Urbanization and trends such as climate change are contributing to an increase in mosquito population growth.
It’s a worrying trend for those businesses in regions where mosquitoes are the carriers of dangerous diseases such as:
- West Nile virus
- Yellow fever
While these disease organisms are mainly found in the tropical and subtropical belts of the world; the increase in range and prevalence pose a serious risk to public health and can disrupt how businesses operate.
With over 3,000 species of mosquitoes, wherever you operate your business, you’re still likely to encounter a few of them. Whether the mosquitoes are disease-carriers or nuisance-biters; your business should strive to mitigate the risk of infestations quickly to protect staff, customers and the reputation of your business.
Read on to find out when and where mosquitoes are active and how to manage them on your premises.
At what time of day do mosquitoes bite?
Mosquito-biting behavior depends on the species. The majority of mosquito species bite during dusk and dawn. Other species prefer to bite during daylight hours or whenever an opportunity arises. There are even species that will not or prefer not to feed on humans.
However, some of the most important disease-carrying mosquito species are daytime biters. So, regardless of the mosquito species and their hours of biting activity, you’ll need to have mosquito prevention measures in place at all times.
Where are the different stages of mosquitoes found?
The egg stage of mosquitoes can be found in a variety of places, but they are all associated with sources of stagnant water. Some species prefer to lay eggs at the edge of water in containers. Some will lay their eggs directly on the top of the water and others will lay eggs in completely dry areas that are prone to future flooding.
Regardless of how the eggs are laid, females are extremely efficient at finding water. This is why reducing the sources of water, where possible, is so important to managing mosquitoes around a property. Places where standing water has been created by dripping outdoor faucet taps or air conditioning, open ditches, clogged gutters, potted plants and any other outdoor containers should be monitored for water and emptied regularly.
After eggs hatch, mosquitoes enter the larva stage. This stage is free-living and roams throughout its water environment, feeding on the multitude of microorganisms in the water. Larva can be collected, counted and identified to understand the different species present and how to best control them – a key element of mosquito management.
Most adult mosquitoes are out of sight during the sunny, daylight hours because their biggest environmental challenge is to avoid dehydration. Most mosquitoes during this time can be found resting in cool, damp, shady areas such as on vegetation under leaves, inside tree holes, under bark and in hidden areas of a building.
Some mosquitoes, like the common northern house mosquito of North America, can be found inside buildings where fertilized females can overwinter.
Mosquito management tips
Use the following measures to help prevent mosquitoes from entering your premises and reduce the risk of your customers, visitors and staff being bitten.
Protect your building
- Keep doors and windows closed when not in use. Be sure to provide adequate screening for those openings, when possible.
- Seal outdoor cracks and crevices to disallow adult mosquitoes to harbor on and in the building.
- Fix any structural areas that trap water, especially in shaded areas.
- Lastly, have the building and surrounding areas treated with a professional, approved product to reduce loitering mosquitoes on and around the structure.
Remove stagnant water sources
Make sure natural or man-made water traps are removed or have proper drainage. Particular hotspots for mosquitoes to breed and thrive including:
- Poor drainage areas
- Unused equipment that collects water
- Heavy equipment tracks in soft soil
- Drainage ponds that are not aerated
Also, don’t forget movable items such as shipping containers or plastic pallets with water-trap features. They can also be breeding sites for mosquitoes. Because the collection of organic debris can provide a source of food for mosquito larvae.
Clean these out and conduct regular property inspections to monitor potential breeding grounds around your business.
Maintain outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs properly
As long as outdoor pools are properly maintained, they’re unlikely to become a breeding ground for mosquitoes as they need stagnant water with bacteria for larvae to feed on.
Correct amounts of oxygen and chlorine in pool water will remove mosquito food sources, making pools unattractive to female mosquitoes when they’re laying eggs.
Protective uniform for your employees
If your employees wear uniforms, make sure they’re protective, durable and comfortable. Loose-fitting, light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and trousers can help to keep mosquitoes away as exposed areas are easy targets.
Mosquitoes can bite through holes in sandals and tight-fitting clothing – even when it’s as thick as denim – as the fabric is close enough to the skin to allow bites.
Use approved mosquito repellents
Encourage staff and guests to use a mosquito repellent that contains approved active ingredients. In the USA, for example, ingredients such as DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), Picaridin (KBR 3023), or IR3535 are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In the UK, insect repellents – including those with DEET – are only available for sale once they’ve been approved by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
By using mosquito repellents with tested and approved active ingredients, your staff, visitors and customers are getting the safest protection from nuisance-biting mosquitoes and from the dangers of mosquito-borne diseases.
You can also provide mosquito repellents in single packs or strategically located dispensers as part of a complete mosquito-control programme for your business.
Get help from a pest-control expert
Protecting your business from the health risks of mosquitoes has never been more important. As certain mosquito-borne diseases continue to increase, the potential risk for businesses from a global perspective is very high. Not only can this trend undermine public health efforts, but also threatens the safety of staff and the customers served. This in turn can damage the brand reputation of a business.
Effective mosquito control can be simple to highly complex in different situations. A professional assessment will enable the development of an effective Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) approach. This involves a professional survey to identify mosquito development sites, how best to protect a structure, and managing existing populations (both larvae and adults). The IMM approach also includes a continuous surveillance programme to monitor future activity.
Rentokil’s expertise lies in developing a customised integrated mosquito-control programme to control infestations for commercial properties of all sizes and in all climates and environments.
Our mosquito-control approach includes the following measures:
- A survey/Inspection of your entire property to identify:
- methods and techniques to reduce sources of stagnant water and decrease larva development sites
- the best ways to protect structures
- the most effective ways to reduce mosquito populations of both larvae and adult mosquitoes by reducing their resting sites
- The best techniques to proactively monitor future mosquito activity
- Education to help you keep your business, staff, customers and reputation safe from the risks of mosquitoes
Do your due diligence and keep up to date with potential outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases that may affect your area. This will allow you to plan ahead and anticipate any changes you’ll need to make to your mosquito-control programme to minimize disruption to your business and advise your guests should they have any concerns accordingly.