Mosquitoes are species of flies known for biting and feeding on blood. The blood mosquitoes feast on provides the insects with the nutrients required to lay eggs. Because of this habit, as long as mosquitoes have blood to feed on, more mosquitoes are born, leading to an eventual mosquito infestation.
Aside from the annoyance of being bitten while enjoying your time outdoors, a mosquito bite may also cause an irritating rash from the mosquito’s saliva and the potential threat of infection.
Mosquitoes are vectors for many diseases such as the West Nile virus and the Zika virus, and yellow fever. There are many genera of these biting insects within the mosquito family, such as the Culex mosquito.
- Mosquito Control Tips
- Using Oils to Handle a Mosquito Infestation
- Grow Insect-Repellent Plants
- Use Mosquito Traps to Control Mosquito Activity
- Ways to Stop Mosquitoes Involving Water
- Preventative Actions to Keep the Mosquito Population Down
Mosquito Control Tips
Culex mosquitoes are known carriers for the St. Louis encephalitis virus, a mosquito-borne disease that mainly affects the United States.
Encephalitis may cause fever and headaches in those affected and, in long-term cases, cause disability or even death. As there is no treatment for encephalitis, reducing infection comes from avoiding contact with infected mosquitoes.
Aedes mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, and Aedes aegypti originated in tropical areas. Still, due to human activity, these mosquitoes are found on all continents except Antarctica.
Although mosquitoes are inevitable, controlling the mosquito population in your area is possible through preventative actions to keep the mosquito life cycle under control.
Active strategies that kill mosquitoes and deter mosquitoes from biting all exist, and when combined, create an effective form of mosquito control for your home and garden.
Hang Mosquito Netting
Among mosquito control tips is the practical solution of hanging a net. If you are entertaining outside or live in an area where mosquitoes are common, hanging mosquito nets is a simple solution to keep your space free of mosquitoes.
Nets are available for purchase online and are hung around your room or from awnings outside. The mesh net prevents mosquitoes and other insects from passing through and creates a protective barrier from biting insects. It is an effective solution for deterring different types of gnats around the house, too.
Keep Mosquitoes Away with Insect Repellent
One of the most common ways to stop mosquitoes from infesting your yard is to repel pests with a mosquito repellent. Insect repellents are available for purchase online or at your local store.
These sprays commonly contain DEET as an active ingredient that works well at keeping mosquitoes away, though DEET may irritate when used on the skin.
Because of the unpleasant smell and need to be reapplied, repellent solutions may not be a favorite to try long term and work better as an impromptu solution to keep insects away.
A solution for dealing with a mosquito infestation and adding beauty and light to your outdoor garden is insect-repellent lights.
Light does not draw in or repel mosquitoes like other insects, so a repellent is placed inside the light to keep mosquitoes away.
These lights exist in various forms with light bulbs that vary from sodium lamps, bug lights, and LED lights.
Choose lights that work best for your environment, and with proper spacing create a barrier from insects around your home or patio space.
Using Garlic to Keep Mosquitoes Away
Garlic is well-known among mosquito control tips for controlling a mosquito infestation. Strong odors often repel insects, and few herbs or vegetables compare to the smell of garlic.
For natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes, start by breaking up garlic gloves and placing them strategically around your garden. Create a shield around the perimeter of your garden to keep mosquitoes away.
Using garlic outdoors is another way to repel these insects during mosquito season. The smell of garlic in the air will keep mosquitoes away, and consuming garlic makes you less prone to being bitten.
Using Oils to Handle a Mosquito Infestation
The oils pressed from certain plants and herbs keep mosquitoes away. Either by using the oils directly on your skin or in repellents, essential oils are effective ways to keep insects away without the use of harsh smelling chemicals.
For over the past 50 years, citronella oil, made from citronella plants, has been a popular choice for providing relief from mosquito infestations.
A common use for the oil from citronella plants is in candles specifically designed to create an aromatic barrier for mosquitoes.
These candles often contain a mix of oil from herbs that provides up to 50% extra protection, though their area of effect is limited to the space around the candle.
Because citronella only repels mosquitoes, it is not effective at reducing the population of mosquitoes in your garden or preventing them from laying more eggs.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Like the citrusy scent of citronella, oil from the lemon eucalyptus plant has proven effective at protecting from almost all mosquitoes.
Combine the ingredients in a separate amber dropper oil or a bowl. Using a dropper or a clean cloth, apply the oil mixture to your skin to protect yourself from bites.
Note: Do not use sunflower oil or witch hazel on children younger than three.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Candle
To utilize the power of lemon eucalyptus oil in a more robust way, combine the oil with other fresh ingredients to make a mosquito-repelling candle.
Place two slices of lemon and lime in your Mason jar along with a cut rosemary sprig to fit vertically inside.
Add lemon eucalyptus oil before filling with water. Relocate your candle outside before placing your floating candle on top and lighting it.
Many essential oils are effective at repelling mosquitoes, and they are beloved by many because they offer the same protection without any harsh smells or irritants found in commercial repellents.
Add the listed ingredients to a bottle and combine them with a good shake. Spray while avoiding your eyes, mouth, or sensitive areas.
Note: Due to the mixture of oils having strong odors, we suggest creating this spray outside or in a well-ventilated area.
Neem oil is pressed from seeds of the neem tree. Neem oil is well-known to gardeners as a natural way to keep pests away from their crops and keep mosquitoes away.
When used alone, neem oil may cause skin irritations and is safer to use when mixed with carrier oils. Include essential oils of your choice to make the spray more pleasant since neem oil does not have a favorable smell.
You may need to start warming the coconut oil before mixing it with the neem oil to incorporate it fully. Using a clean cloth, apply the oil mixture to exposed skin areas.
Note: Neem oil is toxic when consumed – do not use it on children to prevent the risk of accidental ingestion.
Grow Insect-Repellent Plants
Many plants we enjoy looking at and using in culinary dishes are plants that insects hate.
Sowing seeds for certain plants and herbs and placing pots around your home adds color to your yard and introduces a layer of protection for keeping mosquitoes at bay.
While peppermint is a favorite for humans to smell and taste, it is not well-liked by mosquitoes. These plants that repel mosquitoes and flies, as well as insects like wasps, offer a cooling scent of peppermint that brings thoughts of freshness and cleanliness to us but a terrible odor to bugs.
Planting peppermint plants in pots around your garden can help deter mosquitoes from visiting this area.
The convenience of planting in pots means you can reassign this protection at will to protect your patio or plants in your garden from allowing mosquitoes to gather there.
Lavender is another scent we enjoy that mosquitoes hate. Growing fresh lavender around your home is a great-smelling way to keep mosquitoes from coming inside or keeping them at bay in your yard.
Lavender can also be used directly on your skin to keep mosquitoes from biting or used as an ointment to relieve the itchiness caused by mosquito bites.
In a double-boiler or a makeshift double-boiler made from a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan with water in it, add lavender-infused oil, beeswax (or soy wax for a vegan option), and shea butter to the top layer of your double-boiler.
Add enough water into the bottom of your boiler so that the top layer is in contact with the top of the water and heat the water on medium-low heat.
Stir the mixture until the wax and shea butter melts completely. Remove the mixture from heat after stirring to combine thoroughly.
Allow your mixture to cool slightly before adding the essential oils, as the oils dissipate if exposed to high heat.
Whisk to combine the mixture before pouring it into a jar or container and allowing it to cool and harden. Apply to your skin as needed to hydrate or treat a rash left by a mosquito bite.
A favorite for felines that is hated by mosquitoes, catnip can be grown fresh in your garden as a deterrent to mosquitoes and used directly on your skin to provide a natural repellent for mosquitoes.
The natural compounds in catnip are at least as effective as DEET and possibly up to 10 times more successful at repelling mosquitoes.
Nepeta cataria triggers a chemical receptor that sparks a sensation of pain in mosquitoes. This reaction to the smell of catnip deters mosquitoes from getting any closer to the source of this sensation.
Use Mosquito Traps to Control Mosquito Activity
Mosquito traps are simple yet innovative ways to kill mosquitoes and keep them from biting you.
The trap includes an attractive source for mosquitoes in the center. Once approached, mosquitoes are either killed or trapped, effectively reducing the population of mosquitoes in your home or yard.
A typical mosquito trap is known as a zapper. They often look like lanterns and function as a source of bright light that attracts various insects like moths and other bugs to the lantern.
These zappers usually include a non-toxic mosquito attractant. A small grid is placed around the zapper to protect humans from harming themselves by handling it, while allowing insects to fly through where they are shocked and killed on contact. Take care of a gnats infestation with a bug zapper.
Other Mosquito Traps
If the buzz and zap of a mosquito zapper seem like an unpleasant addition to your home and garden, variations exist that involve more humane methods of controlling a mosquito population.
A simple mosquito trap involves a sticky surface where mosquitoes become stuck upon landing. These traps contain an odorless drug on a bright yellow paper that draws insects in, and the adhesive prevents them from escaping.
Other traps involve a source of Co2 that draws mosquitoes inside before becoming trapped by a mechanism that resembles the blades of a fan that traps mosquitoes inside a compartment they cannot escape.
Ways to Stop Mosquitoes Involving Water
As much as humans require water to survive, water is essential for the mosquito breeding cycle. After feeding on blood, female mosquitoes can lay eggs on the water’s surface.
Undisturbed water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes because it allows them to hatch. If your home or yard has water features, there are several important factors to keep in mind for vector control.
Getting Rid of Standing Water
Also known as stagnant water, standing water is any form of water that is not flowing, either naturally or human made—standing water forms from gathered rainfall in yards or runoff and lakes and swamps.
Humans also contribute to areas of standing water by leaving debris outside that catches rain, such as tires, birdbaths, and pots.
Not only is standing water dangerous as an incubator for bacteria and parasites, but it also creates an ideal location for adult mosquitoes to lay eggs and begin their life cycle over again.
Water pooled from rainfall evaporates or soaks into the ground while manmade debris requires maintenance. Regularly dump and refill birdbaths and empty any sources for standing water in your yard.
Add Coffee Grounds to Water to Kill Larvae and Eggs
Decades of research on the use of coffee grounds as a mosquito deterrent have uncovered that adult mosquitoes avoid laying eggs in water treated with coffee grounds.
Additionally, sprinkling coffee grounds in stagnant water hinders mosquito larvae from surviving as eggs present in the water rise to the surface. Try this simple mosquito and gnat bait recipe if you have a pond. It’s the best way to kill mosquitoes without going to a lot of trouble.
Because coffee grounds can be acidic, we do not recommend using them in bodies of water where other animals live or drink.
Installing Drains to Redirect Water and Improve Drainage
Standing and pooling water can be a problem if left alone, including water from planters or water that gathers in other areas of the yard.
If you have planter boxes around your home, consider installing a catch basin connected to a drainage pipe to prevent the water drainage from pooling on the ground or in the yard under the planter.
Another option for drainage is to install a French drain, a pipeline that runs through the yard in a trench with gravel.
This drain allows water to flow through the entire length of the drain quickly and redirect water away from your home and yard.
Adding Moving Water Features to Your Yard
If birdbaths or ponds are essential features in your yard or garden, consider swapping them for versions with motors that cause the water to run continuously.
As mosquitoes are typically most active in warmer weather, spring through fall, take advantage of cooler weather to complete some landscaping to replace standing water with moving water elements.
Control Mosquito Population with Mosquito Fish (Gambusia affinis)
Mosquitofish is a species of freshwater fish commonly used as a form of biological pest control. These fish eat beetles, mites, mayflies, and mosquitoes.
In California, these mosquito eating fish are handed out to residents with manmade ponds and pools as part of a program to keep the mosquito population at bay.
Mosquitofish feed on mosquito larvae at all stages of life when introduced into an environment where mosquito larvae are available.
Adult females consume hundreds of larvae in a single day – research shows that mosquitofish consume 42%-167% of their body weight in mosquito larvae.
Kill Mosquito Larva with Mosquito Dunks
If standing water on your property is becoming a problem, a popular mosquito control product, Mosquito Dunks, is one of the most effective ways to stop mosquitoes from taking over your yard.
Mosquito Dunks use Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.), a natural bacteria found in soil to kill various pests. When placed in water, Dunks dissolve in the water and kill larvae without affecting other animals in the water, like fish.
Because Dunks only kill larvae, adult mosquitoes and eggs will still be present in the garden. However, by killing eggs as they develop into larvae and preventing them from reaching their adult stage, you break the life cycle of mosquitoes.
Preventative Actions to Keep the Mosquito Population Down
One of the best ways to stop mosquitoes from taking over is to take action before they become a problem.
Mosquito season varies based on location; however, when temperatures consistently reach 50°F, mosquito eggs begin hatching. Mosquito activity peaks in summer and falls off during autumn.
Proper Lawn Care
To prepare for mosquito season, it’s essential to know that mosquitoes also enjoy tall grass near water.
After rainfall, patches of tall grass often retain moisture and become hiding places for mosquitoes, especially when their blood source is unavailable because of utilizing repellent methods.
By keeping your lawn trimmed and any areas of tall grass under control, you remove one more place in your yard for mosquitoes to thrive.
Because they tend to carry viruses like West Vile, it’s crucial to protect yourself from being bitten and to know how to deal with an infestation and break the life cycle of mosquitoes to see fewer of these pests.
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