Summer rains bring drought relief – and pesky pests
(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – With the merciful moisture of our monsoon season, comes a less-welcomed M‑word: mosquitoes. At best, they’ll annoy you when you’re outside working or grilling; at their worst, they can transmit disease to humans and animals alike.
In order to help you minimize bites and other more serious risks posed by mosquitoes, New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s (NMDA) Pesticide Compliance section offers the following reminders:
- Eliminate mosquito habitat. Since mosquitoes must live in water for several days, eliminate any water-holding containers near your home. Change out water from things like birdbaths and drip trays beneath potted plants. Keep drains, ditches, and culverts free of weeds and trash so water can drain properly. Keep grass and shrubbery around the house pruned so adult mosquitoes won’t hide there. Make sure ornamental ponds have fish that feed on mosquito larvae.
- Limit your exposure to mosquitoes. Keep them out of your home by keeping windows, doors, and porches tightly sealed and insect screens in good repair. Mosquitoes that do get inside can be eliminated using a fly swatter or insecticides labeled for indoor use. Staying indoors after dusk will lessen the chance of being bitten. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will protect you when you’re outdoors, but bites can still occur through thin clothing.
- If you opt to use insecticide, read the label before purchasing/using. The most effective repellents contain the active ingredient diethyltoluamide (DEET). Non-DEET repellants might provide some relief but usually to a lesser degree and for a shorter time. Make sure to apply repellant to outer clothing as well as on skin to protect yourself from bites.
Vector control in public places is an activity conducted at the local city or county level rather than the state level. Accordingly, questions about such vector control should be directed to your city or county government office.
If preventive measures aren’t making a big enough impact on the number of mosquitoes around your home, you might consider enlisting the services of a professional pesticide applicator. By law, commercial pesticide applicators in New Mexico must hold an active pesticide license with NMDA. For help selecting a pesticide company to hire, contact NMDA’s Pesticide Compliance section here or at 575-646-2134.
NMDA’s Pesticide Compliance section works to promote the safe use of agricultural, horticultural, and structural pesticides and to ensure compliance with pesticide law. The section certifies and licenses the people who apply pesticides for hire, ensures that pesticides distributed in New Mexico are properly registered, and investigates tips and complaints about pesticides that might have been applied improperly.
Other helpful resources to weather mosquito season: