue for the first time in 75 years, as have states along the United States-Mexico border.
For regions that maintain temperatures and moisture conditions conducive to mosquito activity for most of the year, year-round mosquito protection is highly recommended.
“Planted areas, atriums, offices, and warehouses may sustain the lighting, moisture, and temperature conditions to allow activity for some types of mosquitoes to continue year-round, even though it is cold outside,” said Curtis. “It’s also common for mosquitoes to emerge if a few warm days in a row occur in the fall and winter,” said Curtis.
Tips for Controlling Mosquitoes in Commercial Areas:
- Maintain good sanitation around building structures and customer areas by eliminating areas with standing water.
- Minimize the number of stored and decorative items that can catch and hold water in and around the structure.
- Clean debris from gutters, and check for standing water on flat roofs of commercial buildings
- If your property features decorative ponds with fish, consider including fish such as the Gambusia affinis, which will eat mosquito larvae.
- Neatly trim bushes and other vegetation that can serve as a resting place for mosquitoes. Pest control professionals may also be able to make a topical application for control on landscaping.
- Maintain guest/resident comfort and peace-of-mind by choosing a mosquito control system with a powerful, natural plant-based formula. Safe and environmentally responsible solutions demonstrate your commitment to the planet and people.
- Tailor insect control systems to your needs—it’s no longer all or nothing. The new misting technology allows you to choose the level of protection that suits your outdoor business needs—continuous all day misting or spot misting for special or limited use areas.
“With the innovative technologies now available, providing effective mosquito protection can be easily and seamlessly integrated into facilities’ maintenance regimens,” added Curtis.