If you have ever spent a summer evening in the open air, you probably know how much of a nuisance mosquitoes can be. Their relentless blood search and whining can easily make backyard parties, evening pool parties and tailgates a disaster.
Additionally, mosquitoes transmit deadly diseases ranging from the West Nile Zika virus to yellow fever. If pregnant, mosquito bites can cause serious birth defects.
Based on where you live, mosquitoes can be anything ranging from an occasional nuisance to a full-time bloodsucker.
Knowing how to keep mosquitoes away is a crucial step in safeguarding your lawn, landscape, and home. Fortunately, there are several safe and natural ways of getting rid of these pesky critters.
1. Get Rid of Their Breeding Zones
Mosquito larvae are invisible to the naked eyes and live in standing water. They eventually grow into the whining adult mosquitoes that suck your blood.
To thrive, larvae requires only a small amount of standing water – a water puddle on a discarded plastic bag is enough to house them. It takes about one week for the mosquito eggs to grow into adults. If such breeding areas are not controlled, your home’s mosquito infestation will worsen within no time.
You need to examine your yard and the surrounding area for any potential breeding sites. Get rid of water collected in garden pots, children’s toys, open garbage cans, barrels, buckets, old tires, and any other stagnant water points.
While you’re at it, check the drainage system of your property. Unclog your gutters and keep your backyard pond well-aerated. You can also introduce some goldfish to feed on the mosquito larvae.
If you have a swimming pool, make sure it’s well-chlorinated and its filters are fully functional. Stay on top of pool maintenance and regularly change the water in birdbaths.
Mosquito larvae can’t fly far. So by draining all their breeding zones, you will have significantly reduced their numbers on our property.
How to Kill Larvae on Your Homes’ Stagnant Waters
While preventing larvae by getting rid of stagnant water is important, you may not be able to drain away all the standing water for one reason or another. The following household items will safely kill all larvae in standing water.
- Oil: Use a thin coating of natural oils such as olive or vegetable oil on stagnant water to suffocate and kill the larvae. This method shouldn’t be used on large ponds or water bodies with fish.
- Apple cider vinegar: By adding apple cider vinegar to standing water, it will effectively kill the mosquito larvae in a few hours. For best results, add generous amounts – vinegar is edible and natural, making it harmless to the environment.
- Soap: Add a small amount of dishwashing soap or shampoo on standing water every day. For quick results, buy or make your own insecticidal soap.
- Bleach: Bleach isn’t environmentally friendly but can be used as a last resort to kill the mosquito larvae. Add a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of standing water. For continued protection, you can wipe your gutters with bleach so that even if rainwater stagnates on them, it’ll not be conducive for the larvae.
- Bacteria: Doughnut-shaped mosquito dunks contain bacteria that produce toxins to mosquito larvae. Each dunk is capable of treating a 100 square feet water surface and lasts up to a month, making it a cost-effective choice.
2. Include Natural Repellants on Your Landscape
DEET is a good mosquito repellant, but when used wrongly, it can cause health problems like hypertension, seizures, slurred speech, and bradycardia, more so to kids.
If you love spending time outdoors on your patio or deck, knowing how to keep mosquitoes away naturally is imperative. The potent fragrances of the following easy-to-grow plants are good natural mosquito repellants:
- Citronella grass: Citronella is lemon-scented and a commonly used natural ingredient in making mosquito repellants. It does best in large planters and garden pots, but doesn’t withstand frost. Citronella naturally releases pungent scents that deter animals such as the deer and ward off insects.
- Lavender: Lavender grows in warm areas – it’s tough and drought-resistant once it’s fully grown. It has a lovely fragrance (to humans) that repels mosquitoes from your home. Even better, it requires very little maintenance.
- Scented geraniums: The citric-like scent of these plants repel insects. It grows fast, blooms beautifully, and does well in most climatic conditions.
- Marigolds: This easy-to-grow annual flower emits a mosquito-repelling scent. You can plant it in pots or along vegetable garden borders.
- Catnip: Just like any other minty plant, catnip is a good mosquito repellant. It’s also easy to take care of, but can easily become invasive if neglected.
- Rosemary: Rosemary does well in hot dry areas and has a woody scent. Apart from warding off insects, you can artistically prune it for fence borders.
- Basil: All types of basil can be used for preventing mosquitoes in your home. They only need good drainage, enough water, and lots of sunlight to grow well.
3. Clean Up Debris
Some types of mosquitoes lay eggs in debris or damp soil.
Leaf piles and decaying logs are perfect breeding areas for these mosquitoes. So you may want to get rid of them as soon as possible. If there is a shade on your yard, you can consider trimming your trees to improve lighting and make your landscape less habitable by mosquitoes.
4. Light Mosquito-Repelling Candles
Some light candles contain mosquito-repellant essential oils like cloves, citronellas, peppermint, eucalyptus, rosemary, lemongrass, cedarwood, and lavender.
If you’re spending the night outdoors, consider using large candles as they’re long-lasting and more effective. Most candles repel up to 15-inch by 15-inch square foot areas. Locate your candles strategically so that you’re in the safe zone.
5. Set Mosquito Traps
To keep mosquitoes away from your patio or porch, you can use mosquito traps. These traps produce UV light or carbon dioxide to lure mosquitoes and kill them when they get into contact with them.
6. Use Outdoor Fans
By installing a fan in your outdoor porch or patio, you’ll make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly against the steady breeze. The fan also disperses the carbon dioxide emitted by people – mosquitoes are attracted to the warm air we exhale.
7. Install Bird Feeders
Some bird species like swallows, purple martins, and some migratory songbirds eat adult mosquitoes and their larvae. If you want to attract these birds to your home, hang a number of bird feeders on your yard and add some little grains to act as bait.
8. Avoid Using Beauty Products
Mosquitoes are fond of perfumes, cologne, lotion, hairsprays, and deodorants. If you must use beauty products when spending the night outdoors, consider using those with strong lavender, rosemary, basil, and eucalyptus scent to repel mosquitoes.
9. Use Garlic
Since mosquitoes are attracted by the air we breathe out, it’ll be wise to eat food with garlic when spending the night outdoors. The garlic masks the smell of exhaled carbon dioxide, keeping mosquitoes away (or not attracted to you).
10. Install Fine Mesh Screens on Your Windows
When it’s hot at night, keeping windows open is a good way of getting fresh, cool air for houses without ACs. However, this allows mosquitoes to invade your house and disrupt your sleep.
To prevent this, install bug-tight mesh screens (about 18x18strands per inch) on your windows to keep mosquitoes away and allow a cool breeze all night long.
Additional Tips on How to Keep Mosquitoes Away From Biting You – Short-Term Solutions
Some short-term solutions to your mosquito problem include:
- Use a mosquito net when sleeping.
- Spray a room with the appropriate insecticide 30 minutes before using it.
- Eat foods with vitamin B1 such as beef, liver, oranges, pork, seed, legumes, peas and eggs. Thiamine (Vitamin B1) produces a skin odor that’s repulsive to female mosquitoes.
- If you’ll spend the night outside the house, spray the backyard or porch with mosquito repellants the day before.
- Apply repellant lotions on your skin before going to bed.
- Wear lightweight and light-colored clothes when in mosquito-prone areas. Mosquitoes are less attracted to bright colors.
Keep Mosquitos Away from Your Home All Day Every Day
Now that you now know how to keep mosquitoes away from your home, you can effectively combat them.
However, these methods can be quite tiring. If you need help, contact a pest control professional near you. An exterminator will help you in inspecting hidden spots like gutters that collect standing water and give you recommendations to your specific mosquito problems.