Home Remedies to Repel Mosquitoes
Nothing is more frustrating for a homeowner than to spend countless hours creating a perfect lawn and then to be chased indoors by swarms of mosquitoes. Fortunately, there a few simple steps that can keep your pest count down and ensure that you get the most use our of your yard.
The best way to keep your lawn free of mosquitoes is to stop them before they ever arrive. In most cases, mosquitoes do not travel long distances to feed, but seek food as close to their hatching grounds as possible. This means that most of the mosquitoes in your yard probably were hatched right on your own property.
The best way to prevent mosquitoes breeding on your property is to remove any standing water. Some prime culprits are old tires, plugged drains, cluttered gutters, watering cans, and leaky outdoor faucets. Water that has been standing for more than a week is almost guaranteed to be hosting mosquito larvae.
Mosquitoes will breed anywhere there is standing water, but they are especially prevalent in shaded areas. Remove low-lying brushes or other landscaping that creates a lot of shelter and shade close to ground. Additionally, keep your grass as short as possible to increase wind and sun exposure.
You can also use other wildlife to control mosquito populations. For instance, ornamental ponds tend to hold a large number of mosquito larvae, but you can stock these ponds with fish and small crustaceans that feed on the larvae to provide a natural method of pest control. Building bird or bat shelters can also invite mosquito predators to your property.
A simple, environmentally neutral way to discourage mosquitoes from coming to your yard is to change your outside lights. Many outside lights use primarily “white” light, which is similar to what indoor light bulbs produce. Unfortunately, these bulbs produce a lot of heat and light at just the levels that mosquitoes prefer. Instead, use LED lights or yellow “bug-lights,” which produce an amber colored light. This light is much cooler and of a lower frequency, and mosquitoes will feel less attracted to your home.
Bug zappers have gotten a reputation as the “man’s” method for getting rid of bugs. After all, what’s more manly than a large glowing electrode and the crackling of bug carcasses that reassures a home owner that their defense system is working. Unfortunately, bug zappers may actually do more harm than good. While they do kill bugs efficiently, they may actually attract more mosquitoes from neighboring yards than they actually kill. Additionally, they kill many beneficial bugs as well, including some that prey on mosquitoes, which may increase the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
There is a large market for citronella candles, particularly in the United States. However, research has shown that these candles do not affect mosquitoes any more than regular candles. It is not the smell of citronella that attracts mosquitoes toward the candle and away from people but rather the heat and carbon dioxide produced by the flame. Plain old candles produce exactly the same products and are far cheaper to purchase.
For some home owners, using repellents that contain compounds like DEET can cause skin irritation or undesirable environmental impacts. There are many home mixes that a home owner can try to reduce the number of mosquitoes in their yard without resorting to commercial chemicals. One is to combine flat beer and mouthwash in equal amounts and then spray the mixture on bushes or grasses to prevent eggs from hatching.
Some better smelling alternatives include vanilla extract and scented fabric softener sheets. However, these methods work to prevent mosquito bites on an individual, but will not actually reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
Following these simple steps can greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property and allow you to fully enjoy the summer season.