Natural Mosquito Control - What is it
Every summer millions of people prepare themselves the best way they know how to try to reduce the number of mosquito bites they will suffer over the summer. Some will purchase obscene amounts of insect repellent, while others will transform their backyards into a citronella battlefield. Not only do mosquitoes leave us with irritatingly itchy, swollen bumps on our skin, but they are also the main carriers of the West Nile Virus, the dreaded malaria that is prevalent in many tropical countries, and other illnesses.
The age-old question remains. “What is the most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes?” Let us start by focusing on reducing the mosquito’s growing population. How do we do that? Natural mosquito control is a good start.
Open Marsh Water Management
One method of natural mosquito control being implemented by the government’s environmental department is the Open Marsh Water Management (OMWM). This is a project that creates a stable habitat for the mosquito’s natural enemies. It also makes efforts to reduce potential flooding in non-wet land areas, thus reducing the mosquito population in rural areas. No pesticides or other chemicals are used; OMWM relies solely on natural ecological balance. The abstinence of chemicals is growing increasingly important due to the environmental concerns that the world faces today.
Restoration of Wetlands and the Watershed
Another method of natural mosquito control is the restoration of wetlands and the watershed. Between the 1780’s and 1980’s, almost 54% of all wetlands in the United States were converted to cropland. Some individual states used up as much as 90% during that time, a tragic loss of natural habitat for many species. Thanks to increasing education concerning their importance, new policies have been adapted for the creation and restoration of wetlands. Wetlands are a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. Not only do they help improve water quality and decrease flood damage, but they also attract mosquitoes away from rural areas to a more natural environment, one that is inhabited by their natural enemies.
Also being given more attention is the restoration of watersheds, earth’s natural drainage system for streams, rivers, lakes, etc. Like wetlands, watersheds not only reduce the risk of land flooding and poor quality of water, but they also decrease the mosquito population in both rural and city areas.
What can you do?
While these natural mosquito control methods are long-term, large scale projects, and certainly more complicated that the mere use of citronella candles and bug spray, you can do your part by becoming involved in the efforts of your local environmental committee. Search online to find out how you can participate in, or donate to this valid and beneficial cause.
Written by Karen Foster: Karen Foster is the content manager and editor for Tiny Mosquito: Understanding the Mosquito. For more information about mosquitoes, visit her site at www.tinymosquito.com.