Not your everyday house mosquito!

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Mosquito Awareness Week, June 25 to July 1, 2017, is not so much a celebration as an opportunity to increase your mosquito IQ!

Did you know that there is a good mosquito? Meet one very large mosquito that you would be happy to find in your yard: Toxorhynchites rutilus, commonly known as the elephant mosquito. Misunderstood and maligned, the elephant mosquito doesn’t bite humans, instead both males and females feed solely on nectar from plants!

What makes this species so beneficial?  Their larvae feed on other, smaller mosquito larvae. Toxorhynchites rutilusthe mosquito with a big proboscisis one of the natural predators of mosquitoes that breed in places like tree holes.

The elephant mosquito is one of more than 50 species of mosquitoes found in the area. Fortunately, of these many species, only two are of concern due to their capacity to carry diseases such as West Nile virus and Zika virus. The others are simply a nuisance!

All mosquito species live three quarters of their life cycle in standing water, which makes draining water-holding containers in your yard so important. Have a bird bath that you want water in? Use non-toxic mosquito dunks to keep it mosquito-free while being harmless to your feathered friends.

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Treat areas that cannot be drained with mosquito dunks containing Bti, a biological larvacide. Products are available at nurseries, hardware and big box stores.

To further increase your mosquito know-how, check out the Township’s Mosquito Control webpage or call Environmental Services Department at 281-210-3800.