One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and have an extremely fast life cycle allowing for quick population growth. Mosquito larvae hatch within a few days and a full adult develops in 10 to 14 days from hatching.
Just like humans, animals are at high risk for contracting severe illnesses as a result of mosquito bites. In addition to West Nile virus, heartworm is of most concern for pet owners as each year thousands of dogs become disabled or die from problems caused by heartworm disease. Although heartworm is less fatal in cats, it can cause a number of problems such as weight loss, blindness, seizures, difficulty breathing and coughing.
NPMA suggests the following mosquito prevention tips in and around the home:
- Prevent mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water and other sources of moisture in or around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, baby pools, sandboxes, children’s toys and other objects that can collect water. Mosquitoes need only about ½ inch of water to breed. To keep birdbath and pond water fresh, homeowners should add a fountain or drip system.
- Keep windows and doors properly screened. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
- Clean clogged gutters and periodically check them to ensure water is flowing freely.
- Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Ask veterinarians about bug repellants for pets before using them.
- If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or local mosquito abatement district that may be able to treat your back yard, specifically trees and shrubs where mosquitoes hide during the day.