Mosquitoes in Residential Areas in Maryland
In general, most complaints of mosquitoes in residential areas in Maryland are because of tiger mosquitoes. The tiger mosquito is often the principal mosquito pest mainly because it is an aggressive human biter and develops in small water-holding containers commonly found in backyards. This isn't to say that, in some locations, there might be other species of problematic mosquitoes developing in nearby ground pools that are either natural (e.g., flooded woodlands, wetlands, etc.) or artificial (e.g., stormwater basins). The best way of knowing is to sample and identify mosquitoes in places where people are getting bitten, such as in their backyard and nearby bodies, such as stormwater ponds. Knowing if the tiger mosquito is present is usually easy because it's attracted to humans, will land on people, and is easily distinguished by its tiny black and white bodies.
Source: Paul T. Leisnham
Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies,
University of Maryland, Department of Environmental Science and Technology (ENST)
The Asian tiger mosquito
These webpages contain the results of operational research. You will have access to scientific publications, unpublished data, contact information and multiple tools developed during the project.
What is it?
An Asian mosquito with temperate and tropical forms. Worldwide invasive.
Where is it?
Backyards. The immatures grow in small containers, the adults hang on vegetation.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Trouble: Urban Sources of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Refractory to Source-Reduction
Is it dangerous?
The adult females are aggressive human biters and can transmit viral diseases.
Isolations of Cache Valley Virus From Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in New Jersey and Evaluation of Its Role as a Regional Arbovirus Vector
This day-biting mosquito is not attracted to light. Find out ways to trap them.
Homeowners need to be involved in mosquito control. Teach by example.
Target hot-spots. Start early with larvicides. Adulticides work in a pinch.
Source: New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station, Rutgers University, 2017
What You Need to Know About Mosquitos in Maryland
Do mosquitos play a beneficial role in the environment?
Believe it or not, they do. They are an important food source for many predators including dragonflies, fish, birds, and frogs. There are almost 200 species of mosquitos found in North America and 59 of these live in Maryland. Yet only three species pose a real concern because of the diseases they can spread.
1) This is the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Note its black and white striped body. It is active during the DAY! It can transmit yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and encephalitis. All they need is a bottle cap full of water that remains stagnant for up to a week to complete their life cycle.
2) This is the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Note its horizontal posture. It is also active during the DAY! It can transmit yellow fever, Zika, dengue, and chikungunya. It also needs only a little bit of water to complete its life cycle. It is another container breeder.
3) This is the common house mosquito (Culex pipiens). Note it is brown rather than black like the other two mosquitos. It is active at NIGHT! It can transmit West Nile virus and encephalitis. It prefers permanent pools of stagnant water to complete its life cycle.
Other important mosquito facts:
• Only female mosquitos bite.
• Mosquitos hibernate over the winter. Once the temperatures rise above 60°F, they wake up and come out.
• Mosquitos can be active between April and October.
• The Asian tiger mosquito has a range of only about 300 feet. However, some mosquitoes can travel up to three miles.
• Mosquitos find you by sensing movement, infra-red radiation emanating from warm bodies, and carbon dioxide and sweat.
• Females need blood to help their eggs develop. They can lay up to 300 eggs.
Easy Things You Can Do to Control Mosquitos in Your Yard
Remember all it takes is a bottle cap filled with water so you need to find places where water can hide. Here are some suggestions for where to look and what to do:
• Empty anything that might collect water including children's and pets' toys, wading pools, used tires, buckets, bicycles, wheelbarrows, canoes, boats, garbage can lids, recycling containers, trash, other kinds of containers, etc.
• Folds in tarps and plastic sheeting can hold water. Try to get them as flat as you can and be sure to remove any standing water at least once a week.
• Empty and clean birdbaths and trays under potted plants once a week.
• Since mosquitos hate moving water, use a fountain or aerator in birdbaths and ornamental ponds.
• Maintain all water spigots and window air conditioners. That nasty drip which creates a puddle also provides a place where mosquitos can breed.
• Make sure your gutters and down spouts are clean and there is no standing water. One key place mosquitos like to breed are those corrugated gutter drains. Cover with nylon stockings or use smooth PVC pipes.
• Remove pet dishes if not being actively used.
What Not to Do to Control Mosquitos
• Do not use bug "zappers." These kill beneficial insects including bees and other pollinators.
• Do not use mosquito traps. These only attract more mosquitos.
• No plants have been scientifically proven to control mosquitos.
• Biorational larvicide such as Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Torpedoes are safe to use, but only after you have tried everything else mentioned above.
• Most importantly, DO NOT USE INSECTICIDES unless you have tried all other options, and you still have a problem. Then, only use them sparingly.
Neighbors help neighbors control urban mosquitoes
The worldwide spread of invasive Aedes mosquitoes and arboviral disease, have renewed the pressure for effective and sustainable urban mosquito control. We report on the success of a model we are confident will usher in a new era of urban mosquito control. The key innovation is the mobilization of neighbors guided by scientific advisors, an approach we termed Citizen Action through Science (Citizen AcTS). This approach was tested in a NE US town of approximately 1,000 residential yards infested with the invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, a major nuisance arboviral vector. We report a highly significant reduction in biting pressure that was maintained over time, and establish the thresholds needed for success. The Citizen AcTS model rejects the top-down approach consistently associated with intervention failures. Instead, it works through respectful exchanges among scientists and residents that lead to trust and individual ‘buy-in’ and transferring program ownership to the community.
Source: Scientific Reports (Sci Rep)
Neighbors Help Neighbors Control Mosquitoes
Vector-borne Diseases Session
Moderators: Paul Leisnham, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Technology & Sean Riley, Assistant Professor, Veterinary Medicine
1. Dr. Dina M. Fonseca, Ph.D. Professor and Director of Center for Vector Biology, Rutgers University - "Neighbors help neighbors control yard mosquitoes"
2. Dr. Jennifer M. Mullinax, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences & Technology, University of Maryland - "Mitigating the Wildlife and Human Risk of Contact with Ticks in Suburban Maryland"
3. Dr. Joseph Gillespie, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine-Baltimore - "Underappreciated Mutualism in Vector Biology: Lessons from the Deer tick and Cat flea"
The Mosquito Control Section provides a direct service to approximately 2,100 communities in 16 Maryland counties. The primary goal of this program is to prevent the occurrence of mosquito-borne disease in humans, pets and livestock.
Mosquito control is an economic necessity in some parts of Maryland dependent on outdoor tourism during the summer. The program relies on surveys and monitoring of the larval and adult mosquito populations to coordinate control activities. Control techniques include breeding source reduction, public education, biological control and insecticide applications from aircraft or ground equipment.