It’s a warm, sunny Saturday in Orlando, the pool is beckoning, and the last thing you want to do is swat mosquitoes as you flip-flop your way to the pool. Orlando may be the perfect climate for heat and humid-loving skeeters, but they don’t have to ruin your weekend. Take back your swim time with our five simple ways to keep mosquitoes away from your Orlando pool:
1. Build a Pool Enclosure
Perhaps the easiest (though not the cheapest) way to maintain a pest-free pool is to enclose it. Pool enclosures are popular throughout Central Florida for many reasons:
- Keep bugs, dirt, and debris at bay
- Mesh pool enclosures allow for some ventilation
- Solid pool enclosures help regulate the temperature and lower UV exposure
- Prevent extra cleanup after a hurricane
Worried about Spot or Fluffy’s access to the backyard? That’s not a problem: You can have a pet door built in for easy access in and out of the enclosure.
2. Eliminate Mosquito Nesting Sites
The biggest invitation to female mosquitoes in your yard is stagnant water. Female mosquitoes need only a teaspoon of water (a bottle cap’s worth) in which to lay their eggs. So, any amount of still water screams “larvae nursery” to a female mosquito.
Here are a few ways to get rid of standing water on your property:
Clean Up Fallen Leaves and Debris
Some fallen leaves and palm fronds provide just enough of a boat shape to collect water and provide a nesting site.
Empty Anything That Holds Water
There are a multitude of places where water can collect in your Orlando lawn. With all of that rain, extra vigilance is needed to ensure the elements in your lawn will not collect water. An alternative to emptying these items every few days is to eliminate them from your yard completely.
Here are a few examples of items that will hold water in your lawn:
- Planting pot saucers
- Bird baths
- Plants (bamboo, bromeliads, and other water-holding plants)
- Water bowls for pets
- Tires: Drill holes along the bottom, put them in a shed, or take them to the recycling center
Don’t Forget the Gutters
Clogged gutters hold water and make an ideal mosquito egg-laying site.
Add Bti to Places that Can’t be Emptied Often
Standing water in bird baths, bamboo, bromeliads, and other plants should be emptied every three to four days during the warm months. If you don’t have time for that, consider using Bti granules or dunks.
Bti, short for Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis, is a bacterial larvicide, which means it kills mosquito larvae. Granules last for 7-14 days, and dunks are good for about one month.
If you have drainage ditches that hold water, Bti dunks will control the larvae population there, too.
Cover Storage Containers and Openings
If a teaspoon of water is enough for hundreds of eggs, imagine what a large water storage container can produce. Cover, empty, or fill these containers to prevent untold numbers of future mosquitoes in your landscape.
- Septic tanks, rain barrels, and cisterns should be covered at all times to prevent mosquitoes from nesting there.
- Temporary water storage containers, such as kid or pet pools should be emptied after each use.
- Tree cavities can also hold water. Fill with expandable foam to prevent this.
- Any uncovered plumbing pipes that come out of the ground should be covered with fine mesh (16-mesh screen) to keep the skeeters out.
In sum, keep the pool area landscaping clean and tidy, without standing water, and you’ll prevent your lawn from becoming a mosquito breeding ground.
3. Spray Adult Mosquitoes as a Last Resort
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, but where do they go the rest of the day? They’re probably right in your yard, relaxing in a shady area against the house or underneath your bushes.
The solution? Many homeowners hire a company to spray a chemical pesticide that will kill adult mosquitoes (called an adulticide).
Before you make that appointment, the National Wildlife Foundation urges homeowners to think twice. Insecticides that you spray on your shrubs and other foliage kill not only mosquitoes but other beneficial invertebrates as well.
The following insects are a sampling of those that are killed or harmed by insecticides:
- Honey bees
Even residual amounts cause harm to these sensitive insects and pollinators and the animals, such as birds, that eat them. Aquatic animals, pets, and people can also suffer ill effects from these insecticides.
What about organic sprays?
Organic sprays are a natural way to treat mosquitoes. These sprays are often made from essential plant oils or garlic and are a better alternative than pesticides. However, they should not be sprayed when bees are active (daytime) and should not be sprayed on flowers, where bees and other insects visit.
The better option is to use preventative mosquito control measures:
- Eliminate nesting sites
- Avoid being outside during dawn or dusk
- Wear long sleeves and pants to prevent mosquito bites
- Use insect repellent
- Practice wildlife-friendly yard care to encourage animals that eat mosquitoes, including Gambusia fish in ponds, native spiders, dragonflies, and bats
Use adulticides or natural sprays only as a last resort for the health of people, pets, and the insects that call your yard home.
Pro Tip: Instead of spraying a pesticide, why not spray a mist of cool air instead to keep your guests comfortable? Misting fans are all the rage, and mosquitoes aren’t strong flyers, so fans naturally push them away from an area. The mist is completely optional; any old fan will do the trick and keep mosquitoes away.
4. Keep Your Pool Clean
A clean pool that is ready for swimming is the best method of mosquito prevention. A swimming pool maintenance schedule will look something like this:
- Clean the skimmer and pump baskets
- Run your filter 12 hours per day during the hot months (break this up into two or three sessions). This keeps the water moving, which is so important to prevent mosquitoes from nesting there.
- Brush the pool and skim leaves every day
- Vacuum the pool
- Check the chemical levels once or twice per week
- Shock your pool
- Maintain the alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels
- Clean the filters and maintain the PSI
To sum it all up: Keep your pool water clean and moving to prevent a mosquito problem in your pool.
5. Cover Your Pool
Covering your pool with a pool cover is a great way to keep mosquitoes at bay, particularly in the off-season or when you’re on vacation. Pool covers mean less dirt and debris in the pool, which means less work for you, and they also keep out unwanted critters and insects.
You may need to buy a pool cover pump to drain collected water and keep the pool cover mosquito-free.
If you’re itching for more, check out our article How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Orlando for more ways to repel mosquitoes in your yard. Or, if those pesky water bugs just won’t say adiós, we know just How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in Your Orlando Pool.
Mosquitoes are only a drop in the bucket when it comes to Orlando pests. Thankfully, Orlando pest control companies know just how to take down even the most persistent crawling creatures. Contact one of Orlando’s pest control professionals to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
If it’s more pool maintenance that you loathe, one of LawnStarter’s pool pros is ready and able to keep your pool blue and sparkling all summer long.