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Skaggs: Watch out for skeeters with stripes
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What's your mosquito IQ?

Quite a bit of false information exists regarding mosquitoes. Test your mosquito IQ by answering the following true or false questions.

1. Mosquitoes are worse now than they were 30 years ago.

2. Some people never get bitten by mosquitoes, having a natural immunity to them.

3. The life span of a mosquito is only a few days.

4. Mosquito eggs can live for 20 years.

Answers

With summer just around the corner, nuisance populations of Asian tiger mosquitoes are soon to follow. One of Georgia's most common mosquito pests, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), thrives as temperatures rise.

Asian tiger mosquitoes were introduced into this country in Houston in the mid-1980s. Since then, they've spread through much of the eastern United States. They're not yet thought to be major disease carriers, but they are aggressive daytime biters, so considerable efforts are spent trying to reduce their larval habitats.

These mosquitoes are black and white, with a characteristic median, white stripe on the thorax, lateral stripes on the abdomen and striped legs. These markings and their aggressive daytime biting make them fairly easy to identify.

They prefer to breed in any kind of container that will hold water. The container breeding and daytime activities make them hard to control through conventional practices such as large-scale treating with larvicides and insecticides.

The best way to prevent nuisance populations is simply to eliminate all forms of standing water around our homes and neighborhoods. Target buckets, pet dishes, tarps, toys, used tires and any debris that will hold water.

And don't just check once. Getting rid of standing water around our homes and neighborhoods should be a way of life, not a one-time or even a once-a-month routine.

Asian tiger mosquitoes aren't strong fliers. They often don't move more than 100 yards from where they hatch. So, if you have a lot of them around your home, you won't have to look far to find their larval habitat.

Billy Skaggs is an agricultural agent and Hall County extension coordinator. Phone: 770-531-6988. Fax: 770-531-3994.

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