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Strategies to Get Rid of Mosquitos, Fleas, and Ticks

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We all look forward to summer when we can spend the long, sunny days playing outdoor sports, attending concerts at parks, or grilling out in the backyard. However, we do not look forward to dealing with three pests that can quickly ruin outdoor fun. Mosquitos, fleas, and ticks can cause a host of problems for both people and pets, including the serious concern of transmitting diseases like malaria, Zika virus, West Nile virus, heartworms, and Lyme Disease. Adding services to your business to get rid of these three pests is not only valuable to homeowners, but businesses with outdoor break areas, sports fields, recreation areas, concert venues, and wedding venues can be interested as well.

If you are interested in adding mosquito, flea, and tick management to your list of services, make sure you have the correct license for your state as well as the proper equipment, which can include a backpack sprayer plus attachments and protective gear. It’s also important to know a little about each pest and what you can do to reduce their presence this summer.

Mosquito Habits

Female mosquitos like to lay their eggs in water, and it can be in a very small amount of water. Basically, anything that holds water for a period of 7 days is a breeding site. Mosquito larvae can be found in the water left in birdbaths, toys, dog water dishes, tarps, planters, pots, gutters, even holes in a tree trunk. Mosquito activity will usually begin once the overnight temperatures stay about 50°F. They like to hang out in the dark, humid areas around the home, such as under outdoor furniture and sheds.

Cultural Practices

Make sure you remove any standing water found in items in the area and around the buildings. Also, keep a lower mowing height and trim bushes and shrubs so the mosquitos do not have a dark, humid place to hide.

Treatment

Spray the vegetation on the property and surfaces where mosquitos like to rest with bifenthrin at 1 oz. per 1 gal of water per 1000 sq. ft.

For ponds, lakes, and water features, there are several measures you can take to rid the water of mosquito larvae. You can stock the water with fish that will eat the larvae, such as goldfish, bluegills, and minnows. Another option is to introduce BTI larvicides and insect growth regulators (IGRs), but if you have fish, make sure they will still be able to survive.

Flea Habits

Fleas prefer to stay in shady, moist areas, as they like to avoid direct sunlight and open grass. These shady and moist areas include outdoor furniture, trees, and fences. They also like to hang out in places where pets are, such as doghouses.

Fleas can take 10-15 blood meals a day. Bites are common around the ankles and calves, and multiple bites in a row are common of a single flea feeding.

Cultural Practices

Make sure to mow regularly and do not let grass cuttings or leaves pile up, as they are perfect flea hiding places. Also, be sure not to overwater the turf as fleas will hang out in moist places. Not attracting wildlife to the area can also help to reduce the flea population. Lastly, spreading cedar chips around hiding spots can help to repel fleas.

Treatment

You can spray the vegetation and flea hiding spots with liquid bifenthrin at 0.5 oz. – 1.0 oz. per gal./1000 sq. ft. For a granular option, you can use Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ granule technology at 2.3 lbs./1000 sq. ft.

Tick Habits

Second to the mosquito in public health importance, ticks are blood feeders not only as adults but also during the larva and nymph stages.

Ticks love shady, moist areas and can be found near fences, retaining walls, and sheds. Deer, mice, and other rodents can also carry ticks.

Cultural Practices

It is important to mow regularly and not to let the grass clippings and leaves pile up. Also, it’s best not to place play areas like swing sets and sandboxes in the woods. Placing a buffer zone of gravel or mulch between wooded areas and the lawn will also thwart tick movement, as gravel and mulch irritate their feet. Cedar chips will also repel ticks.

Treatment

For a granular option of control, you can spread Sevin or carbaryl in the spring to get the ticks at life stages that crawl on the ground. Later in the summer, you can spread Talstar® XTRA featuring Verge™ at 2.3 lbs./1000 sq. ft. to get the adults.

For a liquid treatment for active adults on vertical foliage, you can spray bifenthrin generally at 0.5 oz. – 1.0 oz. per gal./1000 sq. ft.

If later after scouting, you find active adults present, then you can use a combo of liquid and granular control. Treat foliage around home or areas where humans will be with liquid bifenthrin at 0.5 oz. – 1.0 oz. per gal./1000 sq. ft. Use Talstar® XTRA granules to treat the turf and ornamental beds at a rate of 2.3 lbs./1000 sq. ft.

Follow these cultural and treatment practices to give your clients a mosquito, flea, and tick-FREE summer. Don’t hesitate to consult with your ATS rep if you have questions on applying insecticides.