According to University of Arizona (UA) researchers, mosquitoes can breed in a pool of water as small as a paper cup. In order to avoid an infestation of mosquitoes or other insects on and around your property this summer, make sure not to over-water your lawn.
“The mosquito operates at the paper cup level,” said Paul Robbins, who is heading up the UA study, which is focused on West Nile virus and Dengue fever.
“How can we predict where the paper cups are going to be? Where is that micro-habitat that the bug favors or doesn’t favor distributed in a complex place like a city that has culverts, drains, parks, and people who are watering their lawns, like in Phoenix,” asked Robbins?
We may not be able to eliminate every breeding ground for mosquitoes, but we can take action to limit the amount of standing water on our own property.
Although it’s hotter and drier during the summer – with the exception of monsoon season – than any other time of the year in Arizona, you don’t actually need to water your lawn more than usual. In fact, it promotes better root growth and drought tolerance to water well-established lawns only two to three times a week.
Now that it’s consistently above 80 degrees during the day and night, over-watering can leave those small, paper cup sized pools of water around long enough to allow mosquitoes to successfully breed.
“In southern Arizona, what you’re seeing under some scenarios of warming is an increased length of the mosquito season,” said Robbins. “Generally you worry about them in the rainy season, but we’re seeing that expand out to fall and spring, and that makes a big difference because it provides a much longer breeding season and a longer presence for bugs to transfer disease.”
In addition to limiting the number of breeding spots for mosquitoes, setting an appropriate watering schedule for your lawn will conserve water.
For more tips on lawn maintenance during the summer months, visit our Summer Health, Lawn Care maintenance page.