Common types of mosquitoes in Washington
According to The American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes in the world but of that number, 176 species are recognized in the United States. The Washington State DOH (https://www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Pests/Mosquitoes) states that there are over 40 different types of mosquitoes in the Evergreen State. In our region, we often encounter the Northern house mosquito (culex pipiens) and the Western Encephalitis mosquito (culex tarsalis).
Northern House Mosquito
Adult northern house mosquitoes(culex pipiens) have slender bodies, thin long legs, hairy wings and extended tube-like mouthparts that they use for feeding. Their bodies are covered in golden brown scales and their abdomens are marked with lighter color scales that form bands.
Western Encephalitis Mosquito
Western encephalitis mosquitoes (culex tarsalis), when fully matured, have dark colored bodies and white tube bands on their extended tube-like mouthparts. The underside of their abdomens have dark inverted Vs on them. They have white bands on their long, thin legs and a white stripe on the sides of their rear legs.
Why do I have a problem with mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water. In fact, water is necessary for their reproduction efforts. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on top of standing water and it is also where the larvae develop. Examples of places on properties where standing water can accumulate include wading pools, bird baths, pet water bowls, buckets, flower pots, the tops of tarps, low lying areas in the ground, and clogged gutters.
Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar as their main food source so properties that have a lot of flowering trees and landscaping are highly attractive to mosquitoes.
Most mosquitoes are active and dawn and dusk and hide out in overgrown vegetation and tall grasses during the heat of the day. If your lawn is not kept trimmed and you have overgrowth, you’re likely to attract mosquitoes.
Do mosquitoes bite?
Female mosquitoes bite, male mosquitoes do not. Only the females bite people and animals in order to have a blood meal. The female mosquito requires the protein that is found in blood to develop her eggs. Since it is only the females that bite and feed on blood it is also only the female mosquito that transmits diseases to people and animals.
Are mosquitoes dangerous?
Mosquitoes have the potential to be quite dangerous. In many parts of the world, they transmit serious diseases to people and animals. Some mosquitoes in Washington state are vectors for West Nile virus, western equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis.
While the Zika virus has made national headlines in recent years, the types of mosquitoes that spread this virus are not found in Washington. For more information about areas with Zika risk and how to protect you and your family if you travel to those areas, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
How do I get rid of mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes can travel great distances while in search of food or a blood meal. That makes it impossible to completely rid your property of these biting pests. Professional ongoing mosquito control will significantly reduce the adult mosquito population and treat breeding sites so that mosquitoes cannot reproduce. For more information about mosquito control, please contact Prosite.
How do I prevent problems with mosquitoes?
In addition to the implementation of professional mosquito control services from Prosite Pest Control, the following tips can help you to prevent mosquito bites when the weather is warm.
- Eliminate standing water on your property
- Keep gutters clear of clogs and debris
- Fill in low lying areas in your lawn
- Mow your lawn often and remove overgrowth
- Replace or repair screens over windows and doors
- Avoid going outside when mosquitoes are most active
- Use repellent to deter mosquitoes
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