Looking for natural mosquito control? Good for you! Mosquitoes are out of control this summer in many parts of the country, thanks to an abnormally mild and dry winter. If you’re one of those people mosquitoes devour, and I certainly am, knowing what to do for natural mosquito control will let you enjoy summer’s lazy days without scratching like mad all night long.
Don’t let them breed. The best natural mosquito control method is prevention! Mosquitoes can breed in as little as 5 days, even in something as shallow as a bottle cap full of water. Make a habit of checking your yard every few days, and immediately after any rain. Clean out the places where mosquitoes are likely to breed:
- Clogged gutters
- Kiddie pools
- Saucers under container plants
- Bags of potting soil or mulch left sitting out
- Improperly chlorinated swimming pools
- Ornamental fish ponds
- Puddles and muddy areas
- Bird baths
- Holes in trees or stumps
- Uncovered rain barrels and other open containers
- Old tires
- Children’s toys
Mow your lawn. Adult mosquitoes need places to rest during the day, or when a breeze picks up. Keep your lawn trimmed and pull any weeds growing near your patio and deck.
Use yellow bug lights. White light attracts insects, including mosquitoes. Replace your outdoor lights with yellow bug lights, or even simply yellow light bulbs, and you’ll cut the clouds of mosquitoes swarming near your door.
Learn to love citronella. Truly natural mosquito control involves citronella. Mosquitoes hate the smell of citrus, which is why citronella candles, oils and spray can keep them away. Citronella comes from the oils of the lemongrass plant, a tropical plant easily grown in containers. We keep a pot of it near our deck table where it repels the bloodsuckers and is easily accessible from the kitchen for those nights I’m making Thai food. Come winter, we haul it inside and keep it watered, then back out it goes the following summer.
Use other mosquito-repelling plants, too. Catnip is an herb that offers natural mosquito control 10 times more effective than DEET. The only possible side effect is that it may attract neighborhood cats, so don’t plant it in your vegetable or flower beds. Rosemary, another herb, also repels mosquitoes and has the added benefit of making chicken taste delicious.
Make a homemade mosquito repellent. Crush 3 tbsp. catnip, lavender, rosemary or rose geranium leaves — or use 10 drops of their essential oils — and add them to 1 cup (each) of water and 80-proof vodka. (Not the good stuff, please!) Let it steep, then shake well and spray on this natural mosquito control. Reapply every 2 hours. Don’t forget to douse the patio furniture and deck you’re sitting on, too!
Encourage other flying objects. Brown bats can eat up to 500 mosquitoes in one hour. (That’s 4000 per night!) Purple martin birds can eat their own weight in mosquitoes nightly. Why not invite these feasting fliers into your yard by building a bat or martin house and let them do the work for you!
One thing I know from personal experience that won’t work: those electronic gadgets that claim to emit a high frequency that mosquitoes can’t stand. I bought several of these last summer when we were having chemically sensitive guests over for barbecue. By the end of the night, we’d all been bit so many times that we had to move the party indoors, where someone promptly spilled barbecue sauce on my white carpet. Never again! Stick with my natural mosquito control methods and you’ll not only save money, you’ll save your skin.
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