Hello! My husband and I are new to the College Park area, and struggling to figure out how to control the mosquitoes! We're interested in a bat box and are not handy, so we're planning on purchasing one from Bat Conservation and Management (https://batmanagement.com) Any advice on what type of bat box to purchase? Also, I've read that it can take up to two years for the bats to find and populate a new bat box. Anything you'd recommend to help keep the mosquitoes away in the meantime other than hefty amounts of bug spray? Thanks, Katharine
Mosquitoes are an area wide issue especially in a wet summer as we are experiencing. There are many mosquito species in MD. Among them is the Asian tiger mosquito. They are small, black with white striping on the legs and are out flying (and biting) during the day. If the mosquitoes come out primarily at night, then it is most likely a native mosquito which breeds in bodies of water such as wetlands. But no matter what the species is the control tactics are very similar.
Reducing populations involves eliminating any water that is present in containers and other areas on your property. For additional information see our mosquito page.
Any water you can't regularly drain or change should be treated with mosquito dunks which contain Bt, a biological insecticide.
We don't recommend spraying or fogging with an insecticide for multiple reasons. The main reason is that the recommended insecticides can kill non-target species, including many beneficial insects and pollinators. Plus sprays often miss the target and do nothing to control the larvae. It is more effective to target the larva than spray the adults. Plus multiple sprays are necessary which is time-consuming and expensive.It is prudent to protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, pants, and a hat (you can even find clothes treated with insecticides that repel insect pests). Repellents containing Deet work. Make sure to follow label instructions and consult with your pediatrician before applying to children.
For information on bat boxes please see our Maryland Extension publication.
There is also good information on attracting bats on the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources website