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PoP PSA: Screw the Heat, Mosquitos are Coming!

by Prince Of Petworth June 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm 36 Comments

Every year I warn folks new to the city to get ready – our mosquitos are brutal. So I was delighted to see a message from the owner of Pfeiffer’s Hardware, in Mt. Pleasant, on steps that can be taken to lessen the damage:

Three steps to a holding on to your red blood cells this summer:

1. Prevent Mosquito Breeding

The Asian Tiger Mosquito can breed in as little as a capful of water. So, take some time now to rid your yard, your neighbor’s yard, and your neighbor’s neighbor’s yard of anything that collects water after a rain. ESPECIALLY, fix gutters that don’t drain properly. Seriously, talk to and work with your neighbors – the range of the tiger mosquito from their breeding ground is at least a 100 yards.

2. Get the Larvae before they get to Biting Age

Then, for anything you can’t remove or fix, treat with Mosquito Dunks or Mosquito Bits, the safe and effective way to prevent tiny larvae from reaching biting adulthood. The active ingredient is a bacteria that targets mosquitoes without targeting other wildlife, such as birds and fish. Treat fish ponds, bird baths, rain barrels, storm drains at the front and rear of your house, areas of the yard that get soggy after a rain, etc. Check out http://www.pfeiffershardware.com for details and safety reassurances.

3. Encourage our flying mammals: They eat the Adults

For all those of you who have been requesting bat houses to attract bats, THEY ARE FINALLY IN (starting Wednesday afternoon). A single bat can eat 500-1000 mosquitoes an hour, given the right conditions. Check out our homepage for more information on bats: the myths and the facts, and how to build your own bat house.

Sweet, I say we all adopt bats!!!!

  • Bats are great for mosquitoes but they are nocturnal and thus not as effective against the daytime tiger mosquitoes. What we really need are barn swallows and dragonflies (and bats)~

  • Reesy

    Speaking of bats, I have a new interest in my life, Ms. Costello, what a cool chick, not only do we need more bats, we need more bat biologists!


  • Happy Trapper
  • Anonymous

    The skeeters have already invaded Petworth. I got all kinds of bitten up on Saturday hoeing my garden.

  • Ragged Dog

    I guess we can all submit our homegrown mosquito traps.

    My pops uses a fine mesh bag taped to a window box fan The problem is that it’s only effective within 4-5 feet of the fan and only at the level the fan is at i.e. if you put the fan at head level, your ankles get it and vice versa.

  • Cait B

    A bat house seems like a neat idea, but does it involve periodically mucking bat poo out of the thing?

    And are wasps an issue? It sounds like a bat house might be their cup of tea in terms of convenient nesting spots.

    • Bat guano is a high priced commodity used as a fertilizer in industrial farming. There is currently a world-wide shortage, unless….

      • Darth Fabulous

        Wasps are really only an issue in Georgetown.

        • Ragged Dog


          • Ragged Dog

            Oh, I get it.

          • Anonymous

            darth either doesn’t know Georgetown, or doesn’t know what a WASP is.

        • TaylorStreetMan

          nice! :-)
          where are the JAPs at?

          • Darth Fabulous

            Cleveland Park

          • Anonymous

            There really isn’t a significant Japanese population in the D.C. area, for whatever reason. Never has been.

        • Anonymous


  • I want a bat house!!

  • jeanne

    I’m totally getting a bat house!

    Til then, I’ll share with you my recipe for mosquito repellent, which I’ve been slathering myself in constantly since I made it on Saturday, and it seems to be working very well.

    You’ll need:
    A spray bottle
    A bottle of vodka
    Olive oil
    Bottles of the following essential oils: rosemary, citronella, lemon eucalyptus

    Fill a little over 1/2 of your spray bottle with vodka
    Fill a little over 1/4 of the rest of the spray bottle with olive oil
    Fill the rest of your bottle with an equal amount of each essential oil (if you’re using a 12 oz. bottle, it’ll probably turn out to be about 25 drops of each oil)

    The oils and the vodka will separate, so shake well before serving. Spray it all over yourself and rub it into your skin. The skeeters will hate you (and so might some of your friends; I personally feel that the smell beats the odor of DEET any day).

  • Local Girl

    A great way to keep mosquitoes at bay is an enormous fan. Not like a box fan, I’m talking giant shop fan like something you’d find in an auto body shop.
    Outdoor fires help if you don’t mind smelling like jerky.

  • MWB

    My friend recently found a bat in her apartment. Animal control tested it and it was positive for rabies. Luckily no one was bitten, but her health insurance has made her go to the ER 4 times for different screenings, etc.

    In other words, lets not love bats too much. I’d rather be bitten by 100 mosquitoes than a rabid bat.

    • Ragged Dog

      You say that until you get dengue*. Then you wish you had the rabies.

      *One of my friends got dengue in south america and told me about it. Sounded hellish.

      • anon

        i had a friend get it in nicaragua as well. but it sounds like it’s extremely rare in the US (~100 cases/year).


    • TaylorStreetMan

      bats tend to keep clear of people.
      mosquitos are attracted to people.

      bats won’t bite unless you mess with them.
      mosquitos live to bite you.

      bats in the house are rare.
      mosquitos in the house are almost a given at some point over the summer.

      bat houses should be placed away from people, minimizing any risk of contact.
      a mosquito’s ‘home’ is wherever you are exhaling.

      and, of course, there’s dengue.

  • TaylorStreetMan
    • Ragged Dog

      Good starter project for our friend trying to fix his front gutters.

      And you shouldn’t buy a bat house unless you’re prepared to pay for the cost of upkeep and maintenance.

      I also believe in paying our bat house trades people.

  • mh

    Bats will not help. While bats *can* eat 500-1000 mosquitoes in an hour, they will not. Mosquitoes are really tiny, and not a favorite of bats – instead, they like to eat the bigger bugs. The only research I’ve seen quoted on bats eating mosquitoes had the bats in a controlled space with ONLY mosquitoes to eat – so of course, they ate mosquitoes!

    • ts

      Getting rid of bigger bugs seems like a good thing too.

  • I heard that eating a clove of garlic will repel skeeters. I guess the odor emitted by your body will keep ’em away. Is this hokum?

    • TaylorStreetMan

      no, eating garlic may help, but you’d have to eat some much garlic that will no longer have any friends because of the smell. A single clove surely wouldn’t be enough!

  • PW Neighbor

    You’re best mosquito deterrant is to stand next to me, so says my neighbor. Unfortunately, they love me! The only thing that helps me is deet. All the homeopathic stuff never works, I end up getting eaten alive, unless I use deet!

    • C

      Ummm… if you are actually using homeopathic stuff, of course it doesn’t work. It is water. And that would also be one of the silliest applications of the bullshit medicine of homeopathy I’ve heard of.

  • andy

    RE: Bat Houses: just open the windows on abandoned houses in your neighborhood, and plenty of bats will be in your area.

    Side effects may include increased populations of other critters in your neighborhood.

  • JohnnyReb

    Bat houses are great – if they are in your area. I put up a bat house years ago (side note – since the bottom is open, no need to have to periodically clean the guano out), but none ever roosted in it. Unlike birds, it’s hard to attract bats to your area if they aren’t already there…

    • djdc

      I see them flying around the Kansas-Upshur intersection on many occasions.

  • iwill

    Austin has a large bridge which is home to over a million bats. I was there almost a week and never got bit. In DC I walk 4 blocks and get 8 bites. So even if bats don’t eat mosquitoes, they don’t get along.

    Rabies has been a problem at times in DC, but use common sense. Don’t approach a sick, unknown animal. Bats need to drop down from a height to fly, so if you see one on the ground the animal is not well.

    I’d be in favor of large bat habitats in DC. Then we’d just have to deal with heat and humidity. Plus, bats are awesome.

  • designy

    or raise/hatch some praying mantis (manti?)

  • trish

    I’ve heard that Pfeiffer’s has been sold. Does anyone know the details?


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