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What’s “Bugging” You: Mosquitoes, Yellowjackets?

“Hot Fun In the Summertime”, can’t you hear the song “buzzing in your head”?  Or is that “buzzing” another sound of Summer?

Bugs are a reality that we all have to deal with but Summer seems to bring out two of the most annoying insects, at least to me…mosquitoes and yellow jackets.

Flickr/DGriebeling

Yellowjackets

Backyard barbecues can bring uninvited guests, yellowjackets.

Don’t swat at or kill yellowjackets. Doing so makes them release a pheromone that signals to all the other yellowjackets that there is trouble. Soon, their comrades will arrive to help and you’ll have even more yellowjackets. Yellowjackets are beneficial, pollinating plants, and eating pest insects.

Some people report great success catering to yellowjackets. Make a plate of food and place it at the end of your yard before your barbecue begins. Be sure to include that can of pop since, this time of year, they are searching for meats or sugars. The yellowjackets are usually satisfied with their find and feast without bothering you and the rest of your guests.

Flickr/Zac Declerck

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes flourish when temperatures increase because they can complete their transformation from egg to adult in just five days. The West Nile virus also requires warm temperatures to grow, together a hazardous combination.

Mosquitoes need about two tablespoons of water to lay their eggs, and they lay hundreds at one time. Mosquito eggs are often stuck together in something called an egg raft. That egg raft is about the size of a small grain of rice, but it can hold up to four hundred eggs.

This is the time of the year when the risk of mosquito-borne illness is greatest, it is critical for residents to inspect their own properties for all sources of water that can produce mosquitoes. Those sources can include buckets, cans, tools, toys, overturned garbage can lids, bicycle tires, flower pot saucers, and pet bowls. Each of these items can hold water, often from sprinklers, and provide mosquitoes numerous places to lay eggs that will develop into adults with the ability to transmit disease very quickly.

Defend yourself by using repellents containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and keep in mind that mosquitoes are present, typically at Dawn and Dusk.

(from Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control)

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