How To Prevent And Control Mosquitos

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This article provides tips on how to prevent, repel and ward off mosquitos from your yard, garden and outdoor living spaces
by Brett · All Zones · Insects · 2 Comments · June 04, 2012 · 4,802 views

Mosquitoes can be a pain in the rear...on the legs, arms, ankles, feet and just about any area of skin that is exposed. Below are some helpful tips for preventing or warding off mosquitoes.

A Little About Mosquitoes...

Successful long term mosquito control requires a knowledge of where and how they develop. All mosquitoes pass through four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The number of days from egg to adult varies with species and temperature. Under ideal conditions, some mosquitoes can complete their cycle of development from egg to adult in less than a week. Some mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing bodies of water while others lay them in damp areas around the yard.

Unfortunately, there's no sure-fire method to eliminate all mosquitoes. However, there are steps you can take to prevent and or control them.

Preventing Mosquitoes

Preventing or reducing the populations of mosquitoes starts with identifying their breeding grounds...or, should we say, breeding waters, and then taking steps to eliminate these attractors.

  • Garden Ponds - If you have a garden pond, make sure there is constant movement on the surface of the water. Mosquitoes don't like moving water. To achieve this movement install a waterfall or a fountain. You can also add mosquito eating fish to your garden pond.
  • Puddles - Identify areas in the yard where water stands for more than a day after a good rain. Fill these low-lying areas with soil or install a drainage system to provide good drainage.
  • Containers - Identify containers or other objects in the yard that hold water after a rain. Take steps to make sure these objects will drain properly or remove them from the yard.
  • Gutters - Clogged gutters are a perfect place for mosquitoes to breed. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean.
  • Decks or Porches - If you have a wooden deck or porch that allows rain or hose water through the cracks, make sure that the area underneath these structures drains properly. Install a 6" bed of gravel and perforated drainage pipes of necessary to remove water from these areas.
  • Bird Baths - Be sure to clean and refill bird baths at least once or twice a week with fresh water.
  • Stumps - Remove old stumps or fill their cavities with soil and plant something in them.
  • Plastic Sheeting - Remove plastic sheeting or other refuse that collects water.
  • Leaking Faucets - Repair any leaking faucets or air conditioners and improve drainage in these areas.

Controlling Mosquitoes

Larva Control

Mosquito larvicides are available which can be beneficial when it is difficult or impractical to eliminate a breeding site. Larvicides control immature mosquitoes before they have a chance to develop into flying and biting adults. Most larvicides contain methoprene or a toxin produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), which comes in the form of "dunks" or granules. Neither methoprene nor Bti toxin is harmful to fish, waterfowl, pets, or humans when used according to label directions.

Adult Control

Not all mosquito breeding sites are easy to identify and some species of mosquitoes can fly in from other areas up to several miles away. This is when control of the adults becomes necessary.

Managing Overgrowth
During the day, mosquitoes will rest in protected sites such as on vegetation in your yard. If your landscape includes lots of shrubs, trees, underbrush, and other dense vegetation, mosquito problems can be much worse. Make sure to keep tall weeds knocked down or eliminate them altogether with herbicides and remove any other overgrowth.

Insecticidal Control
To further reduce mosquito populations in vegetative areas you can apply insecticides to the lower branches, limbs, stems and foliage of plants. Check with your local nursery and garden center to see what types of insecticides they stock for controlling mosquitoes. There are liquid and granulated forms of insecticides you can use, such as Bonide Mosquito Beater. Always follow instructions on label for proper mixing and application instructions. A hose-end sprayer is most effective when controlling mosquito populations in large areas with a liquid insecticide. If you have a serious infestation, consider enlisting the help of a local professional pest control service.

Personal Protection
The most effective product I've found that you can put on your body is an arm or leg band called the Superband - Very effective! There are many types of topical sprays and lotions, many containing DEET, that work to keep mosquitoes of your skin and from biting you. For those of you who are concerned about applying chemicals to your skin, there are many organic products now available on the market.

Other Methods of Control

Fans - If you are spending time outdoors on a deck, porch or other outdoor living space, strategically placed electrical fans will definitely help to keep the mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes are weak fliers and the wind generated by fans will keep them at bay.

Bug Zappers & Other Devices - Many other consumer products are available to help control or repel mosquitoes in your environment. Electrical devices, also called "bug zappers," are available however tests show that these kill a much greater percentage of non-harmful and beneficial insects than mosquitoes. Other types of mosquito traps use carbon dioxide, warmth, light, and various chemicals as attractants and claim to capture tremendous numbers of mosquitoes. Still, others claim that devices which emit high-frequency ultrasonic sound work to repel mosquitoes. There's little evidence to show that any of these often expensive devices are effective in reducing mosquito populations. Therefore, I wouldn't recommend purchasing them.

Citronella Oil - Products containing citronella oil, such as citronella candles, can be quite effective at repelling mosquitoes. Also, planting plants that contain citronella, such as the lemon-scented geranium (also know as "Mosquito Plant), in or nearby your outdoor living spaces can help to repel mosquitoes. Just make sure to rub or crush a few leaves on these plants when spending time outdoors in these areas and also place a crushed leaf of a plant in your pocket.

Birds - Martin birds eat thousands of mosquitoes a day. Install bird houses to attract them to your property. Bats are also known to eat a lot of mosquitoes.

Light Bulbs - If your outdoor areas are lit, use General Electric Yellow Bug Lights instead of incandescent white lights, which attract mosquitoes.

Hope these tips were helpful!

Linda Pace

Linda Pace · Gardenality Sprout · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
I potted a citronella, or lemon scented geranium, and put it next to where we sit in the evenings. We both take a leaf and crush it in our hands and place it in a shirt pocket. This has greatly reduced the number of mosquitos 'bugging' us.

8 years ago ·
0 Green Thumbs Up · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Linda - I usually crush a few leaves on plants as well but don't put them in my pocket. Will have to try this and will add this tip to my article!. Thanks for the comment!

8 years ago ·
0 Green Thumbs Up


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