One of the ultimate buzz kills of a backyard BBQ is having party crashing, ankle biting, blood sucking mosquitoes as your “uninvited guests”. In addition to leaving their gift of an itchy bite in the most uncomfortable and hard to reach places their bites also leave a possibility of disease transmission. Take a look at these helpful hints for limiting their habitat on your property and other repellent options.
Remove Standing Water
Mosquitoes LOVE water because they require it to breed. This is why a rainy spring often leads to a mosquito filled summer. About.com suggests these four tips:
Drill holes in the bottom, not the sides, of any garbage or recycling containers stored outdoors. Holes on the sides still allow enough water to accumulate in the bottom for mosquitoes to breed.
Keep gutters clean and unclogged. Be sure your downspouts drain properly, without leaving puddles in the drainage area. You may need to reroute your downspouts or add extensions to carry water away.
Keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated, even when not in use. Homeowners who go on vacation without chlorinating their pools may return to a veritable mosquito hatchery.
Dump anything that holds water twice per week if it has rained. Birdbaths, non-chlorinated wading pools, footbaths, garbage can lids, and pottery will all attract breeding mosquitoes. Remember to empty the saucers under your flower pots, and don’t leave water in pet bowls for more than two days.
Choose Your Lighting Wisely
Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs, which are less attractive to mosquitoes. Products such as tiki torches, citronella candles, and lanterns will keep the pests away from the immediate area where you’re dining al fresco. (ivillage.com)
Guard Your Body
While some prefer to spray mosquito repellant others prefer an all-natural pest repellent. If you aren’t a fan of sprays like Off or Repel there are many natural DIY alternatives you can make yourself. One trick that has worked for me is sticking a Bounce® brand dryer sheet in each pocket. Something about these fabric softener sheets repels them…and bonus…it smells awesome!
Don’t Bother Trying These
According to Wayne J. Crans, Associate Research Professor in Entomology at Rutgers University, these often-touted mosquito solutions are not worth your time or money.
Bug zappers. Though the satisfying sizzle you hear from this modern day insect torture device will convince you it’s working, don’t expect much relief from backyard mosquitoes. According to Crans, biting insects (including mosquitoes) generally make up less than 1% of the bugs zapped in these popular devices. Many beneficial insects, on the other hand, do get electrocuted.
Citrosa plants. While citronella oil does have proven mosquito-repellent properties, the genetically-modified plants sold for this purpose do not. In tests by researchers, the test subjects bitten as often while surrounded by the Citrosa plants as without them. In fact, mosquitoes were observed landing on the leaves of Citrosa plants during the study.
Bats and/or purple martins. While both bats and the colonial purple martins will consume mosquitoes, the offending insects make up a small percentage of their natural diet. Assertions about these insectivores being effective mosquito controls grew out of misrepresented and misinterpreted data from unrelated studies. While providing habitat for bats and purple martins has its value, don’t do it if only to reduce your mosquito populations.
Electronic devices that transmit sounds to mimic male mosquitoes or dragonflies do not work. Crans goes so far as to suggest “the claims made by distributors border on fraud.”
Learn the Facts
Every kid remembers an adult trying to console them in the midst of an itching episode with “they like your blood because you are so sweet” but I always wondered if mosquitoes actually have a preference for their victims. I found this Are You A Mosquito Magnet Infographic pretty interesting and hope you do too!