People often joke that mosquitos are the state bird of summer. Of course, they do more than just buzz past your face and annoy you when you’re outside. Mosquitos draw blood, leave welts, and can even transmit horrible disease like the West Nile Virus and more.
While we will never be able to rid ourselves completely of mosquitoes, there are a few things you can do to keep them away from your yard.
Mow Your Lawn Short & Frequently
Mosquitoes will often hang out tall grass to avoid the heat of the day. They will even lurk there at night if there isn’t something to draw their attention away. This means that long grass encourages mosquito density, and can even help provide them with the moisture they need to infest a location.
Cutting your grass frequently and keeping the mower deck set low will do a long way toward discouraging their presence in your lawn. Though this will only have minimal effect if your neighbors are leaving their lawn long. So, if possible try to bring up lawn mowing at your next homeowner’s association meeting.
Prune Hedges & Trees To Reduce Shade
Mosquitoes often use shade to escape the midday heat of summer. This includes Hedges, bushes, and even the shade created by low-hanging tree branches. By keeping your hedges and bushes trimmed, you reduce the amount of friendly conditions that mosquitos use as shelter. Though here again, this is most effective when your neighbors are also joining in the process.
Remove All Standing Water
It can be easy to ignore that old bucket behind the garden shed, or that sandbox toy your kid keeps forgetting in the yard. Yet the presence of accessible standing water sources around your home will draw in mosquitoes. When standing water is left too long, it can actually give mosquitoes a place to lay their eggs.
By pouring out and cutting down these water sources, you are cutting the number of mosquitoes laying eggs around your yard. This simple practice will go a long way to reduce the ambient local mosquito population.
Treat All Of Your Water Features
Water features are popular additions to a lot of backyard landscaping concepts. Though here again, slow-moving water is just as good as standing water when it comes to mosquito breeding mediums. Foretunately, it’s possible to treat pools of water you can’t drain with substances that kill mosquito larvae.
All it takes is a small amount of a mosquito inhibitor like Agnique MMF mosquito larvicide in the water to prevent them infesting your landscaping water features with larvae. This essentially creates a thin layer that covers the surface, and will even suffocate the larvae of mosquitos as well as any other insects in the water. All without harming fish.
Other products like “Mosquito Dunk” can be used in slow-moving water features. This is a specially formulated doughnut-shaped briquette that produce a toxic bacterial spore that kills mosquito larvae. Yet it won’t harm fish or animals. A single briquette can last for up to 30 days. Though a larger landscaping water feature may require more briquettes.
Keep Any Fishponds Well-Stocked
If you have fish ponds in your landscaping, you can use them to your advantage. A lot of popular backyard fish species like goldfish, koi, minnows, and guppies will actively eat mosquito larvae in pools. Keeping the population of your backyard fishponds well-stocked helps kill unassuming mosquitoes before they get a chance to hatch. Female mosquitoes will then waste their egg production feeding your fish, rather than laying eggs in other more productive water sources.
Chlorinate Your Swimming Pool
As far as mosquitos are concerned, an untreated swimming pool is just as good as standing water when it comes to a place to lay eggs. By safely chlorinating your pool water hot tubs you change the chemistry into something that isn’t viable for mosquitos to use. You should also keep your pool or hot tub covered when not in use.
Change Out The Water In Birdbath’s & Small Fountains
Here again, mosquitos see small fountains, birdbaths, and wading pools as prime breeding grounds. Though, you don’t want to chlorinate these waters as it could poison the birds. Instead, it helps to get in the habit of pouring out small water features and bird baths every few days. This will reduce the breeding population and dry out any errant mosquito larvae that might have been recently deposited since the last time your poured it out. Then make sure to also wipe out the bottom of the birdbath or fountain to clear out any larvae that might be sticking to the bottom or the sides.
Use Bug Light Bulbs
There are several companies that make a special yellow light bulb that can keep bugs away outside. Installing these into your yard lights and motion lights during the summer will keep from drawing mosquitos, moths, and other nuisance insects when you are outside at night.
Have Your Yard Professionally Treated With Insecticide
Many professional extermination companies offer some type of strategic Mosquito Control process. Most of the time they won’t spray your property, but they will spray key areas like the foliage. It typically costs around $100 to do a small suburban lawn of half an acre or so and will last for well over a week. Some lawn care companies even offer discounts if you subscribe to their mosquito control spraying as part of their summer yard maintenance service.
Apply Lemon & Eucalyptus Oil In Key Locations
Lemon eucalyptus gives off an odor that acts as a natural insect repellent. If you’re looking for a more natural remedy that will keep mosquitoes away, you can apply it at key locations such as the posts under the deck, at the corners of your patio or near your landscaping water features. It gives off sharp-scented compounds proven to drive mosquitoes away, though it doesn’t last as long as other sprays.
Use Neem Oil Spray
Neem oil is another organic oil, that like lemon eucalyptus, contains compounds that insects heartily dislike. That means you can use it as an effective repellent. It’s created from evergreen neem trees, which are native to India and known for potent fruits and seeds. Mixing a couple of tablespoons of the oil in a sprayer with a little vegetable glycerin such as palm, soy or coconut oil will let you apply it in key locations to detract mosquitos.