Information on Mosquitoes

Pond Owners Beware of Mosquitoes

Aug 15, 2013 – We know its time to alert and educate pond owners of the potential dangers of mosquitoes when we see mosquito activity being published on most North American weather forecasts. Who would ever imagine that we would start checking mosquito activity as we habitually have done for many years with hot cold temperatures.

Pond owners are usually people that enjoy the outdoors, especially during the warm summer days and evenings, activities such as fishing, swimming, BBQ’s are great fun for us all. Unfortunately, there is another party that loves summer too, the mosquito. Mosquitoes are not only one of our worst pests, they give us itchy welts when bitten and can carry various diseases that cause us to worry about the health of our family members and friends.

There are over 2000 different species of mosquitoes in the world and 1/10th of those kinds can be found living in North America. They primarily live in damper more humid areas of the continent.

Mosquitoes go through three life stages before most of us realize they’re around.

First, adult females lay eggs on the surface of shallow water (this is where pond owners will have a problem if they do not keep their ponds healthy, clean and well circulated) or on damp soil. Depending on the species, some eggs will hatch within 2 days while others will survive a whole winter.

When the environment is suitable, mosquito larvae emerge from their eggs. The larvae survive by eating microorganisms in the water and breathing oxygen from the surface (here again is where pond owners can eliminate the chance of mosquitoes surviving on their ponds by keeping their pond water healthy and clean, it eliminates any food source for the larvae). This stage of development typically lasts a week or two.

Mosquitoes then become pupae. This stage of development lasts from 24 to 98 hours and is similar to the transformation that caterpillars go through when the become butterflies.

Finally, the mosquito rests on the surface of the water four about 24 – 48 hours before flying off to reproduce and bite people and animals. At this point they live for about 1 month.
Keep your pond healthy and clean by providing it with adequate levels of pond aeration and stock it with plenty of fish. Fish enjoy eating mosquitoes that are resting on the pond’s surface. You need to make sure that the water is clear so that the fish can see the surface and again this can be achieved by aerating your pond.

Aside from bugging us Mosquitoes also carry various mosquito-transmitted diseases:

West Nile Virus

The most publicized disease in our region of the world is West Nile virus. Medical Scientists suggest that West Nile Virus is now an established seasonal epidemic on the North America continent. West Nile Virus can cause inflammation of the brain and be fatal however this is quite slim and according to the Canadian Disease Center about 150 people per/yr will develop severe illness.

Malaria

Malaria is a more common illness for humans that is transmitted by mosquitoes. It causes up to half a billion infections per/yr and close to a million deaths.

Malaria can produce a wide range of symptoms; Fever, Body aches, High Temperature, Coma, and even death. The areas of the world that are primarily affected by this disease are;

  • Central and South America
  • Hispaniola
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Eastern Europe
  • South Pacific

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is contracted in the tropics by a variety of human feeding, day time biting mosquito. Illnesses such as sickness to rare blood disease can be contracted from this pest.

Yellow Fever

This illness is prominent in South America and Africa and is transmitted from human to human via the mosquito. Yellow fever has a vaccination.

There are a number of things pond owners can do to ensure they do not get bitten by mosquitoes.

  • Limit the possibility of having pond water conducive to mosquito breeding by keeping your pond healthy and clean.
  • Properly aerate and circulate your pond water.
  • Apply mosquito repellent but ensure that if you are putting it on children that you have child safe repellent.
  • Stock your pond with insect eating predators such as koi fish, or less decorative bass.
  • Wear long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors.
  • Stay indoors during peak mosquito biting times such as dawn, dusk.