As I grow more confident that good weather is here to stay, clean-up the outdoor furniture, and and start planning my first outdoor get-together, the one thing I often forget before its too late, is to get ready for mosquito season. I always seem to go on my first camping trip and forgot the bug-spray, or volunteer for Father’s Day dinner or 4th of July BBQ, and forget the citronella candles. A lovely night then turns into a feeding frenzy as my family and friends become the a feast for the newly-hatched parasites.
“Not this year!”, I say. Bloodsuckers take notice: this year I have learned how to control mosquitoes, and I am ready to take you on!
Start with Prevention
I recently learned that most mosquitoes don’t actually travel far beyond their hatching ground, so one of the simplest ways to control mosquitoes is to get rid of places where they can hatch, which is any pool of standing water.
–Turn over buckets, lids, and kids toys that might collect water.
–Change bird-bath water frequently.
–Treat water features or koi ponds with a mosquito larva killer like Mosquito Dunks (and repeat monthly).
–Clean-out your gutters! Blocked gutters are also a terrific breeding ground for mosquitos.
–Fill-in any low spot in the lawn that collects rain or irrigation water.
Remove Resting Spots & Create Chemical Barriers
Another interesting fact about mosquitoes is that they rest in trees, shrubs, and grasses. So if you are trying to control mosquitoes and enjoy a garden or woody setting, you may be fighting a losing battle.
–If you have an outdoor room or a gathering spot, consider removing the vegetation around the lounging area or fire-pit. Sadly, your container plants may have to find a new home elsewhere, or consider filling them with mosquito repelling plants like marigold or citronella grass.
–Mow your grass low. Mosquitoes love to hang out in tall, damp grass.
–If you can’t remove vegetation, you may consider using an insecticide spray like Bonide’s Mosquito Beater, which is made from natural ingredients and safe for use around pets and children. If you are growing vegetables or flowering plants, or trying to attract beneficial insects or butterflies, you should skip this option.
–Create an invisible “mosquito net” around your gathering spot by burning products with citronella oil. Citronella smoke won’t kill mosquitoes or other insects, but they don’t like the odor and tend to stay away when citronella is present in the air.
Bring out the “Big Guns” for Killing Mosquitoes
If you have removed mosquito breeding grounds, and tamed their resting spots, but can’t seem to bring them in line, you may have to move on to trapping and killing to control mosquitoes in your yard.
–Mosquito traps, like the Dynatrap Insect Trap, include a lure (either a light or a CO2 emitter) and some kind of vacuum mechanism for trapping flying pests. There are many different sizes available, be sure to buy one large enough to provide coverage for your yard. The only downside to these traps is that because they are meant to lure insects, you need to place them away from where you will be gathering outdoors so they don’t bring the mosquitoes to you before they are trapped!
–Mosquito foggers are considered a latch ditch effort at mosquito control. They spread a cloud of vaporized insecticide that will kill all insects within the fogged area for several hours. They are best used a few hours prior to an outdoor event, and are not recommended for regular or frequent use since they kill beneficial insects and spiders and require liquid insecticide that may be harmful to people and pets when used improperly.
Now that’s I’ve taken my own advice and implemented these mosquito control strategies, I fully expect my yard to be the most mosquito-free in the neighborhood. So take back the night and control mosquitoes before they ruin your own evenings outside!
Related Tips & Links:
- Plant Mosquito-repelling plants around your property
- West Nile Virus and Preventing Mosquito Bites
- Take Back Your Yard: Year Round Guide for Pest Control