Mosquito Control

The best ways to get rid of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are the scourge of many a backyard in summer months, and there are almost as many mosquito control products on the market as there are mosquitoes in your garden. So how do homeowners choose between products, and what's really the best way to keep these pesky bugs at bay? From candles and coils to trappers and zappers, find out what you need to keep your household safe from these irritating and potentially dangerous insects.

Mosquito Repellents

Commercial mosquito repellent comes in many brands with many active ingredients, so knowing what will actually fight the bite can be tough. Here are a few tips for choosing effective repellents to ward off mosquito bites.

  • DEET: Once thought of as a carcinogen (cancer causing), DEET has actually been deemed safe by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and is one of the most effective ingredients in name-brand mosquito repellents like Off! DEET products can fend off mosquitoes for up to eight hours – but make sure to follow label instructions carefully when using commercial repellents containing DEET as it can cause skin and eye irritation if applied improperly.
  • Citronella: Citronella is the best-known naturally occurring mosquito repellent and comes in many forms from sprays to candles to coils. Derived from a perennial grass, citronella essential oil is said to give off an unpleasant scent to mosquitoes, especially when burnt. Some question its usefulness though, and suggest that any burning candle or smoke will ward off mosquitoes just as effectively.
  • Ultrasonic Mosquito Repellent: Ultrasonic devices emit high frequency sounds that irritate mosquitoes into leaving the area, without the chemicals and scents associated with repellents and candle solutions. Some mosquito control professionals swear by the ultrasonic method, while others maintain they don't work any better than wearing a mosquito repellent.

Mosquito Traps

Mosquito traps like Mosquito Deleto or Mosquito Magnet are portable traps designed to lure mosquitoes into the trap using carbon dioxide and octenal attractant. While the traps do collect mosquitoes, it's hard to say whether or not they cut down on the number of bites received in the backyard.

Bug zappers attract mosquitoes with ultraviolet light and octenal attractant, and then zap them with static electricity. If you don't mind the "bzzzt" of bugs being zapped, this type of mosquito control has been deemed quite effective by experts.

Mosquito Population Control

The best way to rid your outdoor space of annoying mosquitoes is to ruin their habitat. Mosquitoes can reproduce at an alarming rate – with the right heat and moisture conditions, mosquito eggs can grow from egg to adult in one week, which means multiple generations can flourish in your yard over a summer season.

The best way to reduce the mosquito population in your backyard is to prevent them from reproducing, which means getting rid of standing water (where they lay their eggs) around your home:

  • Clear your gutters of debris so water can flow freely to downspouts.
  • Keep flower pots and saucers free of water.
  • Cover rain barrels with screen or use a drop of vegetable oil to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching and flying out.
  • Watch out for tarps, old tires and garbage bags. These can collect water easily and are known to be perfect mosquito incubators.
  • Keep up with swimming pool care and maintenance to make sure the water is clean and inhospitable to mosquito larvae. Cover your pool as much as possible.

In the end, it's likely that a combination of these mosquito fighting tips will help reduce the number of bites you receive this season. If you're planning on fighting the bite, apply some DEET repellent, make sure your backyard is free of standing water, and feel free to burn a natural citronella candle or coil.

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