Preventing Mosquitoes

Home & Family, Outdoors
on May 2, 2012

Mosquitoes can quickly ruin a day or evening of fun in the back yard. Slapping at the pests is not a good way to prevent annoying and sometimes painful bites. Fortunately, several tips and strategies can be employed to reduce the number of mosquitoes living in your yard.

No standing water. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. One of the best ways to reduce your mosquito population is to eliminate standing water from your yard. Standing water in a child’s wading pool, birdbath, fire pit and any unused flowerpots may become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Fight mosquito breeding by emptying open containers and fire pits after a rainstorm. Change the water in the wading pool or the birdbath twice weekly to keep it mosquito-free. You can’t eliminate standing water from a rain barrel, but you can keep a screen over the water and then cover it tightly with a lid. Also, keep a close eye on pet water bowls; changing the water daily can keep mosquitoes out of it.

Fix drainage problems. The Department of Entomology, North Carolina Cooperative Extension suggests correcting drainage problems to keep mosquitoes at bay. Gutters clogged with leaves, twigs and debris prevent rainwater from properly draining. Stagnant water in the gutter can become a place for mosquitoes to breed. Keep gutters cleared, especially after big storms, which may blow debris into the gutter, causing clogs. Fix any drainage issues in the yard, such as holes or low-lying lawn or garden spots. Water can collect in these places, as well as in ditches along driveways or roads.

Chemical and non-chemical solutions. Chemical repellants such as foggers or sprays may temporarily reduce the presence of mosquitoes in a back yard. This can be a tactic used prior to a backyard party, but is not a long-term solution for reducing mosquitoes around your home. Citronella candles may be used as a temporary solution as well. The Mayo Clinic says natural control may help with mosquito prevention. This can include providing nesting sites for birds such as Purple Martins, a bird that eats mosquitoes. Bats also eat mosquitoes, but may not be the best solution for many back yards.

Zappers, traps do not work. According to the Department of Entomology, North Carolina Cooperative Extension bug zappers, certain mosquito-repellant plants and traps using radiant heat, carbon dioxide or octenol do not help reduce mosquitoes in the yard.

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