Nothing robs the fun out of a summer barbecue quite like heading back inside with fresh mosquito bites. From irritating reactions to concerns of mosquito-carried viruses, avoiding these warm-weather pests is an important part of any outdoor fun.
When it comes to preventing mosquitoes, the answer doesn’t always come in a bottle of bug spray. Making your yard less attractive to mosquitoes is a practical, highly effective way to enjoy your summer vacation and spare your family the itchy bites that follow a party crashed by mosquitoes.
1. ELIMINATE BREEDING GROUNDS
While mosquitoes likely weren’t on your mind when installing any water features in your yard, stagnant water is a breeding mosquito’s idea of paradise. Standing water not only allows mosquito eggs to remain undisturbed, but also breeds the bacteria and other microorganisms that mosquito larvae feast on after hatching. Water may accumulate in places we least expect, too. Clogged gutters, old tires, toys, pots, ditches, or holes around the yard can accumulate water from even a small rainfall.
Areas of stagnant water can be filled, drained, or cleaned out to ensure proper drainage. Even small pools of water are adequate enough for tiny mosquitoes, so be sure to attend to any tarps, coverings, or other less-obvious spots where water could collect.
If tearing out the birdbath isn’t an option, replacing its contents with fresh water every few days will clear any potential mosquito eggs and discourage the growth of mosquito-feeding nutrients. For extra impact, adding an all-natural BTI bacteria formula (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) to standing water can act as a preventative. BTI bacteria are only toxic to mosquito larvae and won’t threaten birds, fish, and other creatures that visit your yard. Be sure to follow label instructions when using this product.
2. GET THEM GROUNDED
Unlike other winged insects, these pests aren’t exactly adept in the air. Mosquitoes are terribly weak flyers, rarely venturing more than a few hundred yards from where they first hatched. Fully matured mosquitoes can only soar at a top speed of 1.5 MPH, so these tiny aviators prefer calm, peaceful flight conditions with an abundance of landing spots below. Unfortunately for us, our own backyards can provide more opportunities for daily arrivals and departures than a busy airport.
To throw the flight paths of hungry mosquitoes off course, allow breezes to flow unobstructed through your yard. Tall shrubs, heavy foliage, and features that act as windscreens unintentionally invite mosquitoes, so the more wind that can travel through your yard, the better.
If things like tall fences or large trees prevent a good airflow, the solid gust from a good electric fan should do the trick. Whether it’s a fan installed on the porch ceiling or an oscillating fan brought outside, a boost of wind power will discourage weak-winged mosquitoes from passing through to land on your arm for a bite.
3. PLAN YOUR PLANTS
When it comes to your yard, landscaping can affect a whole lot more than just your prestige in the neighborhood. Bushes, trees, and shrubs invite delicate-winged, shade-loving mosquitoes in with open branches. Mosquitoes can be found hiding out in tall grass, lush bushes, and overgrown foliage. These natural hideouts might even be in close proximity to the grill, children’s playsets, and outdoor dining areas, giving mosquitoes a distance advantage when buzzing out for a meal.
Mosquitoes can sense your body heat and the carbon dioxide you exhale from many feet away. The further away lounge areas are from potential mosquito dwellings, the safer you and your family are from bothersome bites. Picnic table right next to the azalea bush? Nothing a little rearranging can’t fix. For a landscape less likely get you bitten, consider relocating potted greenery and replanting any prized shrubs in areas away from gatherings.
4. GROW REPELLENTS
The finely tuned receptors of mosquitoes are no match for many naturally occurring deterrents. Save on bottles of mosquito repellent and cases of citronella candles by taking advantage of garden space you already have. Planting fragrant, mosquito-repelling plants can block a mosquito’s ability to pick up on attractive human scents, fending off thirsty mosquitoes and unwanted bites.
Each of these plants, when planted strategically around the yard or placed in pots, are effective for natural mosquito control:
- Lemon balm
- Citronella geraniums
If your garden has run out of planting real estate, placing sprigs, spreading powders, and using essential oils of the above plants can often be just as effective—just be certain with more potent solutions that application near pets, family members, and other plants is done with care.
5. KEEP UP ON YARD WORK
Mosquitoes are only about a quarter of an inch in length and only need about two inches of foliage space to deem it an adequately secure home. It follows that a yard with lush greenery, or one left unkempt, is more attractive to mosquitoes than one that sees the likes of a hedge trimmer regularly. Tidying the garden up is not only necessary to maintain a beautiful yard, but it can also keep biting mosquitoes away, too.
Regular garden upkeep is key to pulling off a mosquito-free yard. Clipping tall grass, pulling up dense weeds, clearing debris, and clearing up any old items and piles in your yard reduces the opportunity for mosquitoes to settle in and call it home. A well-manicured lawn and garden will send mosquitoes looking for safer, more generous lodging elsewhere.
For support in implementing these tips, or to kick-start the battle against mosquitoes altogether, contact our pest control professionals for assistance. Our experts are standing by to discuss these and other ways to safeguard your home and family from pesky mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can put a damper on your warm-weather plans, but with thoughtful landscaping and effective control, your yard doesn’t have to be a mosquito haven.