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Expert advice on how to avoid the most annoying insects-- mosquitos and ticks

Donna Teasley, Consumer Horticulture Agent at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Burke County, provides her expertise on mosquitos and ticks.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's the backside to the blessing of the spring season-- the increase in insects! Mosquitos and ticks rank among the most annoying insects of the Spring. Donna Teasley, Consumer Horticulture Agent at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Burke County, says whenever your days are consistently warm and nights are above freezing, you are more likely to see more of these insects. She said mosquitos and ticks don't thrive under the same conditions. Teasley said ticks like hot, dry weather with more homeowners reporting ticks on animals. Ticks are found nearly everywhere and that's due to them being anywhere that there are warm-blooded animals. Unfortunately, Teasley said you will never get rid of these pests altogether, especially if you have a pet that travels outside like a dog or a cat. Ticks are more abundant in tall grass and low shrub so keeping your weeds at a minimum is the best way to reduce your likelihood of seeing these insects.

Keeping mosquitos away may require more work. According to Teasley, mosquitoes function best at 80° F, they become lethargic at 60° F and cannot function below 55°  F. She said mosquitos need more standing water, so, in areas with marshes, swamps, and lakes, you are more likely to see more mosquitos. Teasley added water is a must for mosquitos. She said a female mosquito needs only a teaspoon of water to lay 100 eggs. They generally lay about 100 mosquitos at a time. The coast may be more prone to mosquitos with the abundant swamp and marshland, as well as, heavily wooded areas where trees can hold more water. So, the keys to finding mosquitos are heavily wooded areas and standing water.

Three tips for avoiding mosquitos, according to Teasley:

1. Don't wear perfumes or scented lotion, because mosquitos like them.

2. Use repellent, when you plan to be outside.

3. Try to do activities during the middle of the day. Mosquitos are most active in the morning and after dusk. Teasley said the sunshine of the midday dehydrates the mosquitos.


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