Looking to reclaim your space from annoying mosquitoes? This comprehensive guide will show you how to get rid of mosquitoes to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile or Zika virus. From proactive prevention methods to effective elimination strategies for both indoors and out, we’ve got you covered.
- How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Outside
- How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House
- About Mosquitoes
- FAQ About Mosquitoes
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Outside
Mosquitoes are usually the most annoying when you’re trying to enjoy your yard. Prevent mosquitoes from breeding and protect yourself from bites with these outdoor strategies.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, and their larvae feed on the algae and organic material that grow in puddles. So, getting rid of stagnant water is the first step in eliminating mosquitoes.
It only takes a thimble-sized amount of water for eggs to hatch. Even raindrops collected on a leaf can be enough. Even though you can’t eliminate all the moisture in your yard, you can minimize mosquito breeding by following these steps:
- Water your lawn the proper amount so excess water doesn’t pool.
- Clean gutters at least twice a year so they don’t hold water.
- Install a pump on decorative ponds or fountains to keep the water moving.
- Drain birdbaths weekly and wash them with soap and water.
- Empty saucers beneath flower pots.
- Don’t leave pet water bowls sitting outside.
- Bring inside before it rains: Buckets, children’s toys, and anything else that might collect water.
- Keep rain barrels closed with a lid or covered with fine mesh.
- Change the water weekly in potted aquatic plants.
- Keep pools properly chlorinated, or empty them when not in use.
- Remove old tires from the yard.
- Put the trash in plastic bags and keep the bin closed with a lid.
It’s simple: The less standing water in your yard, the fewer mosquitoes you’ll have to deal with this summer. You don’t have to do this every day, but remember, the mosquito life cycle, from egg to adult, can take from 4 days to a month.
If it’s been a wet spring and you suspect adult mosquitoes have converted your yard into breeding grounds, larvicides are your best defense. These are applied directly to the water where hatchlings may be waiting, preventing them from ever reaching adulthood.
The most useful larvicide products are disc-shaped mosquito dunks containing Bti, a natural bacterium that kills mosquito larvae but doesn’t harm other living things. Drop a mosquito dunk into standing water, and it will stay afloat, slowly dissolving and distributing the Bti.
Warning: Remember, larvicides are for use in bodies of water that can’t be easily emptied. However, you should never use larvicides in water meant for drinking.
Keep Mosquito Spray Handy
When you’re stocking up for your next barbecue, don’t forget to grab plenty of insect-repellent sprays. Look for products containing picaridin or DEET, which are registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Avoid repellents with permethrin, which are typically used for treating clothing but can’t be used directly on the skin.
Keep in mind that most repellents, even the safe ones, contain chemicals and should be used with caution. Always follow the instructions on the label. If you want a chemical-free option, look for natural repellents with oil of lemon eucalyptus or citronella.
Warning: Some repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be applied on children under three years old, according to the EPA.
Use Foggers for Large Areas
If you’re hosting a big party or event, you might want to use a mosquito fogger, a machine that creates a mist of insecticides to kill any mosquitoes in the vicinity. Foggers are generally considered the best mosquito repellents for yards because they cover a larger area than aerosol sprays.
You can purchase a mosquito fogger at your local home supply store. Pick up a fogger before any big summer event and fog your backyard on the day for up to 12 hours of coverage (depending on the specific product you use).
There are many mosquito fogger machines available. Choose the one that fits your needs the most, considering the power source, portability, capacity, and noise level.
Hang a Few Zappers
Emitting an irresistible UV light, bug zappers invite mosquitoes to their death. Place zappers around your outdoor space, and they’ll electrocute any insect that comes near.
While mosquito zappers target mosquitoes, they can also attract and kill other beneficial insects like butterflies and pollinators, disrupting the ecosystem. In addition, limited scientific evidence supports the claims that it kills female mosquitoes (the dangerous ones).
Invite Natural Predators
Instead of commercial mosquito-killing products, you can introduce or invite natural predators into your yard to hunt down mosquitoes. Try attracting birds, frogs, dragonflies, damselflies, or spiders, all of which prey on mosquitoes. Or set up a bat house in your backyard.
Here are some effective allies in the battle against mosquitoes:
- Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis): These small, hardy fish feed on mosquito larvae, making them an excellent addition to ornamental ponds or other bodies of water on your property.
- Birds: Swallows, purple martins, and migratory songbirds are known to feed on mosquitoes and their larvae. Attracting these birds to your yard by providing suitable habitats, such as nesting boxes or bird feeders, can create a natural mosquito control system.
- Amphibians: Frogs and toads are beneficial animals that also eat mosquitoes once in a while.
- Insects: Dragonflies and damselflies are natural mosquito predators. By creating a welcoming environment with suitable vegetation, water sources, and shelter, you can encourage these beneficial creatures to take up residence and feast on mosquitoes.
While inviting natural predators can help to some extent in reducing mosquito populations, it’s important to note that their efficacy may be limited.
Plant Floral or Herbal Deterrents
Another option can combine beautiful plantings and delightful scents. Many scented plants that are pleasant for humans are overwhelming for mosquitoes.
Some of the best pest-repelling plants for your garden include:
Disclaimer: There is limited scientific data to support the claims that installing these plants in your yard can deter mosquitoes. But if you still wish to harness the potential benefits, crushing these plants’ leaves releases essential oils that mosquitoes don’t like, and you can use that to rub on your skin.
Install an Outdoor Mosquito Net
If you find yourself dreading the outdoors during the summer months due to the constant swarm of insects, installing a mosquito net could be the answer you’ve been seeking. Whether you have an outdoor kitchen area or a cozy patio, a mosquito net can provide much-needed relief from pesky intruders and allow you to fully enjoy your outdoor space.
You can choose from a wide range of ready-made mosquito nets available in various sizes and styles, or you can opt for a custom-made net tailored specifically to your outdoor area.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House
Mosquito bites are bad enough when you’re outside, in their territory, but they’re even more annoying when the mosquitoes encroach on your home and there’s nowhere you can go to get away from them. Here’s what you can do to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Install Door and Window Screens
Installing screens on windows and doors is one of the best ways to keep mosquitoes away from your home. Not only do these screens keep pesky mosquitoes from sneaking inside, but they also allow fresh air to flow freely, creating a comfortable and insect-free environment.
To ensure optimal protection, it’s essential to regularly inspect your screens for any holes or tears. Mosquitoes are experts at finding even the tiniest gaps to squeeze through. Patch up any damaged areas promptly to maintain the integrity of the screen barrier.
Make a DIY Mosquito Repellent
If you don’t want to spray chemical mosquito repellents or insecticides indoors, you can try making a chemical-free DIY mosquito spray for indoor use.
DIY mosquito-repellent recipe:
- 40 drops of essential oil such as eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil, camphor oil, tea tree oil, or basil oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or 1/3 cup witch hazel.
Combine these ingredients in a spray bottle and spray the mixture around your home. Homemade mixes will be effective for a few hours but will need to be reapplied.
Set a Few Traps
There are a lot of different mosquito traps you can try indoors, and they’re available everywhere, from Amazon to the store down the street. Some are sticky pads, and some are vacuums that suck the mosquitoes inside. Your choice depends on how much space you have and how much money you’re willing to spend.
The best place to put mosquito traps is in high-traffic areas where you’re likely to find mosquitoes, like beside the front door or bedroom window.
Light Candles and Coils
Lighting candles and using mosquito coils can be effective weapons in your arsenal. These items work by releasing fragrances that repel mosquitoes, creating a barrier of protection. Here’s what you need to know:
- Mosquito coils are spiral-shaped incense made with ingredients such as pyrethrum, a natural insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. When lit, the coil slowly burns, releasing smoke that repels mosquitoes. Place these coils in appropriate holders, and position them strategically to maximize their effectiveness.
- Citronella candles are another popular choice for repelling mosquitoes. These candles are infused with a natural mosquito-repellent oil that they find unpleasant. When burned, the candles release the scent, acting as a deterrent for mosquitoes in the vicinity.
Note that while candles and mosquito coils can help deter mosquitoes, their effectiveness may vary depending on factors such as wind direction and the size of the area you’re trying to protect.
Use Air Conditioning and Fans
Air conditioning and fans can be valuable allies in getting rid of mosquitoes. By creating a cooler and drier environment, these devices make it less enticing for mosquitoes to stick around. Here’s how air conditioning and fans can help repel mosquitoes:
- Fan circulation: Mosquitoes are not strong fliers and rely on still air to move around effectively. By using a fan, you create a breeze that disrupts their flight path and makes it harder for them to land on their intended targets.
- Dispersing the trail: The circulating air also disperses the carbon dioxide trail we emit, making it more challenging for mosquitoes to locate us.
- Cool and dry: Mosquitoes thrive in warm and humid conditions. Air conditioning systems cool down the air and reduce humidity levels, creating an environment that mosquitoes find less favorable.
Apply Indoor Insect Sprays
When faced with a mosquito invasion inside your home, indoor insect sprays can come to the rescue. These sprays are specifically designed to target mosquitoes and other pesky insects. There are two main types of indoor insect insecticides:
- Foggers or aerosols release a fine mist that fills the room, reaching nooks and crannies where mosquitoes may be hiding. It is important to note that foggers typically require everyone to leave the treated area until the spray has dried.
- Sprays allow for more targeted application and can be used on surfaces where mosquitoes like to rest.
Remember to target resting areas: Mosquitoes seek out cool, dark, and humid spots to rest during the day, such as closets, showers, under sinks, counters, tables, and behind furniture.
Warning: It’s crucial to carefully read and follow the instructions provided on the product label. Each insect spray has specific directions for application, safety precautions, and recommended dosage.
Mosquitoes are tiny, flying insects belonging to the family Culicidae. There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world. They are known for their distinct buzzing sound and slender bodies, long legs, and wings. Let’s delve into some facts about mosquitoes:
The mosquitoes that bite are all females, who need the nourishment to develop eggs. While feeding on blood, the female transfers her saliva, which causes the itchy reaction.
Though they live for only about a week, adult female mosquitoes can lay as many as 10 broods of up to 500 eggs in that time. This rapid life cycle and reproduction is what makes mosquitoes so difficult to manage.
In the continental U.S., the most common disease spread by mosquitoes is West Nile virus. However, when traveling to different regions, especially tropical areas, there is an increased risk of encountering mosquitoes that transmit diseases like dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria, Zika virus, and more.
FAQ About Mosquitoes
“Mosquito season” typically begins in spring and tapers off in fall, as mosquitoes prefer warm temperatures. The first freeze of the year, followed by temperatures consistently below 50 degrees, will be the end of mosquito scourges until next spring. As for the time of day, mosquitoes are most active in the evening.
Yes, mosquitoes tend to avoid smoke. So, if you’re planning a bonfire, you probably won’t have to worry about mosquitoes crashing the party – as long as you stay near the fire. Wander out of range of the smoke, and you’re fair game for hungry, hungry mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can’t bite you if they can’t reach your skin. So, here are a few tips on how to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes through your clothing:
● Opt for loose-fitting garments, since mosquitoes can still bite through tight clothing.
● Covering your arms and legs with long-sleeve shirts and long pants can effectively minimize the exposed skin available for mosquitoes to target.
● Using socks is a smart move to protect your feet and ankles, as mosquitoes often target these areas.
● Opt for light-colored clothing since mosquitoes are attracted to dark and bold colors.
When to Call a Mosquito Control Professional
The good news is that you don’t have to keep slapping yourself and scratching your ankles all summer long. Many products are available to keep mosquitoes away from your backyard party, but if there’s an infestation, don’t hesitate to call a pest control pro.
Pest control experts work indoors and out, and they’re versed in the safest and most effective ways to address your mosquito problem. Those little flying invaders might show up uninvited, but at least you can show them the door.
LawnStarter writer Alison Hoover contributed to this article.
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