Mosquitoes don't just create an annoying buzzing noise and cause itchy bites. Those insect pests can also carry diseases, such as the West Nile Virus. Don't let mosquitoes ruin your ability to enjoy your landscape and to do outdoor activities such as gardening safely and comfortably. Before turning to toxic pesticide sprays, try an all-natural remedy that will repel mosquitoes and protect your yard from their return.
Although people think of mosquitoes as flying pests, they actually start as squirming larvae that live in stagnant water. Eliminate all sources of standing water in your yard to break the mosquito life cycle and eliminate the adult population. Put away empty pots, wheelbarrows, rubber tires and other landscaping tools and containers that may collect and hold water when it rains or when you water your garden. Additionally, check gutters. When gutters get clogged, rainwater builds in them and becomes a teeming breeding ground for mosquitoes.
During the heat of the day, adult mosquitoes seek shelter in dense, shaded shrubbery and foliage. Clear out such dense growth to make the landscape inhospitable to mosquitoes, forcing them to seek more welcoming yards. Wipe a pair of pruning shears with rubbing alcohol to sterilize the tool, and then cut back shrub and tree overgrowth. Additionally, eliminate tall stands of weeds, which harbor mosquitoes and are often a source of other insect pests and plant diseases. The more air and light circulation that is in the landscape, the better the area will repel mosquitoes.
Several annual plants have pungent odors that may repel mosquitoes and also cover up the scent of humans to prevent mosquitoes from being attracted to the area. These plants include marigolds (Calendula officinalis), coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and basil (Ocimum basilicum). Plant mosquito-repelling annuals throughout the landscape, focusing on areas where you and your family or friends may congregate, such as among flowerbeds and near pathways. Consider placing repellent plants in pots to keep them on patios and decks.
The scent and smoke of citronella torches or citronella candles control and repel mosquitoes while adding a romantic flickering light to brighten the mood outdoors. Candles or torches work best on hardscapes, such as on concrete patios, where their open flames won't create a fire hazard in the landscape. Light the candles when you are outdoors or hosting friends or family outside, never leave the candles unattended and extinguish them as soon as people return indoors.
If all other methods fail to repel and reduce mosquito populations outdoors to your satisfaction, then use a mosquito trap. The device plugs into an outdoor electrical outlet or runs on batteries to burn propane and produce carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes. The device sucks the mosquitoes into a chamber, where they die. The trap needs to run nonstop for about one month to control mosquitoes effectively.
- Colorado State University Extension: Mosquito Management
- University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service et al.: The Best Way to Control Mosquitoes
- University of Kentucky: Mosquitoes -- Practical Advice for Homeowners
- The Old Farmer's Almanac: How to Deter Mosquitoes and Other Bugs
- Pesticides and You, Vol. 22, No. 2; Backyard Mosquito Management; Beyond Pesticides
- Houzz: Four Good Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Yard