Want to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Outdoors?
If you have a patio, fireplace, or other type of outdoor feature, you know comfortability is a vital element for you, your family, and your guests. But nothing ruins an outdoor party more quickly than mosquito bites, which can cause discomfort for everyone involved for days to come.
There are a number of known solutions for repelling mosquitoes and for preventing their breeding in the first place. Let’s examine some solutions you can explore for both short-term and long-term success in keeping mosquitoes away.
Short-Term Mosquito Repellent Solutions
If you’re outside right now or planning to go outside tonight, you probably don’t have time to conduct a thorough sweep of your property for mosquito breeding areas. However, there are some techniques you can try for reducing the mosquitoes’ impact on your fun evening.
Note: Ultimately, these are band-aid solutions for mosquito problems since they will merely repel the insects rather than killing them. Try the long-term solutions for a more effective mosquito removal strategy.
Most hardware stores, drug stores, and department stores sell EPA-approved bug repellent sprays for preventing mosquito bites. It’s important to make sure that the spray you’re using is EPA-approved since more toxic chemicals could cause harm to not only you, but also the landscape you’ve worked so hard to maintain.
Ideally, you want a bug spray containing DEET, a chemical compound that is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes for short periods of time (6-8 hours).
If you’re already hanging out around the fireplace anyway, an easy way to keep mosquitoes away is to burn some sage leaves in the fire. Sage not only smells delightful, but the flying, blood-sucking pests hate it too. It’s a true win-win.
Burning sage is slightly less effective at repelling mosquitoes than bug spray when tested, but it’s still a decent solution at 60% efficacy.
Sage leaves can be found at most department stores and grocery stores. You can also find sage plants at most stores that have a gardening section if you want to keep your own stash.
Long-Term Mosquito Prevention Solutions
In the end, you probably don’t want to be dealing with mosquitoes in the first place. Luckily, there are a handful of techniques you can try that will help to eliminate mosquitoes at the source.
Keep Your Patio and Yard Clean
Crumbs of food, tall grass that hasn’t been mowed, and wet moss or weeds can all attract mosquitoes and other bugs to your property. Maintaining a clean space is a great way to naturally repel insects.
Remove Standing Water
Mosquitoes need a source of standing water in order to breed. Water can pool up on or around your property in unexpected places, so be diligent in searching for potential mosquito breeding grounds. This includes bird baths, dog water bowls, uncleaned pools, old tires, buckets, water features, gutters, and the like.
Make sure you clean your birdbaths, pools, ponds, and the like to ensure that mosquitoes aren’t given enough time to multiply. Mosquito eggs become larvae in just around 48 hours, then it takes another 2-3 days before they’re adult mosquitoes. Even a few days’ lapse could lead to mosquito growth.
Non-chemical mosquito dunks are also pretty easy to come by. Mosquito dunks are tablets that dissolve in water and kill mosquito eggs and larvae for 30 days. They only work in areas with small amounts of standing water that doesn’t drain, but they’re highly effective at preventing the mosquito population on your property from growing.
Retail mosquito traps, called OviTraps, attempt to attract female mosquitoes to get them to lay eggs in the trap, which are then destroyed. The traps often emit carbon dioxide and other chemical compounds that mosquitoes enjoy in an effort to snare them.
The traps have shown limited success at reducing mosquito populations in trials. It appears that the placement of the trap as well as the chemical compounds inside of the trap play a large factor in whether or not they achieve the intended results, but they’re worth a shot if you’re willing to make the investment.
Befriend Your Local Dragonflies
Many people fear dragonflies, but they’re quite harmless and are actually necessary for the reduction of the mosquito population. That’s because mosquitoes and mosquito larvae are part of a dragonfly’s healthy and balanced diet.
Mosquito Repellent Tactics That Don’t Work
For all of these tried-and-true mosquito repellent techniques, there are many methods that people swear by that actually have no scientific backing supporting their effectiveness.
Mosquito Yard Spray
Yard spray is a commonly-used solution for mosquito prevention. However, there have been recent studies that show pesticide yard spray is more likely to kill non-invasive bug species and wild animals than it is to repel mosquitoes.
You’ve probably heard about mosquito-repelling candles made from citronella oil. There have been many studies conducted on the efficacy of citronella (and other would-be repellents) that found it to be ineffective at repelling mosquitoes. Ultimately, you’re best off using EPA-friendly mosquito repellent containing DEET.
You may have heard that there are certain types of plants you can place in your yard to keep mosquitoes away. Ultimately, doing so is largely ineffective seeing as the essential oil in the plants need to be extracted and then utilized in a certain manner to achieve results. Even then, it’s less effective than our previously-mentioned methods.
Outdoor Spaces Design creates beautiful, custom outdoor spaces and features for clients all throughout Northern Virginia and the D.C. metro area. If you’re ready to add a whole new dimension to your home, give us a call for a consultation.