Protect your family and landscape this summer when you take precautions against mosquitoes. These pesky insects are annoying just for their buzzing and biting, but they can spread diseases, too, like West Nile virus and Zika virus.
The way to reduce the mosquito population is to take measures at every stage of the insect’s life cycle. There are four stages in a mosquito’s life: egg, larva, pupa and adult. When you disrupt the life cycle, you will reduce the mosquito population in your area.
Mosquitoes breed in summer and lay their eggs in water. And they don’t need a lake or pool – mosquitoes can breed in as little as a bottle cap of water. For this reason, the top mosquito-control advice is: Kill mosquitoes before they are old enough to bite by eliminating sources of standing water.
Old tires, of course, are a breeding ground, but look for other trouble spots like water elements in your garden. Fountains, bird baths and rain barrels are beautiful, functional and attractive to mosquitoes. It’s easy to control mosquitoes in water by placing a mosquito dunk in the source of water. Dunks are made of Bti, short for bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a bacteria that creates toxins in mosquito larva.
Mosquito Dunks will not harm birds, fish, wildlife and pets. When you place a dunk in standing water, it will control mosquito larvae for up to 30 days up to 100 square feet of surface water, regardless of depth.
Eliminate standing water
- Fill in depressions in the ground that fill when it rains and drain slowly. Gardeners and DIY-ers frequently have buckets and containers around the garden. Cover or empty them, filling up watering cans only when you need them.
- If you have a swimming pool, properly maintain it to prevent mosquitoes and report neglected pools to your municipality. Learn how to maintain a swimming pool.
- Keep grass trimmed and eliminate weeds and debris around your property. Beds of English ivy provide dense vegetation for mosquitoes (and snakes) to breed in.
You can employ all these tactics and still have problems with mosquitoes. That’s why layers of mosquito control are the answer.
Control Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Surround your outdoor entertaining space with tiki torches filled with citronella canisters. Candle flames and citronella oil are both said to repel mosquitoes. At less than $5 apiece, you can cover a patio area inexpensively and stylishly.
Increase your perimeter of protection with products like Cutter’s CitroGuard Triple Wick Citronella Candle on outdoor tables.
In addition to the tiki torches, try tabletop tiki torches filled with citronella oil. The flame and the citronella oil will both repel mosquitoes when you dine al fresco.
Layer protection when you use personal insect repellents. These products don’t kill insects. Instead, they use different chemicals to prevent them from biting you by interfering with their senses. Personal repellents come in different forms, including bug spray, bracelets and wipes. Some are meant to be applied directly to your skin while others are applied to fabrics. DEET is a commonly used and very effective repellent that can safely be applied to skin. It is available in a wide range of concentrations, with stronger concentrations providing greater effectiveness over longer periods of time.
Organic products, such as oil of lemon or eucalyptus, may be used on skin as well. Learn more about natural methods of controlling mosquitoes.
Electronic traps are designed to quietly repel mosquitoes in outdoor areas. Many offer multiple methods to kill mosquitoes. For example, the Dynatrap Wall Mount Insect and Mosquito Trap (shown above), protects your outdoor space against mosquitoes and other flying insects in three ways.
First, a UV fluorescent bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects. Then, a titanium, dioxide-coated surface produces carbon dioxide that’s irresistible to mosquitoes. Third, a vacuum fan sucks insects into the retaining cage where they dehydrate and die.
At the higher end of the spectrum, a mosquito magnet like the Executive Mosquito Trap Silent trap emits carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to attract and catch mosquitoes over a one-acre area.
Learn more about mosquito control in this guide.