Mosquitoes are troublesome tiny creatures that can wreak havoc in your home if you do not have measures in place to control them. Not only is their buzz irritating but they cause nasty bites, and they are notorious for spreading diseases that can be life-threatening, serious and neurological.
Mosquitoes are also harmful to livestock and pets. For instance, it causes heartworms in dogs and other dangerous illnesses that can as well be spread to humans.
To have the upper hand in your battle towards reducing these pesky insects from your outdoor space, you need to understand their life-cycle and other related issues. These consists of how they breed, their habitats, times of the year when they are prevalent and various factors that support their breeding.
For starters, you need to be conscious of your surrounding areas. Do you have stagnant water in your compound? Do you tend to your lawn often to reduce chances of it being a habitat? Do you tip over containers that can accumulate water? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself. Most of us are our enemies because we barely start by protecting ourselves even at the most basic level. Start with these measures before you explore other backyard mosquito control techniques.
Mosquitoes breed in no time, once a female mosquito mates with a male mosquito it is only a matter of time before it hatches eggs. It takes 10 to 14 days for mosquito larvae to mature and become an adult and within two days it is ready to breed. Their short life-cycle span explains why they multiply faster making it more important to focus on finding a long-term strategy for greater effectiveness.
Humid and hot weather conditions accelerate their breeding. Mostly, during summer, a slight rise in temperature is enough to increase their populations. Therefore, your outdoor living area may not be a peaceful place to relax and mostly if you have trees and plantations that create shade – where mosquitoes get shelter from the scorching sun.
- Techniques for Backyard Mosquito Control
- Long-Term Control Strategies
- Short-Term Strategies
Techniques for Backyard Mosquito Control
Numerous ways to rid your patio or deck of mosquitoes are available in the market. These techniques vary and you need to factor in these issues before you choose the strategy that best suits you:
- The area you intend to cover
- The cost of the control method you choose and its maintenance
- The impact of the control measures to you and the environment.
Once you have established these facts, it is time to look into the control strategies that can either be short term or long term. On the other hand, you can opt for a DIY control or a professional control where you hire contractors to get the job done, the same way you may seek landscaping services.
Eco-friendly control measures are also available. These are methods that seek to keep the mosquitoes at bay while still maintaining the natural balance of the environment. Although mosquitoes are merciless on humans, they play a vital role in the ecosystem. They support other animals that feed on them like fish, frogs, spiders, and more since they are at the bottom of the food chain. Thus, eradicating them (though almost impossible) can disrupt the ecosystem.
Long-Term Control Strategies
These are the methods that have been tried and tested, and they are recommended for a more prosperous battle against mosquitoes.
Mosquito traps are high-tech machines that trap mosquitoes by mimicking certain aspects of humans. Also known as mosquito magnets, mosquito traps emit a consistent stream of carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture that are the critical ingredients in attracting mosquitoes. Once the mosquitoes come around, they enter inside where the device holds them by a net or traps them on a stick surface until they dehydrate and die. It is effective for 1-Acre size of land.
Some traps suck in mosquitoes using propellers, and others use a vacuum. The unit usually comes with a gas cylinder that is responsible for the production of carbon dioxide.
Proper maintenance is vital for a more extended use. Despite the fact that it is built with a durable plastic material, frequent replacements of the net bait, the gas tank, or the sticky surface are crucial for better performance.
The downside to its use is that it is only efficient in the slow-moving wind, but windy conditions make it less effective. Also, for highly infested areas, it may not make a significant impact as you may find yourself swatting more mosquitoes than it traps in a day.
These are natural treatments that target and kill mosquito larvae. Dunks are harmless to other beneficial animals like birds, pets, fish or wild animals because they are made out of edible substances.
If you have ornamental ponds, bird baths, or any landscape hydroponic systems, you should use dunks in such areas. Remember also to use them in any place that collects water. Dunks cover up to 100 square feet, and they can offer protection that lasts 30 days.
This technique gets the job done pretty much with its long-lasting performance, and it ensures that mosquitoes are almost non-existent.
This product will bring back your yard, and you will enjoy meals in the summer and get-together with friends and family without any claustrophobic feelings.
If you are environmentally conscious, mosquito dunks may not sit well with you. Dunks kill mosquito larvae which dragonflies depend on for survival. When you take out the dragonflies’ source of food, you also reduce the populations of dragonflies which in turn disrupts the ecosystem.
Another concerning issue about mosquito dunks is that they are advertised as small-sized disks, on the contrary, they are big approximately 5.5 cm. It can be unsettling if you want the dunks to be unnoticeable. Also, it may leave residue in the water which you may need to empty.
From time immemorial, mosquito nets have been an all-time favorite mosquito barrier for many people. They are vital for a restful sleep amid the buzzing of mosquitos. From traveling mosquito nets for use indoors and outdoors to traditional-purpose mosquito nets, mosquito nets are a protective shield from mosquito bites.
With different types available in the market, you are bound to keep away mosquitoes. You will find nets with a variety of suspension positions that you can hang in a wedge, ridge, or box style that better suits your sleeping style. These mosquito nets are versatile, and some are even pre-treated with Antimosquito chemicals that repel and kills mosquitoes if they land on them. However, chemically treated nets can be an irritant to sensitive skin, and some of the synthetics used have adverse effects on the environment.
When buying a mosquito net, you should consider the number of holes per square meter. Nets with finer holes keep off even the smallest mosquitoes while allowing sufficient ventilation. Steer clear of mosquito nets with large holes as mosquitoes can quickly pass through.
Mosquito Nets come in handy in the prevention of tropical diseases that can endanger your life. It is advisable to always sleep with a net and tuck it in well for maximum protection. You can also take it outdoors and shield yourself if you opt to relax outdoors.
Besides the nets offering protection, they can be an excellent addition that complements your home’s décor. These nets come in a variety of colors and gracious designs that make them worth every dime.
Misting systems are biodegradable chemical measures used to kill mosquitoes and other bugs in the outdoors. They come in two types: tankless systems and the others have tanks. The drum-based systems generate a steady mist only when triggered while the tankless mist units stores a mixture of the chemicals which it sprays when needed.
You can either operate misting systems with a remote controller or a switch depending on its design.
The chemicals the misting systems use have little toxins making it safe for humans and animals to inhale and get into contact. For the advanced models, they feature inbuilt wind sensors, leak detection and more.
Misting systems raise particular concerns. For instance, they can be misused if no one is monitoring them, they endanger useful insect species, they can be toxic if its instructions are not followed, and it can cause mosquitoes to be resistant.
To minimize the dangers of its use, it is vital that you comply with the safety regulations that it has. Otherwise, you have other options like the trap that is harmless to your health besides it being a viable solution.
5. Natural Plants
If you’re concerned about spraying chemicals in your backyard, there are certain plants that can keep pesky mosquitoes away, such as:
A culinary herb with an unmistakable woody scent. It’s the woody scent that keeps the mosquitoes away as well as carrot flies and cabbage moths.
Rosemary is easy to grow in your backyard or even in a container. It prefers hot and dry climates.
Citronella oil is commonly used in natural bug sprays and is the main ingredient in citronella candles designed to keep mosquitoes away.
Citronella grass can repel a variety of insects. It’s a low maintenance plant with a pleasant scent. It grows well in large containers if you don’t have the space to plant it in the ground.
When buying your plant, make sure that you purchase Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus. These are true varieties of the plant.
Part of the mint family, catnip grows abundantly as a weed or a commercial plant. It’s a low-maintenance plant that can easily take over your yard if you’re not careful.
The work to contain the plant is worth it, as it’s an amazing mosquito repellent.
Catnip may be the best backyard mosquito repellent. One study from Iowa State University found that catnip was ten times more effective than DEET, the most common chemical used in insect repellents.
Marigolds are an annual flower that’s easy to grow. Their striking appearance adds beauty to a garden, but they also emit a smell that deters mosquitoes.
Marigolds are easy to grow in containers, which means that you can easily place them along your patio to keep it bug-free. They’re also great at repelling aphids, whiteflies, thrips, squash bugs, tomato hornworms and Mexican bean beetles.
Lavenders are known for their relaxing fragrance, but it’s their strong smell that keeps mosquitoes – and even rabbits – away. Some believe that lavender oil hinders the mosquito’s ability to smell.
Lavender is a hardy plant that’s drought-resistant once it’s established. The plant thrives in well-draining soil and full sun. While it can grow in a variety of climates, lavender thrives in warm areas.
Another popular herb that keeps mosquitoes away. The plant’s pungent smell deters pests.
There are many types of basil, and they all work to repel insects. Basil grows best in well-draining, damp soil under full sun. You can plant this herb in a container or the ground.
Planning a backyard bonfire? Plant some sage nearby, and toss some leaves into the fire. The earthy smell will repel mosquitoes and other insects.
You can also dry out sage leaves, and use them to make your own homemade bug spray.
Mint is a natural, non-toxic way to repel mosquitoes and other insects, including flies and ants. Like other plants on this list, the pungent smell is what keeps pests away.
The stronger the smell, the greater the repellent. You can grow mint in pots or in the ground. Just keep in mind that mint will take over your yard if you don’t contain it.
Fresh mint can be used for cooking or beverages, and you can also dry the leaves and place them around your home as a natural pest control method.
Floss flower is an attractive plant that also grows well in containers. How does it keep mosquitoes away? It contains coumarin, which is a chemical that repels mosquitoes.
Be careful planting floss flower if you have pets or children – it’s toxic if ingested.
Scented geraniums are another popular mosquito-repelling plant. The lemon scent is similar to citronella grass, which keeps pests away. The plant has beautiful blooms that emit the strong bug-repelling fragrance. These plants are fast-growing, and they prefer warm, dry and sunny climates.
Plants are an effective way to keep the mosquito population under control without disturbing their lifecycle. Remember that mosquito larvae is an important food source for dragonflies. Plus, these plants also attract pollinators, which helps maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Fans can act as a short-term mosquito solution. You can create what they call air curtains using powerful fans known as air curtains. These blow a strong stream of air through a directed nozzle.
The air creates a barrier that will keep a variety of insects away, including mosquitoes. You see, mosquitoes prefer still air and like to avoid windy conditions. The moving air from the fans will keep bugs away from your home.
The air circulation also diluates and disperses the carbon dioxide that you exhale, which is what attracts mosquitoes to you. They also help reduce lactic acid, sweat and body heat – other signals that mosquitoes use to find their victims.
Along with regular fans, you’ll also find misting fans for your backyard. These will keep you cool by spraying a fine mist of water into the air, and it will also keep those pesky mosquitoes away.
Air curtains can act as a long-term solution for backyard mosquito control, especially in areas where you’re entertaining, porches and patios. They can be placed above entryways, or around your patio and deck.
The only drawback with using fans is that they’ll increase your electricity bill each month. They’ll keep you and your guests cool, but you’ll pay a price for it.
7.Control Tall Grass and Shrubbery
If you want to keep mosquitoes out of your yard, you need to make it an inhospitable place. Mosquitoes love to rest in plants, tall grass and shrubs. When you walk through these patches of tall grass, you stir up the mosquitoes and they start biting.
Keep your grass cut short – at a length of 5 inches or less. Short grass will force mosquitoes to rest somewhere else.
Short grass won’t keep mosquitoes from breeding, but it will at least prevent them from pestering you when you’re out enjoying the yard.
8.Outdoor Bug Lights
Light attracts small bugs, which then attracts bigger bugs looking for a meal. Outdoor yellow bug lights may keep these smaller bugs away, which will also keep the bigger bugs at bay.
Bug lights are less visible to insects, so they won’t swarm to them. Not all insects will avoid these lights, but many of them will. Try combining these lights with other strategies on our list to enjoy a bug-free yard.
Repellent sprays are insecticides that have chemicals which are toxic to mosquitoes and other insects. Repellents are available for personal use, for use on clothing gear, spraying outdoors and for indoor spraying.
Repellents for personal protection come with varying concentrations of DEET. Although some may not have 100% DEET levels, they repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Too much DEET can cause adverse skin reactions, and it is good to stay safe. It is better to use them sparingly for each application.
Pregnant women and children are the ones on the receiving end of these products. In extreme cases, expectant women can threaten their baby’s life if they use repellents on bare skin, and kids can experience lethargy or headaches.
Some repellents have essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, clove, lavender, and extracts of orange which protect the skin against irritation while providing the needed protection.
Although repellents can protect for a short while, some can stay glued to your skin and trap insects that will stick with you. Most women have aversions to the use of repellents, the smell and their perceptions of such sprays put them off, and the same case is also not unknown to men.
2. Using Natural Predators
Mosquitoes are a delicacy for birds and bats. If you do not mind, you can encourage birds and bats to hover around your yard by providing bird feeders and constructing houses for the bats. Studies prove that one brown bat can consume up to 1000 mosquitoes in a day.
Dragonflies also feed on mosquitoes. You can attract them by filling a pond with water and including plants in it and around it. Plantations act as a cover. Add stones for the dragonfly to perch on. Dragonflies and mosquitoes alike lay their eggs on water, and for survival, dragonfly larvae are a natural predator of mosquito larvae.
However, the best natural mosquito predator is fish. Certain fish species like the bass, catfish, and goldfish devour mosquito larvae, but the most effective mosquito control fish is the Gambusia Affinis, better known as ‘mosquito fish.’
There are also specific plants like marigold, Citronella, Catnip, and Horsemint that are effective in keeping mosquitoes away. Nevertheless, they are ineffective in windy weather conditions. Either way, you can plant them in your yard and use it along with other means of reducing mosquitoes.
3. Sprays and Foggers
Mosquito spray is an effective way to keep these pests away from your backyard – and to kill them on contact. These are different from repellents, as they actually will kill mosquitoes.
The best mosquito repellent spray will contain potent insecticides that kill these pests as well as other insects. But it’s important to apply these chemicals carefully and according to the product’s directions. Otherwise, you may be putting your children and pets at great risk.
Ideally, mosquito yard spray should be directed at tall grasses, shrubs, flower beds, the underside of a deck or other areas where mosquitoes may rest. Invest in the best mosquito spray for yard, and you’ll see results right away.
Along with sprays, you’ll also find ready-to-use aerosols and foggers. Fogger machines release very fine droplets into the air, which eventually settle onto the foliage below. If you’re going to use a fogger machine, make sure that you follow the directions properly. Remember that you will be spraying chemicals into the air. You’ll want to keep your children and pet away until the product says it’s safe.
Environmentalists recommend using sprays and foggers as a last resort because they can also kill beneficial insects that get caught in the line of fire. Still, they’re an effective solution when the mosquito population gets out of control.
If you’re getting eaten alive within minutes of being outside, sprays and foggers are a practical, effective solution.
4. Citronella Candles and Buckets
Citronella oil is a popular and effective insect repellent. In fact, it has been listed by the FDA as a Generally Recognized as Safe biofungicide since 1948. The strong citrus scent of the plant masks the CO2 that we exhale, which attracts mosquitoes.
You can find candles and buckets that contain citronella oil. These can be placed virtually anywhere in your backyard to keep mosquitoes away. Lighting citronella candles will help distribute the oil’s scent, boosting its repelling abilities.
You’ll need to keep the candles and buckets of citronella close to where you’re sitting. But keep in mind that sitting too far away from the citronella will make it ineffective. The wind can also pull the scent far away, making you vulnerable to bites.
Still, citronella candles and buckets are an inexpensive way to repel mosquitoes, and they can easily be used in conjunction with other methods on our list.
To put up a decent fight against mosquitoes you have to be all-rounded for a satisfactory result. You should combine more than two strategies. For instance, you can use both the short term and long term methods.
Bug zappers that electrocute insects that are attracted to light are ineffective when it comes to mosquitoes. Therefore, you may need to use it with a repellent like citronella although it also has its limitations in high-speed winds.
Air fans are also temporarily effective at keeping mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes do not like the windy conditions that the nozzles of a fan generate, they prefer steady wind. You can use these during parties that you host in your yard for short-term protection.
Aside from the above, always trim weed and long grass that can be breeding areas of mosquitoes. Ensure that any items outside that can hold water including kids’ toys are dealt with, and for pools, you can use the mosquito dunks to prevent larvae from surviving in the water.
Now you are knowledgeable about the measures you can take to rid your backyard of mosquitoes. Strategize on the best solutions then launch an integrated attack against mosquitoes. It is the ideal way to reduce and control the dreadful mosquitoes.
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8 Best Mosquito Strategies - Backyard Mosquito Control Strategies
Mosquitoes are troublesome tiny creatures that can wreak havoc in your home if you do not have measures in place to control them. Not only is their buzz ir