Mosquitoes – The Bane of Our Existence

SkeeterDon’t you just love it when you want to spend some quality time outdoors and some nasty little mosquito thinks you invited him to join you? This problem is not unique to the Village. However, some of the things that attract residents to the Village also attract mosquitoes; they need water to complete their life cycle.

Several solutions have been, and will continue to be employed to control mosquitoes in the Village. They include the following:

  • Mosquito dunks or donuts in the ponds to kill larvae.
  • Electric bug catcher hooked to a tree about 50 feet from the pavilion.
  • Propane Rhino SkeeterVac mosquito traps, typically put out in July and checked monthly. These are subject to fire restrictions as they are operated using propane tanks.

A suggestion was made on this site to consider adding mosquito fish to the ponds. However, in researching the benefits of doing this, it appears they are quite controversial. They are actually banned in at least one State. These fish do not feed only on mosquitoes. In fact, they will die if they don’t get a variety of small insects and insect larvae as well as zooplankton. Plankton are actually beneficial for the ponds.  Mosquito fish are less effective at mosquito control than native species, which they tend to wipe out because they compete for the same resources. To introduce Mosquito fish in our ponds, permission would be required from Arizona Game and Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as putting them in uncontained ponds means they would end up in the ecosystem downstream. This is how the disastrous introduction of the zebra mussel into Arizona took place.

Even discounting the concerns about the effects of insecticides on humans and the environment, the case for spraying is not convincing. Spraying/fogging is estimated to kill about 10% of adult mosquitoes, is dependent on the time of day and wind direction in relation to mosquito location and is most effective on mosquitoes in flight. It also indiscriminately influences the surrounding food chain, which means that mosquito predators can be negatively impacted as well. The bad news is that new larvae hatch continually. The good news is the lifespan of an adult mosquito is short.

To the best of our knowledge, the City of Show Low, Navajo County and neighboring counties do not spray for mosquitoes or take other active steps, outside of advising residents to control this pest. Mosquitoes do not stop at the boundary of the Village. Property owners are encouraged to cut weeds, take care of standing water, including excess water in flower pots, make sure window and door screens fit properly, spray themselves with insect repellent and/or stay indoors. Citronella candles may also prove effective for repelling mosquitoes when outdoors, fire restrictions permitting. In addition, a 2003 Michigan State University study found that a fan blowing air can mess up mosquitoes’ very weak flying ability. It also helps blow away the carbon dioxide that mammals exude, which attracts mosquitoes to us.

There is no known way to completely eliminate these nasty little critters from the Village. We will continue to do what we are able to help control them. If you have found something that keeps them from your little slice of paradise, please share here so your neighbors can try it.