Hopefully soon we will be able to enjoy the outdoors. When that time comes, we most likely will be sharing our outdoor space with the pesky mosquito. They unexpectedly visited me during one of the few warm days we just had!
As I have mentioned in previous articles, everything in nature has a purpose. It just so happens that mosquitoes are an excellent food source for many birds. Hummingbirds are one of the biggest consumers of mosquitoes as a source of protein.
The word “mosquito” is Spanish for “little fly.” The female mosquito has a tube-like mouth part, called a proboscis, that pierces the skin to consume blood. The amount of blood they withdraw is so small it goes unnoticed; however, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritation to the skin. Some people are more allergic than others to the mosquito’s bite.
Of greater concern is the role some species of mosquitoes play in transmitting potentially harmful diseases and infections. The state Department of Health website reports there are about 70 different species of mosquitoes that call New York home. Several of these species can transmit disease. Eastern equine encephalitis, or “triple E,” is rare but can be serious. Mosquitoes infected with triple E can infect people, horses and other mammals. When the population of infected mosquitoes becomes too large, the areas they inhabit are sprayed with an insecticide. West Nile virus, first found in New York in 1999, is also transmitted to humans and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
There are numerous places mosquitoes prefer to live and breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near water, and their offspring “grow up” in water before emerging as adults that fly and bite; so mosquitoes can be controlled by managing water. Many types of mosquitoes, including those that can transmit disease, lay their eggs even in small amounts of standing water often found around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths and even discarded tires.
Once the female mosquito lays her eggs, they only need seven to 10 days of standing water to hatch and grow into flying, biting, annoying pests. Now is a good time to check your yard for any standing sources of water. If you find any waste tires, consider bringing them to the June 22 Cayuga County Residential Tire Collection event at the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District located at 7413 County House Road, Sennett.
The event will start at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at noon. There is a $1.50 fee for each tire under 30 inches in diameter. Tires between 31 and 36 inches are $5 each. The tires accepted should be from passenger cars and pickup trucks, with or without the rims. We will be accepting clean tires from farms that have been used for holding bunk covers in place; however, we are still not able to accept tractor tires. Farms with questions about bringing significant quantities of tires should call Jason Cuddeback at the Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District at (315) 252-0793.
Volunteers will be on hand to unload the tires for you. There is a 40-tire limit per household and vehicle — no businesses, please. We ask that you bring the tires in fairly clean condition. Please take a few minutes to hose them off. This will allow our volunteers to stay clean and dry for as long as possible. In addition, it would be helpful to have the driver know the number of tires before you arrive at the event. This will cut down on wait time at the event.
If you have passenger car and light truck tires laying around, or know of someone who does, please consider disposing of them in a responsible manner rather than allowing them to continue to collect water and be a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes. Proper disposal of waste tires and reducing standing water on your property will help reduce the chance of being visited by those annoying mosquitoes this summer, so we all can enjoy the season once it finally decides to arrive.
Please note: those interested in attending the Juneberry Festival the correct date is June 20, 2019 from 5PM to 7PM at Juneberry Farm, located at 6960 1St Street, Ovid NY (in the hamlet of Willard) west of the blinking traffic light on State Route 96. Sorry for the incorrect date in last week’s column. Call Judy Wright at 315-539-9251 ext. 109 with any Juneberry Festival questions.
Judy Wright is the senior agriculture specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Seneca County. For more information, visit senecacountycce.org or call (315) 539-9251 ext. 109.