If you've seen the show "Friends," you can probably hear Chandler Bing retort: "Could mosquitos be any more annoying?" if anyone asked him.
Most of us feel the same way.
Not only are mosquito bites annoying, but they can also be dangerous. Mosquitos carry and transmit viruses which in some cases can be fatal.
While Chandler may feel that the best mosquito control tactic is living in a towering New York City apartment building, not all of us have that option.
With the summer months almost upon us, it is time to take action against this pest.
The Importance of Finding the Best Mosquito Control Methods
Female mosquitos dig into our skin to access their food source, our bloodstream, leaving us susceptible to viruses that could have been present in the mosquito's last meal.
West Nile virus, encephalitis, and malaria are a few examples of diseases that can be carried and distributed by mosquitos.
Some people who are infected may never show symptoms, which differ between viruses. It's a good idea to ask your doctor what viruses have turned up in your area, and how best to detect them.
The following are some of the best methods we've found for controlling mosquitos around your home.
Identify And Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Areas
In order to defeat the enemy, we must first understand the enemy.
Understanding the lifecycle and preferred habitat are important steps in backyard mosquito control.
It is the female mosquito that bites us, causing painful and itchy lumps on our skin. The male mosquito feeds on the nectar of plants, and only needs to encounter the female once in order for her to lay five hatches of eggs.
Standing water is an essential part of mosquito reproduction as it's where most species of mosquito will lay their eggs. Eliminating the standing water in your yard is essential for mosquito yard control.
Along with standing water, the guys at Mosquito Authority say the areas most likely to become mosquito breeding grounds include dense tree cover, trash areas, and fences. Don't forget to eliminate the smaller, less obvious zones like pet dishes, old tires, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, clogged gutters, and the leaves of some plants, like bromeliads.
Any place that can collect standing water leaves your yard at a higher risk for mosquito reproduction.
Even though some mosquitos can fly up to 40 miles from their breeding grounds, reducing the egg-laying areas in your yard should greatly reduce the infestation.
Have you seen those dreamy images of a canvas tent, perhaps on the African Savannah, where inside sits a single cot with a white, gauzy net draped over the top?
That net is a mosquito net and it's used with good reason.
A more permanent use of netting is a screened-in porch. Screened-in porches are simply outdoor porches or decks entirely encased with a mesh screen. This will allow you to enjoy the fresh air while protecting yourself from pesky mosquito bites.
Do a search for "screened-in porch" on Pinterest to get some ideas. Don't forget to screen in the underside of your porch. Mosquitos typically fly close to ground level and will fly through the deck boards with ease.
If a screened-in porch is not an option for mosquito control in your yard, there are other measures you can take to protect yourself.
Even in the hottest summer months, it is worthwhile to cover as much exposed skin as possible. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and at the risk of looking dorky, tuck your pants into long socks.
Avoid wearing dark-colored clothing as this tends to attract mosquitos. Your clothing should be loose fitting as mosquitos can bite through tight clothes.
Some outdoor clothing brands treat their garments with a built-in insect repellent. The insect shield technology is permethrin based, which is a chemical that mimics the natural insecticide found in the chrysanthemum plant.
On the areas of the body that cannot be covered with clothing, use insect repellent.
A good bug spray should contain DEET, Picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. These repellents are the most effective. Check the instructions for the proper use and how often you should apply.
Bug spray is also available to treat the yard. Concentrated insect repellent comes in a canister that hooks up to a garden hose, allowing you to spray your whole yard. Allow proper drying time before sending the kids or pets out to play, though.
Placing citronella candles around the deck can be an effective, albeit more temporary solution. Mosquitos are deterred by the fragrance of the smoke, so they won't venture near these candles. Using a few citronella candles should give you enough time to barbeque or enjoy a glass of wine.
If you have company and need to keep the mosquitos away for the evening, fans placed at ground level are a good temporary solution. The lightweight bugs are unable to fly against the strong air current and should leave you alone.
Air curtains are a specialized type of fan that will blast air through a focused nozzle. The force of the air will create a barrier that the mosquitos and other bugs will avoid.
Mosquitos prefer still air, so this force of moving air will keep them at bay.
An additional tactic to keep mosquitos away lies in your landscaping choices.
Certain plants repel mosquitos so try planting some lavender, basil, lemongrass, peppermint, marigolds, garlic, rosemary, or catnip.
Mosquitos are at the bottom of the food chain and are tasty meals for many larger insects such as dragonflies and spiders, also for birds, bats, and frogs. Attracting these other creatures to your yard is a more natural approach to backyard mosquito control.
To Dine or Not to Dine
That will be the question mosquitos ask themselves while flying around your backyard this summer. While these are the best mosquito control tips for the infestation in your yard, this is not an exhaustive list.
Professionals in your area are ready to treat your yard to further defend against this pesky bug.
If you are interested in more ways to improve your home take a look at some of our other posts!