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Effective mosquito control starts at home

If you want to enjoy time outdoors without swatting mosquitoes or worrying about mosquito-borne diseases, don’t wait for city spray trucks to do something about it. “There are better ways to turn your yard into a no-fly zone for mosquitoes,” says Maura Sellers, president of Mosquito Information Corporation and publisher of the MosquitoZone.com Web site.

In fact, says Sellers, pesticide spraying is a last line of defense in an integrated approach to mosquito control. “It’s easier and more effective to get mosquitoes where they breed, in the standing water that accumulates around your home and yard.” She explains that hundreds of mosquitoes can hatch in just three days from a tablespoon of water– in unassuming places like trash cans, outside toys, bottle caps and liter, flowerpot saucers, and low spots in the yard.

Instead of relying on cash- and manpower-strapped local officials, Sellers urges home owners to “own the puddle.” Taking responsibility for eliminating standing water around the home or sprinkling in environmentally safe larvicides such as Pre-Strike® and Mosquito Bits® can prevent thousands of mosquitoes from hatching into biting adults.

“The mosquito that just bit you was probably born within 100 feet of where you’re standing,” says Sellers. “So what you and your neighbors do to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds can make a big difference.”

Besides draining water and larviciding, other ways to fight mosquitoes include skin repellents, mosquito traps and barriers. Homeowners and other interested groups can learn more about how to implement an easy, affordable, time-efficient five-pronged Integrated Mosquito Management Program (IMMP) by visiting www.MosquitoZone.com.

About mosquitos

There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world; about 200 species occur in the United States with 77 species occurring in Florida. A new species, Anopheles grabhamii, was reported from the Florida Keys in 2001 (Darsie et al. 2002). Each mosquito species has a Latin scientific name, such as Anopheles quadrimaculatus. Anopheles is the "generic" name of a group of closely related mosquitoes and quadrimaculatus is the "species" name that represents a group of individuals that are similar in structure and physiology and capable of interbreeding. These names are used in a descriptive manner so that the name tells something about each particular mosquito, for example, Anopheles - Greek meaning hurtful or prejudicial and quadrimaculatus - Latin meaning four spots (4 dark spots on the wings). Some species have what are called "common names" as well as scientific names, such as Ochlerotatus taeniorhynchus, the "black salt marsh mosquito."

The Name "Mosquito"

The Spanish called mosquitoes "musketas," and the native Hispanic Americans called them "zancudos." "Mosquito" is a Spanish or Portuguese word meaning "little fly" while "zancudos," a Spanish word, means "long-legged." The use of the word "mosquito" is apparently of North American origin and dates back to about 1583.

In Europe, mosquitoes were called "gnats" by the English, "Les moucherons" or "Les cousins" by French writers, while the Germans used the name "Stechmucken" or "Schnacke." In Scandinavian countries mosquitoes were called by a variety of names including "myg" and "myyga" and the Greeks called them "konopus." In 300 B.C., Aristotle referred to mosquitoes as "empis" in his "Historia Animalium" where he documented their life cycle and metamorphic abilities. Modern writers used the name Culex and it is retained today as the name of a mosquito genus. What is the correct plural form of the word mosquito? In Spanish it would be "mosquitos," but in English "mosquitoes" (with the "e") is correct.

Mosquitoes can be an annoying, serious problem in man's domain. They interfere with work and spoil hours of leisure time. Their attacks on farm animals can cause weight loss and decreased milk production. Some mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and encephalitis [St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), Western Equine encephalitis (WEE), LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC), Japanese encephalitis (JE), Eastern Equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV)] to humans and animals. (source: www.mosquito.org)