When the days start warming up and people begin making outdoor plans, there are questions we hear a lot: When is mosquito season? And how do we avoid mosquito problems this year?
There are many reasons to avoid mosquitos, from annoyance to protection against mosquito-spread diseases like West Nile. Our FAQ will go over everything you should know about mosquitos in Oklahoma, when they are active, and how you can deal with local mosquito problems.
When Does Mosquito Season Start in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma has organizations that track mosquitos quite accurately, in part to help control diseases. The official mosquito season usually begins in May. But Oklahoma does have more than 60 mosquito species, and some start showing up in March, although they often don't become a nuisance until later.
If you are worried about diseases infecting your pets, family, or other loved ones, this risk can vary over time. The greatest risk for catching something like the West Nile virus begins in July, according to the Oklahoma County Health Department. The last major outbreak year for West Nile was in 2012, but it remains a danger and people continue to be diagnosed.
When Does Mosquito Season End?
Mosquito season in Oklahoma winds down as winter approaches, and usually finishes sometime in November. The most dangerous timeframe for contracting mosquito-carried diseases tends to end sometime in October as numbers start falling, but mosquitos can still be dangerous after that.
Do Mosquito Seasons Ever Change?
The exact months aren't written in stone. If spring warms quickly, more mosquitos will start showing up sooner. Especially hot summers aren't friendly for mosquitos, so high temperatures and dry conditions can also cause falling numbers in July and August. Mosquito season tends to end when the first frosts appear and temperatures drop below freezing, so if it's an early winter then the season can be cut short.
This means mosquitos can be worse some years than others, which we saw in 2019 when a mild winter encouraged mosquito populations.
Where Do Mosquitoes Go in Winter?
Once temperatures hit about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, cold-blooded mosquitos become slow and weak, a sign their time is nearly up. After that, it depends on the species of mosquito and how winter-hardy they are. There are three main possibilities:
Mosquitos simply die out. Their vulnerable eggs can't survive freezing temperatures and don't survive through the winter. These species aren't common in Oklahoma because they just can't last very long.
Mosquitos create eggs that can survive freezing temperatures and plant them in standing water. The mosquitos themselves die out, but their eggs and larvae stay safe, and when water melts in the spring they start to hatch.
Some mosquito species are more durable, and the adult females can hibernate through the winter and survive to wake again in spring. This can be annoying because they are immediately ready to feed and may show up early, before spring even starts.
Are There Mosquito Lawn Treatments That Can Help?
While DIY options can help ward off mosquitos, they may not be enough for large infestations and aren't as useful if you have a backyard spot or similar location where new mosquitos keep breeding.
One common approach for an ongoing mosquito problem is lawn spray that is applied to the grass or plants around a home, especially in areas with heavy moisture or lawns close to water. This spray kills mosquitos before they can grow and start feeding. Sprays can also set a perimeter around the property that's toxic to mosquitos and makes it difficult for them to pass.
These lawn treatments are effective in the beginning but slowly fade away, which means they need to be regularly re-applied through mosquito season to make a difference.
If you are planning some outdoor fun during mosquito season, it's important to be prepared for adventures beyond your property line. The State Department of Health recommends repellents with ingredients like DEET, picaridin, and PMD (lemon eucalyptus extract). It's also a good idea to plan on long sleeves and pants in areas where you suspect mosquitos may be a problem. If you do have standing water (ponds, areas where puddles linger after a rain, barrels or cisterns, etc.), then you should consider sealed covers or installing proper drainage so mosquitos can't breed there.
Where Can I Find Mosquito Spraying Near Me?
You can always Google "Mosquito control near me," to get a list of available services that could work for you. But since you're already here, why not make things easy and contact EMCO about our mosquito control plan. We can arrange for our experienced technicians to visit your property every month from March to November and apply lawn treatment sprays, so mosquitos never grow to become a problem!