Many welcome the warmer weather that accompany evenings outside relaxing in the rays of sunlight. However, a fight no one enjoys during a peaceful evening is the buzz and bite of hungry mosquitoes. These pests can quickly multiply and if steps are not taken to control their population, your summer relaxation can be put on hold.
Mosquito bites are not only itchy and irritating, they also pose a health risk. They can carry pathogens that cause disease. In this GrangeKnows article we’ll cover some simple, prevention techniques to control mosquitoes near your home.
There are dozens of types of mosquito treatments, however applying a few preventative techniques to your regular maintenance schedule can significantly decrease the number of mosquitoes able to reproduce and live near your home and property.
REMOVE STANDING WATER SOURCES
To reproduce, mosquitoes must lay their eggs in and around standing water. If you identify and eliminate stagnant water sources, you will reduce habitat where mosquito eggs can hatch and larvae can grow. Turn over water catching objects such as buckets, old tires, trash can lids and tarps. It only takes as little as one inch of standing water for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
CLEAN OUT THE GUTTERS
The gutters of many homes become clogged with leaves. Its easy to forget until the following winter once the rain returns, but it’s important to maintain gutters with regular cleaning. Without cleaning, water can buildup and ultimately provide the perfect habitat for mosquitoes.
CHANGE OUT WATER SOURCES
It’s important to change out sources of sitting water such as pet bowls, bird baths, plant containers and rain barrels weekly. Doing so interrupts the mosquito breeding process and prevents eggs in the water from reaching adulthood. Another ideal hatching habitat are unmaintained swimming pools. It’s important to keep up with a water treatment schedule, ensure all filters are working properly and maintain water circulation. Similarly, water features—such as ponds—can be set up with a fountain to increase water circulation. Trimming weeds from the edge and adding minnows, which will feed on mosquito larvae, can help control the pest population as well.
DRAIN WATER AND FILL UP LOW AREAS
Just as it’s essential to change out man-made water sources, addressing locations near your home where water can collect is equally important. Areas where water naturally accumulates after rainfall should be leveled out on the surface or filled with dirt.
REPLACE OUTDOOR LIGHTING
Like many insects, mosquitoes are attracted to lights. Specially designed bulbs called “bug lights” emit a different type of light than typical bulbs. The wavelength emitted is not as attractive to insects. Replacing your patio and outdoor lights with these may help to reduce the number of mosquitoes attracted in the evening and at night.
MOSQUITO REPELLING PLANTS
There are several varieties of plants mosquitoes tend to avoid. A completely natural method to discourage mosquitoes from your house can include plants specific to mosquito prevention:
- Tulsi (holy basil)
- Lemon Thyme
Planting these in high-traffic areas near your home will create a natural barrier of plant oils and fragrance to ward off mosquitoes. All these plants can be found in your local Grange Co-op nursery.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOSQUITOES
Mosquitoes are especially active at dawn and dusk. Protecting yourself by wearing long pants and sleeves if possible. Applying a mosquito repellent recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention will decrease your chances of being bitten.
Just like humans, animals and livestock can be affected by mosquitoes as well. We carry a variety of mosquito and fly sprays to help protect your pets and livestock.
For a non-toxic treatments to apply in any standing water, we recommend Mosquito Dunks. Available in two sizes, this mosquito control product kills mosquito larvae with BTI, a bacterium toxic only to their larvae. It kills within hours, and each treatment remains effective for up to 30 days for 100 square feet of surface water. This highly effective, low impact product is labeled for organic gardening by the USEPA and is non-toxic to other wildlife, pets, fish and humans.
Another similar—however not organic — product, Amdro Mosquito Bombs, works for up 64 days and treats up to 1,500 gallons of water. This product is ideal for larger water sites. The comparable product, intended for smaller water sites, isAmdro Mosquito Pellets. This product provides up to 30 days of protection and is to be used at 1 tbsp. for treatment of over 2,000 gallons of standing water.
CALL THE PROFESSIONALS
If you have tried these techniques and met with less success than what you are seeking, calling a trained professional is another option.
With so many water sources available around homes, it’s easy to see just how mosquitoes can become so numerous. Proper management of pests is most effective if done prior to serious infestation. Applying these methods of treatment can significantly decrease the mosquito population around your home. For answers to other questions you may have, visit your local Grange Co-op to speak with one of our Grange Experts.