Tips for your yard
Nothing takes the fun out of the summer months like a swarm of pesky mosquitoes making your outdoor adventure a miserable experience. Mosquitoes can be found virtually anywhere, with over 176 species alone living in the United States, and besides being a nuisance, outdoor mosquito control is vital to your overall well being during the insects’ peak months. Making a few small changes this summer can minimize your chances of being bit.
If you are interested in preventing a mosquito infestation problem, follow these tips.
- Keep the grass and shrubbery around your property cut short. This reduces areas where mosquitoes congregate during the day.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to light, so an easy way to deter your uninvited guests is to change the bright lighting in and around your home to something decidedly dimmer. Many people use bug zappers, though these lights actually do more harm than good by killing any and all insects, instead of just the female, biting mosquito.
- If you have a pool at your home, be sure to keep it chlorinated, cleaned, and aerated, as standing water can increase the presence of the insects.
- Drill holes in the bottom of your garbage and recycling containers. Many people drill holes in the sides of their bins, but this only increases the chances of water accumulating at the bottom of the barrel, creating a mosquito breeding ground instead of deterring them. Female mosquitoes may lay up to 100-300 eggs at a time, and averages between 1,000 to 3,000 offspring during her lifetime. Reducing artificial water sources for her breeding ground reduces that risk, since they can lay eggs in as little as ¼ an inch of standing water.
- Dump and clean any containers that may hold standing water twice per week. This includes vases, pet water bowls, old tires, and plastic kiddie pools, both indoors and out.
- Remove or stretch tarps tight that are over firewood piles, boats, or sports equipment.
- Be sure to keep your drains clear of cut grass, branches, weeds, and trash, so that water will drain properly, and not create a pool of water.
- If you have water around your home that you just can’t do without, you can use bacillus thuringiensis israelensis as a larvicide. This is a naturally-occurring bacteria that is commercially produced as fish meal or soy powder, and is sold at gardening stores. BTI is not harmful to other animals or insects, and when dropped in water, the larvae eat the bacteria and quickly die. BTI is effective for this purpose only, though, and has no adverse effect on the adult mosquito.
- Wear appropriate clothing if you know you are going to be spending time outdoors. Wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and sturdy sneakers or shoes to protect any exposed skin. We know you like to show some skin in the summer months, but this can increase your risk for mosquito exposure.
- Mosquitoes use body odor and exhaled carbon dioxide to locate their blood meal, so using an oil or plant to cover up your body’s natural odor is important. This is why plants like mint and basil work well for mosquito deterrence.
- If you are looking for all natural mosquito repellent to apply to your skin, a good option would be to use organic cedar oil. It naturally deters mosquitoes and is considered safe to use by the FDA, which is good for pets and families. Cedar oil was even used by the ancient Egyptians for embalming because of its insect repellent qualities. Basil oil is another option that repels not just mosquitoes, but thrips and flies as well. Eucalyptus oil is another naturally-occurring option that is proven to work.
- If you choose to utilize more traditional bug repellent on your skin, make sure to use a DEET spray or lotion. These products range anywhere from 4% to 100% DEET. Be aware that Expert Organics outdoor mosquito repellent will eliminate about 93% of the mosquitoes on your property.
- Make sure that your doors and window screens are secure without holes. Window screens were actually hailed as one of the most important inventions of the 19th century, as they kept disease-carrying insects out of the home.
- Another effective way to control mosquitoes is to plant an herb garden around your home. Planting lemongrass, for example, is a good way to make your home mosquito-proof since citronella is naturally occurring in the plant. Basil, lavender, and marigold flowers have also proved effective, and is part of the reason people plant them with their vegetable gardens.
- If you are feeling adventurous, you could invest in some mosquitofish. These small fish can live in stagnant water, where they feast on mosquito larvae, and have been used as a larvicide for years, and only grow to about 2 inches in length.