When Should I Spray for Mosquitos?

You can find mosquitos pretty much anywhere in the world. In fact, there are over 3,500 types or mosquitos. Mosquitos, and their painful bites, can turn a memory-making summertime party or outing into a nightmare all around for everyone and anyone who gets bit. There’s nothing fun about having mosquitoes as uninvited guests no matter what you’re doing outside when the temperatures warm up.

Not only are mosquito bites painful, but since mosquitos also bite animals, their bites can potentially carry diseases like West Nile Virus, several forms of Encephalitis, and others.

Related: Click here to read about our tick treatments + when you should treat for ticks.

If you’re wondering “When should I spray for mosquitos,” the answer is to spray when mosquitos are most active. We understand this by following the mosquito lifecycle. Following this method, you will drastically reduce mosquitos so you can keep you, your family, and any guests bite-and disease-free.

Mosquito Lifecycle

In order to go from beginning to biting, mosquitos go through four stages in their life cycle: Egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Each stage is important to understand when it comes to mosquito prevention.

  • Egg stage: Mosquito eggs are laid on water, and even though these eggs are laid one at a time, once they’re laid, they form a sort of “raft” that floats on the surface of the water. Most eggs hatch and enter the next stage, the larva stage, within 48 hours; however, in the winter months, they can even survive subzero temperatures.
  • Larva stage: Upon entering this stage, the larva live and breathe on the water surface, and during this stage, as they continue to grow, they can shed their skins up to four times. The larva feed on organic substances and microorganisms from the water.
  • Pupa stage: This stage of a mosquito’s life is a resting and non-feeding stage, and the pupae remain in the water. To stay safe, they move around based on how the light changes around them. Going from the pupa stage to the adult stage resembles how a caterpillar become a butterfly: The pupa’s skin will split as it grows, and once it has shed its skin, it’s now considered an adult mosquito.
  • Adult stage: Once the pupa has moved into the adult stage, it will stay on the water’s surface for a little while as it dries off and its body parts harden. An adult will not start feeding and mating for a couple of days after entering this stage. Adult mosquitos can live up to 2 months, but even as they reach “old age” for a mosquito, their kids are already well on their way to taking their parents’ place as far as biting goes since a female will lay more eggs after each “blood” meal.

The one thing to keep in mind with all these stages is one common denominator, water, which leads us right into how to prevent a mosquito outbreak and keep them from getting to the adult stage in the first place.

How to Prevent a Mosquito Outbreak

In addition to regular spraying, which we’ll discuss below, perhaps the best way to prevent a mosquito from even laying eggs in the first place and to keep any outbreaks in your yard as minimal as possible is to keep potential standing water sources free of water. No matter where you live, this is something you’ll want to do frequently year-round, especially after any rainstorms. If you live in a climate that requires you to water your yard, you’ll also want to be aware of where any standing water can happen so you can eliminate these potential sources of mosquitos also. And since you won’t always stay solely in your yard, it’s good to know where mosquitos might be congregating—no matter where you are—so you can avoid mosquito bites as much as possible. Here are some common sources of standing water:

  • Divots in concrete (sidewalks, driveways, etc.) where water can collect
  • Clogged gutters
  • Ponds, lakes, swamps, marshes
  • Damp underbrush
  • Old tires
  • Flowerpots
  • Tree pots
  • Tall, wet grasses and plants
  • Play structures
  • Trash containers
  • Sand box toys
  • Patio furniture
  • Kiddie pools
  • Unused hot tubs and spas
  • Buckets

Basically, mosquitos love anywhere water can collect, so be sure and examine your yard regularly to make sure you don’t have any sources of standing water.

Another thing to remember is that mosquitos bite just as well inside your home as outside, so make sure that inside your home is mosquito-free as much as possible too:

  • Use window and door screens, and make sure to quickly repair any holes.
  • Keep doors closed, including garage doors.
  • Use air conditioning when possible to make it harder for mosquitos to enter your home through open windows and screens.

When Should You Spray for Mosquitos?

Even if you’re ultra-vigilant in eliminating standing water in your yard, we still highly recommend you follow a regular spraying schedule, treating your yard—including all vegetation—about every 21 days once your daytime temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Another mosquito prevention tip is to also regularly trim these areas and keep weeds to a minimum. In addition to spraying, your pest control professional can also install non-toxic mosquito traps, like those offered by in2care.org, which lure, and then contaminate mosquitos, harming both them and any breeding sites they visit. One huge benefit of mosquito traps is that they’re safe for both the kids and pets who enjoy your yard.

Mosquito prevention doesn’t need to feel overwhelming, especially once you understand both how and where mosquitos breed, where they can congregate in your yard, and how to prevent them both through being ultra-attentive to standing water sources and through a regular preventative treatment schedule. Have questions about how to treat mosquitos in your yard or need a prevention professional on your side?

Contact us, and we’ll be happy to put our expertise to work for you and your yard. After all, our goal is to solve your pest problems—especially where those mosquitos are concerned.

when to spray for ticks

When to spray for ticks: life cycle of ticks + treatment

Let’s talk about ticks: those tiny, hard-shelled bugs that can look like a freckle on your skin, which often makes them difficult to spot. And unlike other common yard insects that can jump or fly, you, anyone in your yard, and your pets have to come in direct contact with ticks for them to bite.

Ticks are most often found in wooded or grassy areas, and they like shady and damp environments best. While there are several types of ticks, one thing that they all have in common is that their diet consists solely of the blood from people, pets, deer, mice, birds, and reptiles. Anything with blood is a food source for ticks.

Ticks are definitely an issue here in Massachusetts:

  • There are two common species of ticks in Massachusetts: Deer Ticks and Dog Ticks. Dog Ticks are normally inactive in the winter months, although warmer than usual weather can bring them out earlier than expected. Deer Ticks can be active year-round—no matter how cold it gets.
  • Ticks can cause the spread of Lyme Disease, Tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Borrelia Miyamotoi, Anaplasmosis, and Powassan Virus.
  • Massachusetts is one of the 14 states where, according to the CDC, 95 percent of Lyme disease cases were reported in 2015.

So, how do you protect your yard, your pets, and anyone enjoying your yard from ticks? Maybe you’re wondering if spraying for ticks even works (spoiler alert: it does). Understanding the tick life cycle is essential to treating for them. Ticks typically go through four stages, and at each stage, they are actively seeking a host:

  • The Egg Stage
  • The Larva Stage
  • The Nymph Stage
  • The Adult Stage

When it comes to treating for ticks, it’s crucial to treat before it's time for ticks to seek a host and start feeding, because once they start feeding, they can potentially spread disease. Unfortunately, this can happen at different seasons of the year, so it’s important to treat your yard during each phase of the life cycle in order to stop them before they feed instead of just sporadically guessing when to treat. And unfortunately, treating for ticks only when you’re outside will not be enough to prevent tick bites and the associated diseases from those tick bites.

Let’s delve deeper into the four stages of the tick life cycle so you can better understand how to protect your home environment from these harmful pests.

 

Stage 1: The Egg Stage

The prime time for female ticks, who are nearing the end of their life span (2-3 years), to lay their eggs is in the spring, and one female tick can lay thousands of eggs, making it difficult to ever catch up prevention-wise once those eggs hit stage 2. Tick eggs are easier to spot than more mature ticks, as they are translucent and will either be brown or red. Ticks tend to lay their eggs in outdoor leaf brush, on top of warm soil that has a lot of animal activity (think of a trail where deer roam), and other warm, soft places. It’s a good idea that in addition to spraying your yard, you also maintain proper leaf clean-up and cut your lawn on a regular basis as these are very attractive locations for ticks.

How do you protect your yard from those female ticks who will be laying their eggs in the first place? Start by spraying once in late spring. The feeding and reproduction season for ticks is relatively short, and the sooner you can stop those ticks from laying thousands of eggs, the better. This is oftentimes, the first spray of the year, and it’s key to making sure your tick treatment is working accordingly.

 

Stage 2: Larva Stage

During the next stage of life, which occurs in late summer, the eggs hatch into larvae, and while at first, the larvae are disease-free, once they feed on an infected blood source, they then become bearers of tick-borne diseases.

It’s important to follow up spring tick treatment with late summer treatment to destroy any larva before they become disease carriers. Once ticks in this stage are full of blood from feeding, they begin the transition to the nymph stage. You may also want to spray during the early nymph stage to hopefully prevent any further feeding.

 

Stage 3: Nymph Stage

It’s probably becoming more clear as to why tick treatment is not a one-and-done solution. You want to make sure you’re treating at each stage of the cycle, including the nymph stage that takes you into the fall. Before moving into the adult stage, they can remain in the nymph stage until the spring, and some can even go dormant for a period of time.

It’s a common misconception that ticks aren’t active in the winter months, but since ticks can be active when the temperatures are above 37 degrees, it’s important to make sure that you don’t put your prevention procedure on hold once the colder weather hits. It’s important to always be ahead of the game where ticks and tick bite prevention are concerned.

 

Stage 4: Adult Stage

After becoming saturated with blood, the tick falls off its host and enters the final stage—the adult stage. This usually also happens in the fall. Depending on factors such as the weather, they will either then nest for a period of time or start mating. After mating with 1-2 females, male ticks will die, and the females will go on to lay thousands of eggs before ending their life cycle. As with the previous life cycle stages, prevention is needed during this stage also, as ticks are still actively seeking hosts for feeding.

 

Tick Prevention

When it comes to tick prevention, the EcoMosquito approach is different. Training is a key part of our company. Our technicians take their time at your property and don’t rush through the motions. They will thoroughly inspect for mosquito and tick breeding and resting sites in order to target the areas of your yard that really need attention. This, in itself, is more important than barrier treatments themselves. Since ticks can be so dangerous for both you and your pets, it’s crucial to have experts on your side who understand all the stages of a tick’s life cycle so you and your landscape can be protected year-round. Contact us for more information on how we can help you protect you and those you love.