Mosquitoes and where they come from


June 1, 2022

Photo: Mark Sheperdigian, BCE

A cover is a cover is a cover, unless it has a tear or has slack that lets water pool on top of it, in which case it’s a mosquito attractant. This boat cover meets both conditions. Photo: Mark Sheperdigian, BCE

Eliminating breeding sites is fundamental to mosquito control.

If the species causing trouble is a short-range, container breeder such as the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), it is crucial you find and eliminate the sources. Temporary breeding sites can develop anywhere water will collect, and so the hunt is on.


The easy sites are birdbaths, kiddie pools and other children’s toys. Most homeowners can find these and deal with them. The famous sites are old tires and 5-gallon buckets. Old tires will hold water for a long time, and the water cannot be poured out. A 5-gallon bucket can hold enough water to allow mosquitoes to develop whether it’s right side up, upside down, or on its side.

Anything out of place should be immediately suspect, and trash of any kind is capable of collecting water. Discarded fast-food beverage cups are a classic source and usually they’re easily found, but a paper bag shouldn’t be overlooked, either, as there may be another container inside.

Any plastic bags that have blown in can end up collecting water. Discarded plastic grocery bags are famous for blowing in on the wind, hanging up in a bush or a tree and filing with water.
Tarps always should get your attention. If they’re not currently being used, they will be folded or simply wadded up and left out. In either state, the tarp can hold water and breed mosquitoes. When a tarp is being used, it should be stretched and secured by its corners; otherwise, it can have a depression in a slack spot or an edge can be curled up on the ground.


headshot: Mark Sheperdigian

Mark Sheperdigian

There are lots of little temporary breeding sites, and they can produce a surprising number of mosquitoes, but a large site can turn your management efforts upside down. Most large sites can be easily spotted, such as a kiddie pool that has been left for weeks or a boat with no cover sitting on a trailer.

The more difficult ones to find are those you look straight at but fail to see, such as a boat on a trailer with a cover on it. At first it looks proper — until you realize there is a tear in the cover and the boat is actually full of water.

It can be just as difficult when it’s a kiddie pool that is upside down and propped up. The kiddie pool may have no water, but what’s underneath? Occasionally, what we’re looking for is covered up by what we aren’t looking for.

If the mosquito causing trouble is a container breeder, you need to be sure there isn’t a source on-site. Quickly finding the sources will multiply your results and build up your bottom line.

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