Summer has so much to offer, such as getting outside to enjoy the longer days with a barbecue or playing a friendly game of Wiffle ball with the family… until pesky mosquitoes drive you back inside.
Unfortunately, the warmer months also bring with them mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may appear to be a minor annoyance that you can easily swat away, but they can be a major issue. They not only make it impossible to enjoy your backyard properly, but they can also spread diseases. Bug spray can help keep them at bay, but they are nearly impossible to avoid completely unless you plan to spend the entire summer indoors.
Don’t pack your camping gear just yet! There are steps you can take to significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate, mosquitoes in your backyard this summer. Most are fairly simple and simply necessitate a different approach to lawn care. The payoff could be a summer free of itchy bug bites, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your yard.
Stay away from standing water
The most effective method of mosquito control is to prevent them from appearing in the first place. You can accomplish this by removing breeding areas. And where do they lay their eggs? Standing water can be found anywhere. This can include spots as small as a bottle cap, so thoroughly inspect your yard for any water containers. Kiddie pools, toys, plant trays, garbage cans, and gutters are all examples of this. A swimming pool is an exception to this rule, as the chlorine drives them away.
Standing water on your lawn can also be a problem. Check for areas where water appears to pool and takes a long time to drain after each rainstorm. If it occurs on a regular basis in the same location, you may have a drainage problem that requires attention to prevent water from pooling and becoming a breeding ground for insects.
Maintain your lawn’s health by cutting it on a regular basis
Mosquitoes, in addition to water, prefer to congregate in cool, shady areas. Mosquitoes thrive in shady areas near trees, tall grass, or brushy areas, so focus on eliminating those areas. As an added bonus, the more sunlight that enters your yard, the less likely you are to have wet or damp spots that encourage mosquito breeding, disease, or mildew.
Make the Most of Your Landscaping
Some plants are known to naturally repel mosquitoes and can be added to your landscape. Citronella is probably the most well-known of these alternatives. Citronella is a clumping grass with a strong aroma that masks other scents and keeps bugs at bay. There are, however, flowering mosquito-repellent plants that can do the trick, such as marigolds, pennyroyal, and geraniums. If you’ve always wanted to grow a herb garden, now is the time. Mosquito repellent herbs include basil, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, rosemary, and garlic. Finally, catnip has been shown to be up to ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, so you can plant it to protect yourself from mosquitoes while also keeping your feline friends happy.
Make use of Fans
There’s a reason you see fans on porches in mosquito-infested areas. Fans not only keep you cool, but they can also keep mosquitoes at bay. The breeze helps to disperse the carbon dioxide emitted by humans, which attracts the bugs, while also making landing more difficult. If you have covered outdoor areas, consider installing ceiling fans; otherwise, simply use oscillating fans in areas where people congregate to keep the bugs at bay.
Spritz Your Garden
If your mosquito problem is particularly severe, your own efforts have failed, or you live near a water source that produces a large number of mosquitoes (such as a pond), having your landscaping sprayed can help. The EPA has approved several mosquito repellents that have been proven effective in eliminating the majority of the pests and are safe for your family when applied by a trained professional. Before investing in spraying, find out if your community has a mosquito abatement district and solicit their feedback. Homeowners in some areas may be able to have their yards treated for free or at a low cost.
If your area does not have a mosquito abatement district, hire a professional to apply mosquito spray. The best mosquito control companies will inspect your landscaping, make recommendations, and create a mosquito control plan tailored to your specific property. They will return after spraying the landscape to ensure that the chemicals are effective. Keep in mind that a professional pesticide company should have a plan in place to protect non-targeted insects such as bees and butterflies.
Observe the Light
Citronella candles have long been used to repel mosquitoes, but other types of light can also aid in mosquito control in the backyard. Consider installing so-called “bug lights” in place of your outdoor lightbulbs. These special bulbs are yellow and emit light at a wavelength that repels bugs. Although these lights will not keep mosquitoes away on their own, they can help prevent large swarms of bugs that occur around lights and reduce the number of mosquitoes near you.
Biting insects can also be kept at bay with bug repellent lanterns. When turned on, these butane or battery-powered lanterns emit repellent, providing light for your evening activities while also repelling bugs. However, stay away from so-called “bug zapper” lights. They have no discernible effect on the number of mosquitos in the yard and actually kill more beneficial insects.
The most effective mosquito control in your backyard necessitates a multifaceted approach. The best way to keep them away is to be diligent about removing standing water, but if that isn’t enough, more aggressive methods may be required. If you take these steps, you will be able to effectively reduce the number of mosquitos in your yard while still enjoying your time outside this summer.