Mosquito problems happen just about anywhere that water collects. In residential areas, mosquito-breeding sites can be caused by overly wet soil, standing water (think flower pot saucers), birdbaths, soda and tin cans, allow mosquitoes to breed literally right in our own backyard. Storms and flooding can cause mosquito populations to rise quickly.
Stagnant water in unused swimming pools is also an ideal breeding site. However, mosquitoes will not breed in a maintained swimming pool. Maintain these areas regularly and you’ll help educe mosquito populations around your property. It’s important to walk around after every rain, check for water collection and empty everything.
- Check flower pots and other containers for excess water.
- Flush out the water in birdbaths and fountains every few days.
- Keep rain gutters free of leaves and other debris that prevent water from draining.
- Correct drainage problems in yards to prevent rain and irrigation water from pooling for prolonged periods.
- Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets, .
- Regularly change water containers for pets and check livestock watering troughs and tanks.
There are many ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes and insect repellents come in many forms. Some products contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), a slightly yellow oil. It is intended to be applied to skin or clothing. Repeated use of repellents over a short period of time (several days) is not recommended, especially for pregnant women and children. Some individuals may be sensitive to DEET, discontinue skin application if irritation occurs. There are certain insect repellants that contain insecticides and are only suitable for application to clothing and not to the skin. Please read directions carefully.
Essential oil repellents that are available might include any of the following: lemon eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, thyme, rosemary, citronella. The consumption of certain natural substances including garlic and the vitamin B complex is reputed to reduce the number of bites. As of yet there is no scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness.
Things To Do At Home
Installing and maintaining tight fitting window and door screens will help keep mosquitoes out of your house. Candles containing citronella oil are often used outdoors to repel mosquitoes from around seating areas. These products work best when there is relatively little air movement to disperse the chemical too quickly. Avoid splashing water on lit citronella candles, as they can flair. In some restricted areas of Arizona, bats and birds may consume mosquitoes as part of their diet. Putting up nesting boxes around your property will attract these natural predators to the area. However, the feeding activity of insect-eating bats and birds will not be sufficiently selective to cause significant reductions in mosquito populations. Please monitor bird and bat boxes regularly as bees can invade the boxes and develop hives.
What Doesn’t Work
Electrocution traps (“bug zappers”) placed out-of-doors are not effective in reducing or eliminating mosquito populations. Recent studies have shown that less than 1% of the insects “zapped” in such devices were actually biting insects. The majority of the insects killed in electrocution traps are actually beneficial or harmless.
Electronic mosquito repellants that emit high frequency sound to “repel” mosquitoes have not been shown to be effective. Claims that certain plants placed around a porch will repel mosquitoes are not supported by scientifically.
Outdoor chemical foggers will keep mosquitoes away for several hours, but once the chemical dissipates, the mosquitoes return. Control programs targeting mosquito larvae are best left to trained individuals in county or local government agencies.
Mosquito Management At Home
To treat small areas around your house such as birdbaths use a bacterial insecticide such as Mosquito Bits which contains a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis or Bti. This bacterium kills mosquitoe larvae but will not harm fish, birds or other wildlife. Most products containing Bti will control mosquito larvae for about 7 days during mosquito season.
Bti is a naturally occurring soil bacterium. The bacterium produces proteins in a crystalline form. Bti is quickly biodegraded and leaves no residue.
Or you can treat up to 4000 square feet of lawn with Bonide Mosquito Beater. This innovativegranular repellent infuses your lawn with natural oils that drive mosquitoes away. It lasts for weeks, even if it rains. It contains potent oils of geranium, lemongrass and cedar, and decomposes into a beneficial soil conditioner. We sell a lot of Bonide because it works.
And if you just want to sit outside and enjoy a cool morning or evening consider Skeeter Screen. This is an easy, safe and effective way to deter mosquitoes from gardens, decks and patios for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every Skeeter Screen comes with complete instructions for use. You simply open the bottle, place a small sleeve on the neck of the bottle and insert the willow reeds. The reeds will absorb the oils and and then the oils release a slight floral scent that will act to stop mosquitoes for up to 4 months of continuous use.
Mosquito source material: Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Science, The University of Arizona.