by Caitlyn Andrews
July 16, 2019
Mosquito season is here. We've had a wet spring and mosquitoes are thriving. And these pests are more than annoying.
They're a threat to farms everywhere. They carry disease. They annoy animals. They even affect your livestock operation's bottom line.
In this article, you'll learn about mosquitoes, the harm they cause, and ways to control them on your farm.
Mosquitoes are notorious for carrying diseases that harm horses. But mosquitoes can harm other livestock, too.
Blood loss and irritation caused by mosquitoes can have a direct impact on your farm's productivity.
Mosquitoes can cause weight loss and a decrease in milk production in cattle and goats. With swine, mosquitoes can cause skin lesions and allergic reactions. Sheep and other livestock can suffer from weight loss. Poultry can also be affected by mosquitoes with decreased egg production or even death.
Mosquitoes can have a negative impact on milk production for dairy farms.
Horses are known to contract diseases from mosquitoes that include Western, Eastern, and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis, as well as West Nile.
Many equine mosquito-born diseases can be prevented with vaccinations. However, many of these diseases are also lethal. Being proactive about mosquito control and vaccines will go a long way in protecting your horse from these deadly diseases.
Rabbits can contract a fatal disease from mosquitoes called Myxomatosis. Myxomatosis is spread when a mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected wild rabbit, then infects a domestic rabbit. It can also be spread via fleas or other contagious rabbits.
Dogs can contract a variety of parasites and viral or bacterial infections from mosquitoes. The most common being heart worm. Like horses, dogs can also get West Nile Virus.
Cats can also get heart worm and West Nile from mosquitoes. Barn cats and outdoor cats are more susceptible to mosquito-borne illnesses, so it's important to make sure they're on a preventative routine.
Here are some "bite-sized" facts about mosquitoes:
Only female mosquitoes want your blood. Males eat plants.
The best way to reduce the number of mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding grounds. If you have standing water on your property then you have a potential mosquito nursery. Mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in a spot where standing water sits for 3 - 10 days.
Use the tips below to eliminate potential spawning grounds:
Empty and clean water troughs to avoid mosquito-friendly vegetation growth.
Want to try a new trap? VPSI carries Spartan Mosquito Eradicators. These traps eradicate 95% of mosquitoes for up to 90 days. No electricity, fogs, or sprays. Just add water, shake, and place. Call us at 800-624-2061 to order.
If you have a body of water on your property like a pond or swamp then you can't just remove the water. You certainly can't tip it over like a bucket.
You'll need to take additional measures to ensure that your property isn't mosquito-friendly. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to spawn. Installing aeration pumps or a fountain can disrupt the water and make it difficult for mosquitoes to reproduce.
Reduce the amount of vegetation such as lily pads, cattails, and piles of leaves, in and around the water. This will lower the amount of hiding places that naturally protect mosquitoes from their predators.
Nature provides a variety of biological mosquito control options for farmers.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance to people, but a delicacy to some other creatures. By introducing species that eat mosquitoes or creating a welcome environment for them, you can greatly reduce the mosquitoes on your property naturally.
Bats are an excellent way to combat mosquitoes. They pose little threat to people or livestock. Insects are the ones that should be concerned when bats are on the property. Though they do eat mosquitoes, bats also feast on other bugs so they shouldn't be relied on as a sole method of mosquito control. If you've seen bats flying around your property, try adding bat houses (boxes) to make them feel more at home. You can purchase bat houses or make your own.
This article walks you through the steps of building your own bat house.
Dragonflies prey on mosquitoes and can help reduce pests near ponds.
Dragonflies also love to eat mosquitoes and will attack them as both nymphs and adults. If you have a pond or other body of water, you can release dragonfly nymphs into the water and let them feast on the mosquitoes. Like bats, mosquitoes are not their only food source.
Fish can be one of the most effective weapons nature gives us against mosquitoes. Certain fish like koi, goldfish, guppies, minnows, golden orfe, and mosquito fish are known to eat mosquito larvae in ponds. Before choosing the type of fish for your property, check with the local fish and game department for recommendations and local regulations. If you choose to introduce more than one fish species then do your research to make sure they are compatible together.
Here are a few additional tips to help you with mosquito control in and around the barn:
Horses and livestock leave imprints in mud that can fill up with water and mosquito eggs.
You can reduce the amount of mosquitoes on your farm, but it takes some effort.
Follow the tips above and remember the following:
If you need help finding the right mosquito control products for your farm, then call us at 800-624-2061.
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by Caitlyn Andrews
November 12, 2019
Fall is here and that means it's time for pumpkin-everything. 🎃
But what do you do with your pumpkins once the season is over? If you throw them out your pets could be missing out on a tasty snack.
For livestock, pumpkins can even stand in as an additional feed source.
by Caitlyn Andrews
January 29, 2019
Many of us in the United States are bracing ourselves for record cold temperatures this week.
Small animal owners are warned to keep their pets indoors during subzero temperatures, but severe wind and cold present different challenges for livestock owners. You can't fit your cattle or horses in the living room to hang out on the couch and wait out the winter storm with you.
by Caitlyn Andrews
September 28, 2018
Hog producers around the globe are on high alert following the recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China. Here in the United States, you need to know how this disease affects you and your pigs.
Take action now to educate yourself on African Swine Fever. Here is everything you need to know about ASF.