Mosquitoes are an unpleasant side effect of summertime outdoor living. Backyard BBQs, swimming, picnicking, and late-night bonfires can be frustrating when mosquitoes arrive. But that high pitch buzz gives them away, and nothing is worse than laying in bed and hearing that in your ear. So let’s talk about mosquitoes and how you can hedge your bet in and around your home.
What is a mosquito?
Yes, we probably all know what a mosquito is, but did you know that about 200 species of mosquitoes in the United States live in specific habitats, exhibit unique behaviors, and bite different types of animals.? According to the EPA, Mosquito bites can cause skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the mosquito’s saliva, which causes the red bump and itching. But a more serious consequence of some mosquito bites may be the transmission of serious diseases and viruses such as malaria, dengue virus, Zika, and West Nile virus, which can lead to disabling and potentially deadly effects (such as encephalitis, meningitis, and microcephaly)
How to get rid of mosquitoes outside
Mosquitoes love damp places around your home with standing water where they can lay eggs. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage. Please don’t make it easy for mosquitoes to take up residence! According to the CDC, you can control mosquitoes outside your home with these easy steps:
- Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water, like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
- Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
- For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
- Use larvicides to treat large containers of water not used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
- If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vents or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Being vigilant is not a one-time exercise. Take the time before guests come for a BBQ or when you are making that bonfire to prepare the area for your family and guests. Professional pest control companies can fog for mosquitoes before significant events like graduation parties or bridal and baby showers.
Things to do to get rid of mosquitoes in and around your home.
Different species of mosquitoes prefer different types of standing water in the yard to lay their eggs. The presence of beneficial predators such as fish and dragonfly nymphs in backyard ponds helps keep these bodies of water relatively free of mosquito larvae.
However, portions of marshes, swamps, clogged ditches, temporary pools, and puddles around your home are prolific mosquito breeding sites. Other sites in which some species lay their eggs include:
- tree holes
- old tires
- potted plant trays and saucers
- plastic covers or tarpaulins
- and even places as small as bottle caps!
You can, for example, exclude mosquitoes from your home by using window and door screens. When outside, dressing in light-colored clothing, long pants, and long sleeves, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present, and taking other actions such as removing sources of standing water to prevent breeding can also help.
What can I use to get rid of mosquitoes?
“What gets rid of mosquitoes?” is a common question without a foolproof answer. There are all kinds of tricks and tips you can find on the internet, but prevention and diligence using the lists above are your best bet.
There are indoor traps to eliminate mosquitoes. Outdoor bug zappers attract moths and other bugs, not so much mosquitoes. Indoor mosquito traps don’t work well. Most use ultraviolet (UV) light to lure them in. The problem: Mosquitos aren’t attracted to UV light. Any mosquitoes that wander into a trap do so mainly by chance. (familyhandyman.com).
Getting rid of mosquitoes in your home naturally
Natural remedies for mosquito control can be hit or miss. Mosquitoes do not like smoke or the scent of fresh herbs, so throw a few in your backyard fire pit. Pick a few rosemary sprigs from your garden pot; we like the smell, but they do not. This Old House created a phenomenal list of indoor mosquito repellants:
- Candles: Burning lavender candles is a natural mosquito repellent that keeps mosquitoes away while making your home smell pleasant.
- Coffee grounds: Burn some coffee grounds in a coffee tray or egg carton; the smoke will repel these pests. Do this carefully in an area where it won’t cause damage or set off a fire alarm.
- Essential oils: These may not be as effective as traditional pesticides. Mix a few drops of lavender, lemon, or eucalyptus with one cup of water, pour it into a spray bottle, and shake. Be sure to patch test your oil first, and consult with a medical professional if you have questions.
- Mosquito traps: You can get a mosquito trap in several ways—order one online, buy one from the grocery store or hardware store, or even make your own with sugar water and yeast.
- Our foremost mosquito trap recommendations are the Katchy Duo Insect Trap, Zevo Flying Insect Trap, and GreenKeeper Stick Traps.
- Oscillating fans: Mosquitoes can’t fly well against the wind. Turn your fan on and watch the mosquitoes scatter and ultimately give up.
- Outdoor soap: Some outdoor soaps are specially designed to repel mosquitoes. After bathing with 100% natural, non-toxic soap such as Skin Armour Deep Woods Outdoor soap, the scent of your sweat will repel mosquitoes.
Professional mosquito treatments are available to keep your family and pets safe this summer.
A trained pest control technician should administer pesticides. We offer mosquito control applications, including organic and green solutions. As we approach Memorial Day and the kickoff to summer backyard and lakefront parties, remember that we can treat your area the day of the event to provide extra coverage. Ongoing monthly treatments are suggested. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a visit for a free estimate.