So far summer 2012 has been extremely warm, causing many experts to speculate that mosquito populations will skyrocket. Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying and unwelcome backyard barbecue guests, they’re notorious vectors for diseases like malaria and West Nile Virus.
Bug sprays and tiki torches might be some of the most common ways to keep mosquitoes off your person, but there are ways you can reduce the number of mosquitoes calling your yard home in the first place. Here are a few tips for making your home’s surroundings a less attractive abode for these needle-nosed nuisances.
Search Out And Eliminate Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed near or in stagnant water, so eliminating these water sources is essential. Even a tablespoon worth of standing water is enough to provide mosquito larva with the nurturing environment they need.
- If you collect rainwater, cover your rainwater barrel. Make sure it’s covered with a screen fine enough to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- Remove any standing rainwater that collects on objects in your yard. Check garbage cans, recycling bins, empty flower pots and any other item that naturally collects water. Waste like plastic bags and empty bottles or buckets collect rainwater and provide convenient spots for mosquitoes to breed too.
- Remove all the water in your kiddie pool and store it on its side. Summer brings heat and if you have children, cooling off may include filling up a kiddie pool. While kiddie pools can be lots of fun they can also become a mosquito maternity ward if the water is left stagnant in them for any period of time. The chlorinated water found in permanent above and in-ground pools isn’t an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, but be sure to remove any excess rainwater collected by your pool cover.
- If you have a birdbath, change out the water at least twice a week. The same goes for pets’ water dishes and livestock watering tanks.
- If you have a pond on your property, aerate it. Keeping surface water in motion will make it an unsuitable environment for mosquito larvae.
Grow Mosquito Repellant Plants
Planting certain vegetation with mosquito repelling characteristics can be an effective and all-natural way of limiting the number of mosquitoes on your property
You’re probably familiar with the insect repelling qualities of citronella candles and the odor they produce. But growing the plant itself can be a more effective method of warding off mosquitoes because it gives off a stronger smell. Citronella grass can be grown directly in the ground in warm climates that do not experience frost. If you live in colder climates, grow the plant in a pot that can be brought inside during winter.
Cats may go crazy for it but mosquitoes don’t share the same enthusiasm. Catnip may very well be the plant most repulsive to mosquitoes. A 2001 study performed by the Iowa State University College of Agriculture found catnip to be ten times more successful at warding off mosquitoes than DEET, the most common active ingredient in commercial insect repellants and a potentially harmful substance to humans at that. Catnip grows readily and easily in most parts of the United States.
Install Gutter Guards
Cleaning your gutters is a chore few if any people look forward too. Still, it’s an essential task for many reasons including reducing the mosquito population around your home. In most cases, shallow puddles form in gutters when excess debris like leaves and twigs prevent rainwater from being effectively carried through the system and out the downspout.
Installing a micromesh gutter guard can help alleviate mosquito problems on two fronts. One, it prevents debris from accumulating in your gutters in the first place, cutting back on the number of cleanings you need to perform and the possibility of blockages occurring. Two, if shallow puddles should form in your gutters, an effective micromesh guard with a fine enough screen will prevent mosquitoes from accessing that water source to breed.