The Best Backyard Mosquito Control Tips

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Along with hot sunny days, swimming and picnics, mosquitoes seem to be an inevitable part of summer. They would be bad enough if the only problems they caused were annoying buzzing and itchy bites. Unfortunately, they also carry a number of serious human and animal diseases worldwide including:

  • Malaria
  • West Nile Virus
  • Dengue
  • Yellow fever
  • St. Louis encephalitis
  • Dog heartworm
  • A few varieties of equine encephalitis.

Some simple measures on your part will control mosquito populations on your property and reduce your chances of bites and disease exposure.

Backyard Mosquito Control

Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so if you've got water pooling up anywhere on your property it will contribute to an increasing mosquito population. To keep the numbers of mosquitoes in your yard to an absolute minimum:

  • Repair any outside dripping faucets.
  • Inspect your yard for standing water. Even a tiny pool of water can bring mosquitoes. Dump out any standing water you find and continue to monitor your yard regularly.
  • Remove any unnecessary items from your property that are collecting standing water such as birdbaths, pet dishes, buckets, tin cans, overturned trash can lids and shallow ponds with no fish. Turn over canoes and small boats, be sure any tarps you have out are arranged so they don't collect water and clean out clogged gutters.
  • Treat or remove any lagoons or sewage leaks.

Controlling Mosquitoes In Ponds, Pools & Other Water Features

Not all water on your property is something you'll want to, or should get rid of. Perhaps you have a koi pond, swimming pool, catch basin or irrigation ditch in your yard. To control mosquito population in your necessary water areas:

  • Check for and remove any standing water in your pool cover.
  • If you have a pond, stock it with fish that eat mosquito larvae.
  • Keep catch basins free of debris and enhance drainage in irrigation ditches.
  • Check ponds and other water areas regularly for signs of mosquito larvae.
  • Try vegetable based horticultural oils that effectively kill mosquito larvae and sink surface egg rafts. Species include mosquitofish, koi and shubunkins.
  • A product called Mosquito Dunks, made from a strain of bacteria, is very effective at killing larvae when they ingest it. Available at hardware and garden stores, this product is safe to use in birdbaths, rain barrels, tree holes, unused swimming pools, ponds and roof gutters.

Mosquito Control Products & Natural Repellants

Even if they aren't breeding on your property, airborne mosquitoes will eventually find their way to your home. Here are some ways to discourage them from hanging around:

  • Screens: Keep window and door screens in good repair, and always keep them closed so mosquitoes can't get into your house. Consider screening in open porches.
  • Citronella: Try lighting specialized candles or torches in the areas of your yard where you are spending time. Some brands also offer clip-on personal mosquito repellants.
  • Wind: Mosquitoes dislike windy conditions, so a portable fan on your porch or patio will keep them at a distance.
  • Natural repellants: Apply new, all-natural granular products to your lawn and keep mosquitoes away for weeks. Since these products are made of herbs such as lemon grass, garlic and mint, they'll leave your yard smelling really nice too.
  • Mosquito Traps: Put some traps in your yard to reduce the population.
  • The mosquito magnet: This is a machine that burns propane to send a stream of carbon dioxide. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide and then sucked into a net and killed. One mosquito magnet can control the mosquito population on an entire acre of property.

Protecting Yourself from Mosquitoes

For an effective battle plan against mosquitoes, you'll need to protect your body as well as your property. These strategies will help keep mosquitoes at bay whether you are at home or on the go:

  • Cover as much exposed skin as is practical when working or playing outdoors. This might include wearing long pants, long sleeves, shoes, socks or even a hat.
  • Try out clothing that has mosquito repellent right in the fabric. These garments should be effective through several washings.
  • Give the Bug Baffler shirt a try. Made of very fine mesh, it protects against mosquitoes and is comfortable on hot days.
  • Neem oil cream is considered an effective natural mosquito repellent.
  • Try natural herbal mosquito repellant creams and lotions.
  • Make your own natural mosquito repellant by adding 10 drops of certain essential oils to two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Essential oils found effective at repelling mosquitoes include: marigold, feverfew, thyme, lemon balm, onions, cloves, peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, geranium, garlic, lemongrass, cedar wood, eucalyptus and frankincense.

Many experts advise avoiding commercial repellents containing DEET because this chemical and others used in combination with it have been linked to serious health effects in some individuals, particularly children.

Stop annoying bites and potential diseases by trying one or several of these tactics for backyard mosquito control.

Last Updated: July 11, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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