There is no gentle way to introduce a post about mosquitoes, so the picture above will have to do.
Over the last few weeks we have had our share of rain and with the rain comes the bugs. As I walked the yard today I noticed a little container tucked away under a tree. It was full of shells collected at the beach and as I got closer I noticed some movement in the water that had accumulated. The movement was what you see in the jar above, mosquito larva.
We have "raised" mosquitoes in the past to study their life cycle. It is fascinating and informative for the kids to understand the stages they go through and just how little water it takes for the larva to live and grow.
Mosquitoes need very little water to lay their 200-300 eggs... every third night of their adult life (4 to 8 weeks.) The larva hatch out in about 24 hours and spend anywhere from 5 -18 days in the water before becoming adults. As they grow they molt, shed their skin, four times before becoming a pupa (the little curly things you see in the water above.) When the time is right they brake out of their pupal case and rest on the surface of the water while their body hardens, preparing for flight.
We are usually pretty vigilant about cleaning out standing water wherever it may accumulate... the beds of toy dump trucks forgotten behind the shed or the little wheelbarrow full of special rocks... but today reminded me that I need to talk with the kids again about turning over containers and trucks and all the other little places water likes to pool up and make perfect little homes for mosquito larva. It may seem hopeless in this very wet province, but taking care around the yard can make a difference.
Other sources of standing water you may check for in your own yard:
- Saucers under plant pots
- Trash can lids
- Bird baths (change the water a few times a week)
- Open recyle bins (water gets caught in the containers in the bin)
- Old tires
- Tire swings (drill holes in the bottom of the tire to let water drain)
- rain barrels (empty twice weekly or cover)
- Covered boats
- Children's pools
- Rain gutters (make sure they are clean and flowing)
When so many eggs can be laid in so little water every emptied drop counts.
Have you had a buggy summer? What kind of bugs "bug" your family the most?