Mosquitoes are annoying to most people because of the itchy bites they cause. However, they are also very important as carriers of diseases. Believe it or not there are 59 species of mosquitoes in Maryland occupying many different habitats from the salt marshes to the mountains. They are 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch long, gray to dark, some marked with white, silver, green or iridescent blue scales. They have 2 wings and a long beak or proboscis. Females feed on blood and nectar, while males only feed on nectar. A blood meal by the female is necessary to produce eggs.
Mosquitoes breed in almost any aquatic situation such as ponds, marshes, woodland pools, ditches, water in tree holes, old tires or anything that will hold water. The larvae of mosquitoes are aquatic and feed on small aquatic organisms and or organic debris.
Biting activity of mosquitoes varies with the species. Asian tiger mosquitoes feed during the day and close to the ground. They prefer to feed around the ankles and knees, but will bite any exposed skin. Most Asian tiger mosquito adults are found within a few hundred yards of their breeding container.
To keep mosquitoes out of a home, make sure screens are tight and in good repair. Empty any containers or objects in your yard that hold water regularly. Water in bird baths should be replaced daily if possible. Many people use corrugated drain pipe attached to downspouts to help move water away from their homes. The corrugations hold water and are a prime place for tiger mosquitoes to breed. To avoid the problem, use a smooth drain pipe or securely attach the corrugated drain pipe to the downspout and cover the open end with a piece of pantyhose secured with a rubber band. This will keep adult females out of the drain pipe. There are many options for controlling mosquitoes in ponds and marshes. These include the use of predatory fish and biological insecticides.
To learn more about other common household pests, visit the Home and Garden Information Center's website