When the warm months arrive, many people start thinking about how to handle the swarms of mosquitoes that will invade their yards and other outdoor areas. Not only are these insects annoying, but they can transmit a number of dangerous diseases. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can perform effective mosquito protection around your home or business. However, with over 200 different breeds of mosquitoes, keeping them under control may require more than one approach.
Read on to learn how you can get rid of mosquitoes this year:
1. Reduce Mosquito Breeding Areas
One of the first things you can do for effective mosquito protection is to eliminate the areas where they breed: standing water. Empty or regularly change outside containers that hold water, including dog bowls, flower pots, bird baths, garbage cans, old tires, and buckets. Keep an eye out for puddles, leaky faucets, clogged gutters and downspouts where water can accumulate and become breeding grounds.
Expert Tip: Drill holes in the bottom of garbage cans and flower pots to allow for natural drainage. It’s a quick way to protect yourself from mosquitoes, and once you’ve drilled the holes, you never have to think about it again.
Also remember to properly chlorinate outside pools if you’re going to be away from home for longer than two weeks. Pool treatment chemicals will help keep mosquitoes away from the stagnant water.
2. Introduce Natural Mosquito Predators
Mosquitoes are prey for a host of other creatures. The naiads of the dragonfly will eat mosquito larvae wherever mosquitoes breed. Adult dragonflies will consume adult mosquitoes.
There are also a variety of birds, bats and amphibians that will eat mosquitoes. Purple martins are beautiful wild birds whose diets include mosquitoes, so invest in a martin condominium to lure a family to your home. Bats also feed on mosquitoes and have such a huge appetite that many nature lovers install bat houses on their property as a form of mosquito control. Geckos and certain types of lizards will feed on mosquitoes, too.
Protect your yard from mosquitoes by creating an environment suitable to their predators.
3. Landscape to Control Mosquitoes
Eucalyptus trees are very good landscaping for homes needing mosquito protection. Talk to your local nurseryman to determine what other plants in your area can be cultivated for mosquito control around your home. Also keep grass and shrubs trimmed to eliminate mosquito hiding places.
4. Get Mosquito Dunks
Some yards, golf courses and other businesses have ponds or other bodies of standing water that can’t be drained. In order to prevent mosquitoes from using this as a breeding ground, use a mosquito dunk. Dunks contain a specially-designed larvacide designed to kill the larvae of mosquitoes without harming plants, fish or other animals in the process.
5. Tap Into Herbal Remedies
Prepare a mosquito repellent from the ingredients in your own yard, kitchen and garden using the oils of several common herbs and plants. Herbs and flowers that repel mosquitoes include lemongrass, garlic, oil of B-12, cinnamon, geraniums, eucalyptus, basil, cloves, peppermint, cedarwood, citronella, onions, feverfew, thyme and marigolds. Mix your oils according to your own preferences, and by trial and error to find what works best.
6. Go Light and Long on the Clothing
During the warm months when mosquitoes are active, it’s important to wear light-colored clothing. Mosquitoes are drawn to dark-colored clothes. Wearing long sleeves, pants and covered shoes is also a good mosquito protection strategy when venturing into thick vegetation while mosquitoes are most active.
7. Avoid Outdoors During High Mosquito Activity
Speaking of mosquito activity – one way to keep from experiencing the effects of mosquitoes is to avoid the time of day when they are most active. Mosquitoes are usually most active at sunrise and early in the evening. Plan activities accordingly and you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities bite-free.
8. Use Mosquito Repellent
Research published in a variety of medical journals has concluded that the insect repellents that provide the best protection against mosquitoes are those that contain DEET. The most effective brands are those that have the highest concentrations of DEET in them. These types of repellents last longer and come scented or unscented.
Expert Tip: Worried about using DEET-containing products on your kids? Mosquito repellent lotions containing all-natural ingredients such as eucalyptus oil are available at most drug stores, natural food stores and baby products stores. Research has shown that these lotions are safe and can be effective for up to two hours.
9. Pass on the Cheese
Limburger Cheese, that is. Studies have shown this pungent variety attracts mosquitoes. As does alcohol. So steer clear of these foods (and a few others) at your next cookout. Also go easy on the perfumes and scented lotions. They, too, can paint a bulls-eye on your back … and arms and legs and neck and …
10. Call In the Big Artillery
Let’s face it, sometimes the do-it-yourself methods just don’t work. If you have a severe mosquito infestation, call your local pest control provider to explore professional mosquito control. Offering everything from automated diffusers to monthly spraying, professional mosquito control is a sure-fire way to get rid of mosquitoes in your backyard.