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051413-mosquito-control-04

Paul Guse, the director of environmental health for the Rock Island County Health Department, holds a packet of biological larvicide that dissolves in water and becomes a toxin when it gets in a mosquito's gut. Both Scott and Rock Island counties have public health programs to keep mosquitoes in check.

Last night I took about one hour to do some weeding and trimming in our large, 1.5 acre yard.

We have a family wedding this summer and I'm trying to have the yard look especially nice. To that end, I've been weeding, planting, and fiddling around, incessantly.

Back to last night: The day lily garden looked a mess, so I waded into it, weeding. I pulled a bunch of excess weeds and started slapping at my bare arms. I only saw one mosquito, but it seemed like there were lots more in this part of the yard.

Now, as I've written before, I don't freak out at mosquitoes. For some reason they don't really bite me too much. That is exactly opposite to the rest of the Baker family, including husband, Steve.

He can be sitting out on the patio with a bunch of friends, and he is the only guy who comes away with mosquito bites.

So, I was interested to see the message, below, on mosquitoes. It turns out, they have been bothering humans for something like 400 million years! Read on: 

Researchers have been trying to crack the "mosquito" code for years… It is simply unfair when you are out on an amazing hike, or are simply trying to relax in your backyard and you (only you) are getting relentlessly chowed. Meanwhile, your friends and family remain blissfully bite-free. What gives?

Better figure it out now in preparation for all those buggy 4th of July BBQ’s to come.

Here are a few mosquito facts, courtesy of AMCA (American Mosquito Control Association) that might help explain why…

• Mosquitoes are known from as far back as the Triassic Period – 400 million years ago.

• There are about 2,700 species of mosquito. There are 176 species in the United States.

• The average mosquito weighs about 2.5 milligrams.

• The average mosquito takes in about 5-millionths of a liter of blood during feeding.

• Mosquitoes find hosts by sight (they observe movement); by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies; and by chemical signals (mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, among other chemicals) at distances of 25 to 35 meters.

• Mosquitoes fly an estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.

• Salt marsh mosquitoes can migrate up to 40 miles for a meal.

• Bigger people are often more attractive to mosquitoes because they are larger targets and they produce more mosquito attractants, namely CO2 and lactic acid.

• Active or fidgety people also produce more CO2 and lactic acid.

• Smelly feet are attractive to certain species of mosquitoes — as is Limburger cheese.

• Dark clothing has been shown to attract some species of mosquitoes more than lighter colored clothing.

• Active movement increases mosquito biting up to 50 percent in some research tests.

• A full moon increased mosquito activity 500 percent in one study.

Prevention tips:

Water: Eliminate standing water which acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (flower pots, children’s pools, watering cans, gutters etc.)

Trash: Remember to keep the lids on trash cans to keep out the rain.

Puddles: Cover up or fill in low places in your yard where puddles can develop.

Gutters: Keep gutters cleaned out so water does not build up inside and become a mosquito breeding ground.

Drains: Make sure all drains on your property are also cleaned out without leaves blocking them up so water can drain effectively.

Pipes: Repair leaky pipes and outdoor faucets.

Toys: Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week or store in a position that water will drain.

Pools: Make sure your backyard pool is maintained properly.

Bird baths and planters: Change water in bird baths and planter pots or drip trays at least once a week.

Grass: Keep grass cut short around the house so adult mosquitoes will not hide there.

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