We are all aware that mosquito bites are painful and annoying, but they can be very dangerous as well. West Nile Virus and Zika virus are two of the more well-known diseases that are transported via mosquito bites. These diseases can lead to serious health problems that are sometimes incurable, so it is best to reduce our exposure to mosquitoes however we can.
Adult mosquitoes are the biters, but of course, it is best to stop mosquito populations in the larval stage, before they grow to biting age.
Banish Standing Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water or on very damp soil. That bucket catching rainwater underneath your gutter can hold hundreds of thousands of larvae. The best way to keep mosquitoes at bay is to eliminate their breeding sites. Check your entire property for standing water, paying particular attention to places where it's prone to collect: clogged gutters, pet bowls, kiddie pools, watering cans, tarps, trays underneath potted plants. Keep your lawn mowed and weeds under control to prevent water from pooling in foliage. Mosquitoes favor warm, shallow bodies of water, so water features should be designed to be at least 2 feet deep, and the water should always be circulating. Mosquito dunks containing the natural bacteria , or Bt are deadly to mosquitoes, but are harmless to other forms of wildlife. So if you have a birdbath or pond in your yard, consider treating it with this naturally occurring bacterium.
Of course, addressing drainage issues is crucial to reducing mosquito populations in the lawn. We have been doing landscapes in Acadiana for 30 years, and can cater to any need including drainage.
Blow Them Away
If you can't enjoy a pleasant evening on the porch without being eaten alive, just turn the fan on (or install one if needed). Mosquitoes are fairly weak fliers, so they'll avoid your outdoor living spaces if there's a breeze.
Treat Areas with the Right Products
The newest weapon in mosquito control is the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. It has been very recently discovered that mosquitoes actually track us and other prey by sensing the carbon dioxide in our breath. The Mosquito Eradicatoris as safe and non-toxic gets – it is simply an insect trap that releases an irresistible whiff of CO2. A pair of traps is capable of reducing mosquito populations by about 95%, on properties up to a full acre.
Talstar is a pyrethroid insecticide that is very effective in killing ground-dwelling insects like mosquito larvae, as well as ants and fleas, but is non-toxic to birds and pets. Talstar is formulated on a special pellet that penetrates beneath grass thatch to the soil surface, making it more deadly to ants and mosquitoes, but reduces exposure for other wildlife. A single treatment lasts a couple of months, and a bag can cover a full acre.
Bug Blaster is a similar product that is suitable for smaller yards.
We also have lots of natural diffusers, incense sticks, and candles that can get that citronella smell in the air. This patio egg is made of porous ceramic, and diffuses a pleasant aroma without the use of fans or cords of any kind. One of these will effectively treat about 200 square feet of patio.
Repel Them With Plants
Now that we’ve done everything we can to stop mosquitoes from breeding, let’s talk about deterring the adults. Mosquitoes start feeding at dusk, and continue for a couple of hours after dark, but where are they during the daytime, and why do we get bitten whenever we’re outside? Well, mosquitoes are resting during the day and avoiding the heat, like us. Basically, they are hanging around in our bushes and shrubs, and patio pots! We can use this tendency of mosquitoes to seek foliage to our advantage, by filling our patios and walkways with mosquito repellant plants.
The citronella geranium is a fantastic container plant that gives a pleasant scent when crushed, and it can even be rubbed on the skin for a little extra protection. Dab a little on your ankles and wrists, and around the backs of your ears.
Lemongrass also does a fantastic job, as to many strong-scented herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, and many others. There is no shortage of lists of plants that repel mosquitoes, and we have them all!
Southern Wax Myrtle is an evergreen shrub or small tree that has been used by Acadians for centuries as a natural insect repellant. A hedge of these adjacent to the patio would seriously reduce the mosquito population.
For a more potent solution, make these herbal bundles and toss them on the fire or BBQ during your next outdoor get-together.
Repel mosquitoes by burning these lavender, sage and mint bundles.
On newspaper, lay out your fresh herbs. Be sure that they do not have any water on their leaves, if so they will mold.
Cut a 4 foot long piece of string. Cut the herbs to approximately 6 inches long. Lay the string on the newspaper. In the center of the string, form a pile of herbs from the sage, lavender and mint.
Tie a tight knot in the string close to the top of the herb pile.
Flip the herb bundle over and tie another knot. Continue tightly tying knots on both sides until you reach the end of the bundle.
Finish the bundle by knotting off the end and trimming up any loose ends on the herbs.
Put out in a decorative basket at your next BBQ or outdoor gathering. Allow guests to toss the bundles on the fire or BBQ to keep mosquitoes away.
So buy a Spartan Mosquito eradicator, put some lemongrass in your patio pots, drain those buckets and clean those birdfeeders, make a herb bundle they’ll hate, and enjoy your summer where you should be – outdoors, with us at All Seasons!