What are mosquitoes and ticks?
Mosquitoes and ticks are both pests that feed on the blood of people and animals. Both tend live in our Pennsylvania yards in large, annoying, and potentially dangerous numbers.
The mosquito is a fly-like insect with a slender body, six long legs, and scale-covered wings. They also have a thin, tube-like extended mouthpart (proboscis) they use for feeding. Male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar as their primary source of food. Only female mosquitoes feed on blood, as they require the protein found in the blood to develop viable eggs.
Ticks are arachnids and related to spiders and mites. Adult ticks are wingless, have eight legs, and a singular oval-shaped body region. Unlike mosquitoes, a tick’s only source of food is the blood of people and animals. Before having a blood meal, their body is fairly flat; after feeding, their body swells, and the tick grows in size. In our area, the following ticks are the most common:
American dog ticks
Are mosquitoes and ticks dangerous?
Mosquitoes and ticks are dangerous because they are major vectors of diseases. Both feed on a wide variety of hosts, which allows them to come into contact with a variety of pathogens and parasites.
In developing and tropical countries, mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting malaria and other serious diseases. In the U.S., they spread significant diseases like the West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, Zika, and chikungunya. Mosquitoes are also responsible for spreading canine heartworm to our pets.
Ticks are dangerous and considered second only to mosquitoes in their ability to spread diseases. Ticks spread Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, tularemia, and ehrlichiosis.
Why do I have a mosquito and tick problem?
You are experiencing a tick or mosquito problem because they are outdoor pests and any property that provides them with food, moisture, and shelter is a place they will thrive.
Areas of standing water are most attractive to mosquitoes because females lay their eggs there, and the larvae develop into adults. Mosquitoes tend to stay close to where they hatch, so the more standing water you have on your property, the more problems with mosquitoes you will have.
Wild animals like rodents, deer, raccoons, and skunks are a tick’s preferred host. As wild animals travel across our yards, ticks will drop off the host. Ticks are continuously being introduced into yards by wild animals.
Where will I find mosquitoes and ticks?
Both ticks and mosquitoes are most active in Pennsylvania during the spring, summer, and early fall when our weather is warm and humid.
Ticks spend most of their life on the body of their hosts. However, when not on the back of a host, ticks live in various damp, shaded environments. You or your pets can come into contact with ticks while walking through or spending time in wooded areas, fields, athletic fields, dog parks, and your yard.
Properties located near ponds, lakes, drainage ditches, marshes, and other areas of standing water often see large populations of mosquitoes. Any property with standing water on it can become a haven for mosquitoes. In our yards, the following things collect the standing water that attracts mosquitoes:
Containers like flower pots, buckets, and wheelbarrows
The tops of tarps or trashcan lids
How do I get rid of mosquitoes and ticks?
Mosquitoes and ticks are outdoor pests that can find a way into our yards in multiple ways, establishing large populations. The best way to control their numbers and protect yourself and your family from their dangers is to partner with a professional.
At Masters Touch Pest Solutions, we will provide you with effective and seasonal pest control services necessary to reduce the number of mosquitoes and ticks living and breeding in your yard. Give us a call today to learn more about our tailored mosquito and tick control options in West Chester, PA!
How can I prevent mosquitoes and ticks in the future?
Store containers that can collect water upside down when not in use.
Fix low-lying areas in your lawn or driveway that allow rainwater to puddle.
Maintain gutters and downspouts to prevent water from pooling in and around them.
Regularly empty and re-fill wading pools.
Keep grass cut short and maintain shrubs and bushes.
If you have wooded areas surrounding your property, cut them back from your yard.
Place tight-fitting lids on trash cans and compost bins to keep rodents and other wild animals out of them.
Place pets on a year-round tick control program and heartworm preventative under the guidance of their veterinarian.