Mosquito control at the bayshore

We are entering the peak season for mosquitoes at the bayshore. They will expand rapidly in June and continue until first freeze. Mosquito management here has six components:

  1. Elimination of standing water. This means vigilant turning over of buckets, barrels etc. I think this makes the most difference. I’m known to be militaristic in keeping our community free of standing water containers.
  2. Treatment of standing water that can’t be eliminated. A government-required fuel spill containment area, for example, holds unavoidable standing water. I use bacillus thuringiensis tablets available in hardware stores but have no way of knowing if that actually works. Another visitor suggests that a tiny amount of bleach also works.
  3. Keeping them out of the house and buildings. This is the hardest part for me. They can come in though the often open doors and the doggie door flap and gaps or holes in screens. It’s a constant battle.
  4. Wear long leaves and long pants. Most of my bites are on exposed skin like neck and ankles. I buy specific clothing to wear under different insect conditions, including head masks for some spring work.
  5. Wear repellent. DEET and the natural products seem to work equally well. The problem is remembering to put it on. Of course nobody wears it all the time. We keep a basket of assorted products available for all visitors.
  6. Treat bites. I use meat tenderizer. There are other natural options and plenty of over-the-counter treatment products.

Mosquitoes are one of the six major insect pests here at the bayshore. The others are gnats, green head flies, strawberry flies, ticks and house flies. Each one has its own management strategies that we take seriously. Bayshore residents know that insects are not to be taken lightly. Visitors are likely to hear the local phrase “June is for the bugs”. Outdoor activities are often dependent on having an adequate breeze of over 5 mph to keep most of the bugs away. Bugs are our natural human population control and some have speculated that without the insects our bayshore would be lined with high rise condominiums.

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