Summer is almost here, and it’s time to get prepared for barbeques, time spent lounging on the beach and other outdoor gatherings by taking care of the two biggest spoilers of summer fun – sunburn and mosquito bites. While sunscreen will take care of that sunburn problem for you, getting rid of mosquitoes isn’t quite as easy.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and that’s where the larvae develop – moving water usually isn’t an issue. The first step is to check your property, looking for sources of standing water – no matter how small – and eliminating them. Even a bit of standing water in a flower pot can be a mosquito nursery, so be ruthless in your efforts. Look also for areas that remain damp for several days, and see if you can improve drainage in the area to eliminate moisture.
If you have an outdoor pond or water garden, invest in a few fish, and they will happily eat any mosquito eggs or larvae that try to breed there. If you have a source of moisture that can’t be eliminated, there are products you can purchase that will kill the developing mosquito larvae. The most effective ones release the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis into the water to eliminate the larvae.
Once you’ve eliminated any possible mosquito nurseries, focus on favorite adult mosquito habitats, which include tall grass and underbrush. Keep your grass mowed and remove any dead plant material and brush as soon as possible after cuttings. Your yard can be treated with an insecticide, which kills mosquitoes, or with a repellent, which works to keep them away. There are a number of different chemical products available, and you’ll need to follow the directions carefully in terms of how you apply them and the frequency of application. Always keep insecticides and repellents away from children.
You might also consider a device called a mosquito magnet, which uses a propane flame to produce carbon dioxide gas. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide and are then captured inside a net where they then die from dehydration.
If you’re looking for a home-based mosquito remedy, try some of the following suggestions:
Grow plants mosquitoes don’t like, including lemon balm, citronella, cat nip, marigolds, geraniums with scented leaves, and rosemary.
Try growing flowers that attract dragonflies and birds, both of whom will eat mosquitoes when they happen upon them. Consider installing a few bird houses to attract these helpful predators.
Some people have reported success with using Listerine brand mouthwash as a repellent spray in outdoor areas.
Make sure your screens are secure to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
You can purchase mosquito netting to cover strollers, cribs, and play yards to keep your children safe from mosquitoes.
If you want to use a natural repellent on yourself, these are some options:
It’s said that drinking 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day will keep the mosquitoes away.
Some people have reported great success by using a fabric softener dryer sheet to lightly rub their exposed skin.
If you plan to use a commercial repellent that’s applied to the skin, try rubbing on a thin layer of lotion first. This may help minimize the absorption of the chemicals in the commercial product into your skin.