Ready to get rid of those mosquitoes around the house? Great. But there’s one thing you should know about home mosquito control right up front.
There is no silver bullet to mosquito prevention, no 1 product or tactic guaranteed to clear them from your lawn. And you will never be able to get them all; it is just not possible. The best you do is thin out their numbers and decrease the odds of becoming bitten when you head out of the house.
To achieve this, you’ll need to use a combination of approaches. Including ferreting out the potential mosquito breeding sites around your house, leaving the lawn as inhospitable as you can, and attacking the adult swarms with everything from mosquito lands to mosquito spray.
It will take a while, and yes, cost you some cash, also, but when you’re finished, you will be able to relax outside your house, confident that you are as safe from the marauding bloodsuckers as you possibly can be.
Effective mosquito control starts with a thorough inspection of the possible battlefield, so let us head outside for a look around.
On your way out, check all the doors and windows in the house.
You will need a good screen door for each. When closed, the screen door should be snug against the door frame, and the display should not have any harm that would allow mosquitoes to get inside.
Of course, they do not do any good if you lift the window screens together with the windows, or leave the screen door propped wide when the house door is open. Mosquitoes can and will come into the house any chance they get, so make certain that you always keep the screens in place.
Outside, you need to look for standing water, in both the obvious places and the not-so-obvious. The folks at the Alameda County (Cal.) Mosquito Control District put it best to their site:
“The main rule when it comes to breeding grounds for mosquitoes is that they need stagnant water in order to lay their eggs. What most people do not realize is the surprising number of areas around their own house where mosquitoes can find the stagnant water they need. The most important rule: If it can hold water for more than a couple of days, it can breed mosquitoes.”
So look for these probably places where mosquitoes can breed:
Tree holes – a few mosquitoes prefer laying their eggs in hollowed-out places in trees where rainwater collects. Dealing with these can be tricky because insecticide might harm the tree, as could removing part of it. You may want to refer to a landscaping specialist or tree service for support.
Yard equipment – An upright wheelbarrow, an empty flowerpot, or even an abandoned shovel can hold water long enough to develop mosquito larvae. Store equipment inside, or turn it over so that rain will run off. Drill holes in the bottoms of containers that have to remain outside, so they could drain.
Tarps – Any sort of nylon or plastic cover, whether it’s draped over a pile of firewood or a ship, will finally start to sag and develop pockets where water can collect. Tighten them where you can and check them regularly.
Toys – Rain will fill toy trucks, teacup sets, or Frisbees left lying in the grass. The exact same for old-fashioned tire swings, which accumulate stagnating rainwater, or any old tire left laying in the yard. Make sure that the kids pick up after themselves, and eliminate the tires.
Puddles – You may have low spots in the yard where water accumulates and is slow to drain. Fill in the spots, install drainage pipes, or modify the landscaping to keep the water off. Check the gutters regularly, especially if you’ve got heavy leaf fall. In addition, keep the lawn raked. Overturned leaves hold water, and mosquitoes like to breed in them. Turn the kids’ pool and stand it up against a wall when they are not using it. If you have a swimming pool, ensure you clean and service it regularly.
OK, you’ve taken care of this standing water in the yard. Now, since mosquitoes like to rest in warm, moist vegetation during the day, ensure that you keep the grass cut and the bushes trimmed, and clean all the weeds out of the flower beds frequently. Water the grass and plants enough to keep them healthy, but avoid doing it so much that which stays wet.
Natural mosquito control around the house
Next, you may want to make a few additions to the yard which could help control mosquitoes .
You have probably heard of the citrosa, called the”mosquito plant,” that is supposed to repel mosquitoes just by its existence. Unfortunately, that’s not completely true. Mosquito control studies have demonstrated an undisturbed citrosa has very little effect on the pesky bloodsuckers.
And there are other plants with oils and aromas believed to irritate mosquitoes, including citronella grass, lemon thyme, catnip and rosemary.
The trick is that you have to crush the leaves to be able to publish the mosquito repellents. Not terribly successful as an active step, but it may be worth planting some around your favorite spots, so that you can rub the leaves on your skin once you’re outside, to help keep the mosquitoes away.
This is also a great time to think about a tiny decorative pond to aid in mosquito control.
In case you have one already, it is a good bet mosquitoes breed in it, unless it gets a constant stream of fresh water. A natural approach to treat the pond for mosquitoes is to stock it with gambusia, also called the mosquito eating fish.
Gambusia feed on mosquito larvae, primarily wigglers in the surface. They grow to about two inches and require no maintenance. Approximately 35 to 100 are sufficient to keep a small ornamental pond comparatively free of mosquitoes, according to Rutgers University entomologists.
Many local mosquito control districts will provide them for free so long as they’re kept somewhere that doesn’t connect to other water environments. Gambusia are predatory fish and have been known to feed on the young of other indigenous species.
Meanwhile, if you do not have a pond, then it could be a fantastic idea to get one installed. Designed correctly, a tiny decorative pond can attract dragonflies, sometimes called”mosquito hawks” because they feed on both mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes.
The British Dragonfly Society recommends the pond be at least 130 square feet, but you can go much smaller. Put it somewhere protected from wind, but where it can get direct sunlight to maintain the dragonflies warm.
The pond needs to be deep at one end, at least two feet, and shallow at the other, so dragonfly larvae, known as”nymphs,” can dip when threatened by predators and eventually crawl out of the water when they’ve grown.
Stock the pond with native aquatic plants that rise above the surface, providing the larvae a place to rest and hide in the roots, and the young adults a place to rest out of the water.
Surround the pond with horizontal, light-colored rocks. Some dragonflies prefer to land on flat rocks to sun themselves.
One quick note: You may have heard that bats and purple martins are also handy to have around because they eat mosquitoes. But researchers say those are fallacies. Bats prefer other insects, with mosquitoes making up less than one percent of their diet.
Mosquito spraying and other forms of assault
Now that you have turned your yard downright unfriendly toward mosquitoes, it is time to take a bit more aggressive action. Again, you will have to use a combination of tactics.
One of those involves insecticide.
You can kill mosquito larvae in standing water using a product such as Mosquito Bits, which contains the Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis bacteria, the most effective larvacide, or you can apply a larvacidal oil to the water’s surface to maintain the larvae from breathing.
Adults are prone to foggers and mosquito spray.
Foggers warmth insecticide and release it in the yard in low amounts, killing mosquitoes on contact, but the fog, and its potency, wear off in a couple of hours.
Spray the grass, trees, bushes, wooden fences and walls of the house, then let it dry. The poison, a synthetic version of the insecticide created by the chrysanthemum plant, kills mosquitoes connected by attacking their nervous systems.
You may find larvacides, foggers and sprays in most hardware and home improvement stores.
Believe it or not, you’re still likely to have mosquitoes, even after all this. Different tricks work with different species, and there could be tens of thousands of mosquitoes out of a dozen or more species flying around your neighborhood.
To add the next layer of protection, replace the normal lights bulbs on your outside lights with yellow bulbs, which attract significantly fewer insects. Then, set a mosquito trap in your yard, away from the deck, patio or anywhere you generally spend some time.
They release carbon dioxide and Octenol, found in exhaled breath and perspiration, and they emit heat and light in ranges designed to excite the mosquitoes.
The traps can lure mosquitoes from over a hundred feet away, then sweep them via a fan into a container where they die. As you sit comfortably, the mosquitoes are tricked away from one to another corner of the yard and gently disposed of by your trap.
Within about two weeks of running the trap, you can expect to see significant reductions in the local mosquito population, as female after female is attracted in and expires without laying more eggs.