ornamental grasses & mosquitoes

syllabusJuly 8, 2007

Hoping someone out there can help me find out if something is true or not.

I belong to a pool at a nearby recreational center. Some of the members are complaining this year about mosquitoes being a problem in a particular seating area. One member is insisting that they are mainly being harbored in a large varied stand of ornamental grasses that are near the problem area. (These grasses are at the back of a slope covered w/ other perennial flowers & are helping to control erosion issues.) This member has taken some biology courses & claims to have worked w/ marine biologists in Florida. He says that they found down there that mosquitoes dwell on the backside of the blades of these grasses which turn w/ the sun.

Now there are a LOT of places around this problem area that can be harboring these mosquitoes: the usual issue w/ drains, areas of puddled water, a large natural body of still water nearby, etc........

Nope. He insists that all of these ornamental grasses be removed. I'm just trying to find out if this is a significant enough source of the problem. We can deal w/ some of the other sources & some are out of our control. Anyone have any data &/or experience to back up his claim? I'm off to google around a bit. It will be interesting to find out if this is true.

Thank you!

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jspece(Josh - z4 IA)

No data, but even if the mosq. hide in the grasses, they wouldn't likely be there in the first place if there was no where for them to reproduce...standing, stagnant water.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 6:34PM
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Skeeters definately hide on the underside of foliage during the day, but they don't live there, and they tend to seek out lower-to-the-ground foliage, because it's cooler. If there's lawn grass nearby, they'll hang out there before ornamental grasses.

"..mosquitoes dwell on the backside of the blades of these grasses which turn w/ the sun."

Huh? I've got at least 75 varieties/cultivars growing on my property, and I can't ever recall seeing their blades turn with the sun. Maybe I should watch more closely, eh?

I also live in mosquito heaven, on a brackish canal which runs from a saltwater lagoon through what used to be salt marsh. We've got salt marsh skeeters which will eat you where you stand, because if they carry you home, the big guys will steal them. Mornings and evenings in my garden, this time of year, I wear a full body skeeter suit.

Believe me, there are more of the critters in what little lawn I have left, than there are in my stands of OG.

PS.."Biology" classes don't have much to do with skeeters or ornamental grasses. That would be "Entomology" or "Agrostology." ;>)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 7:02PM
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Thanks for your replies. I have done a web search of our state dept of health (& gotten lots of good myth-busting info)& have also talked to a local extension agent. We have 19 species of "toes" in our area & his thoughts were that the "biology" guy needs to check w/ his buddies in Florida & see what species lurk the way he is describing.

I agree that I have never seen any OG "turn" w/ the sun. And yeah... biology classes do not an expert make. I believe his experiences were so long ago that his memory may be a little off.

I'm now convinced that the source of the problem is elsewhere & have many places to investigate.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 7:22PM
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