Mosquitoes are an unfortunate fixture of southern summers. Wherever you turn, the buzzing, biting blood-suckers seem to be there, ready to annoy and ruin otherwise pleasant afternoons. 

And if you listen, there seem to be just as many folk remedies, DIY solutions and old wives tales about dealing with them as there are mosquitos. With so much information out there, it’s not hard for myths to get mixed in with the truth.  

So, when it comes to backyard mosquito control, what’s a fact and what’s a myth? Keep reading to find out. 

The Best Mosquito Control Resources

To keep your family safe and enjoying the warm summer days, it’s important to know what’s what with respect to mosquitoes and mosquito control. 

Terminix has you covered — check out our blog for insights on neighborhood and backyard mosquito control, tips on avoiding mosquitoes this summer, and everything you need to know about mosquito-borne illnesses.

But just as important as learning the facts is knowing the lies—mosquitoes are bad enough without any extra exaggerations. So to help you swat away some of the fake news about mosquitoes making a buzz, here’s seven mosquito myths that just aren’t true. 

Common Mosquito Myths (That Aren’t True)

Mosquitoes get a bad rap: Blood-thirsty, itchy, and potentially deadly. But not everything you hear about these summertime scoundrels is 100% accurate. Let’s take a look at some of these common mosquito myths and misconceptions.

Municipal mosquito control is enough.

These days, many local governments, neighborhoods and HOAs provide forms of wide-area mosquito control—usually in the form of target mosquito spraying—as a matter of public health and quality of life. These efforts are just part of an effective mosquito control strategy, though.

Even when municipal mosquito programs are at their most effective, individual backyard mosquito control is still super important. Without individual mosquito control, your backyard could even become a sort of mosquito haven.  

Just like municipal mosquito control, backyard mosquito protection—like the Mosquito Management service offered by Terminix—is a crucial part of comprehensive, full-spectrum mosquito protection.

Mosquitoes are attracted to sweet-blooded people.

A person who seems to be a mosquito magnet, attracting more than their fair share of attention from skeeters, is sometimes said to be sweet blooded. According to the myth, mosquitoes are drawn to sweetness, making them more likely to bite people with high blood-sugar. Some folk claims even point to this as an early indicator of diabetes.

In reality, mosquitoes don’t select their targets based on the taste—they are drawn to other things, like perspiration, CO2. and body heat. Some research, however, does suggest a correlation between blood type and mosquito preference. At least one paper suggests people with type-O blood make more likely targets for mosquitos.

Plants can keep mosquitoes away just as well as other pest control options.

This is only half right. It’s true that certain plants are known to repel mosquitoes. Lavender, peppermint, garlic, and marigold, for instance, have all been shown to produce aromas that mosquitoes avoid. Citronella grass is another common anti-mosquito plant, and it is used to make the oil that fuels citronella candles (hence the name).

But while it’s true that certain plants are naturally repellent to mosquitoes, the coverage those plants provide is limited.  The effects are most potent around these plants, quickly diminishing the further away you are. Unless you’re sitting in a field of peppermint or wearing a potted marigold as a necklace, you’re unlikely to see any significant protection.

Mosquitoes are only dangerous to humans.

This claim is completely false. Mosquito bites are not just a threat to human populations: many other animals are vulnerable to mosquito-borne diseases as well, including pets. Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and horses are all known to be a risk from mosquito bites.

Commonly, mosquitos are responsible for the transmission of canine heartworm disease, Eastern equine encephalitis and mosquito bite hypersensitivity. 

Mosquito-borne diseases aren’t a concern in the US.

This is a total myth! With certain species of mosquito, there is always a risk of mosquito-borne illness (and yes, these species include the ones that call the Southeast home). Skeeters aren’t known to discriminate when it comes to getting people sick.

West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, Zika and dengue fever are just a few notable examples of potentially life-threatening illnesses caused by the viruses, parasites, and bacteria mosquitoes carry..

Still, Mosquito-borne illness is a significantly greater threat — both in terms of infections and mortality — in other parts of the world, particularly the global south.  Out of the hundreds of millions of people affected by mosquito-borne illnesses each year, US cases number only in the thousands.. So while it is true that rates of infection, sickness and death resulting from mosquito bites are relatively lower in the United States, it is wrong to say mosquito-borne illness isn’t a concern.

Bats eat 1,000 mosquitoes an hour. They’re a natural form of mosquito control.

This is another one that’s at least partially true. Mosquitoes are a part of a bats diet, for sure. But while it is true that bats eat mosquitoes, this myth greatly exaggerates the numbers eaten and the effect that has on local mosquito populations.

The figures quoted here seem to originate from a study conducted in the 1960s, where a subject was estimated to have eaten 9.5 mosquitoes a minute during a 15-minute window. The power of exaggeration eventually  brought this figure up to 10 a minute and 600 an hour before settling on 1,000.

It should be noted, this prodigious rate of mosquito eating was only seen in one individual—and those statistics are a significant outlier from the rest of the study. As far as we know, the data here could simply reflect the work of the greatest mosquito catching bat of all time. It’s probably unfair to use this one bat as a barometer—that would be like saying humans can average 25 MPH after studying Usain Bolt.

You are what you eat: Your diet can attract mosquitoes.

Another common misconception we’ve been hearing recently suggests there’s some connection between what a person eats and how attractive they are to mosquitoes. 

You’re more likely to get bitten when you eat certain foods like bananas, this mosquito myth says. The same is said about drinking beer and eating avocados—as if Avocado Toast hasn’t gotten enough bad press already.

So, what’s the verdict on eating bananas and mosquitoes? Myth!

Backyard Mosquito Control Facts (That Are True)

Now that we’ve put all those myths to bed, let’s turn to some honest-to-goodness mosquito facts.

  1. Mosquitoes breed and lay their eggs in water—even a small amount, like rainwater pooled in an old tire, can turn into a mosquito nursery.
  2. Mosquitoes lay eggs in clutches of one to two hundred, and can remain viable for several months in dry conditions.
  3. Only female mosquitoes drink blood.
  4. Mosquito comes from the Spanish word mosca, meaning “fly.” Mosquitoes translates to ‘little flies’
  5. The best mosquito control combines professional treatments with proactive DIY strategies. Keeping your grass trimmed and free of standing water is just as important as mosquito spraying.
  6. You can take the first step to a buzz-free summer when you call your local Terminix branch and schedule a free inspection!

Trust Terminix for Backyard Mosquito Control

No one wants to spend the summer swatting mosquitoes and worrying about bug bites. That’s why Terminix offers dedicated mosquito control services during peak season, making it easier to enjoy your yard without bites.

Looking for the best mosquito control in the Southeast? Trust Terminix. Terminix has been helping keep families safe and yards pest-free for over 75 years now. Our local, expertly trained technicians have the knowledge and experience to get the job done right. Plus, our services are backed by the strongest guarantee in the industry: if the pest comes back, so do we.
Take back your summer. Call your local Terminix office and request your free inspection today.

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