No one wants to encounter mosquitoes in their backyard. They’re annoying, and their bites can make it impossible to enjoy a sunset cookout. What’s worse, however, is that mosquitoes are more than annoying: they’re dangerous, and their bites should be avoided as much as possible.
Mosquito bites can spread serious, even deadly diseases to humans, like malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika virus. Mosquito bites are also dangerous to pets and livestock: mosquitoes can cause heart worm in dogs by spreading roundworms and can cause encephalitis in horses.
Like most people, you’ll probably do just about anything to keep mosquitoes away. Let’s talk about what mosquito repellants actually work and how you can make sure mosquitoes don’t set up camp in your backyard.
How to Keep Mosquitoes off You
There is a lot of advice online about what you should do to keep mosquitoes away. Some of it is right, and the rest is just old wives’ tales.
Let’s start with what doesn’t work to keep mosquitoes off of you, according to several studies published in the Journal of Insect Sciences: citronella candles, vitamin B1 patches, bug repellant wristbands, ultrasonic devices, and some natural insect repellants. Don’t waste your money on products that aren’t proven to work or rely on gimmicks.
So what should you do? Let’s talk about the most effective ways to keep mosquitoes at bay.
- Wear protective clothing: If mosquitoes can’t reach your skin, they can’t bite you. Consider wearing long sleeves and long pants. Your clothing should be loose. Try tucking your pants into your socks—or at least avoid sandals.
- Apply effective insect repellant repeatedly. Products containing DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus have been shown to work at repelling mosquitoes. These ingredients are recommended as safe and effective by the CDC. Make sure you buy a repellant containing one of these ingredients, apply it, and reapply it every couple of hours. (Like sunscreen, insect repellant’s effectiveness wears off over time.)
- Minimize your time outdoors during peak mosquito activity. Mosquitoes can bite at any time of the day, but they are particularly active at dawn and dusk. Try to limit your time outside during these hours when you can.
We recommend taking as many of the above tactics as possible: it may seem like overkill now, but you’ll be happy when you come indoors bite-free.
How to Keep Mosquitoes out of Your Backyard
Even when you’re wearing insect repellent, you don’t want a bunch of mosquitoes buzzing around your head. For this reason, you’ll want to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your backyard. Let’s look at how to make your backyard less hospitable to mosquitoes.
- Get rid of standing water. If your yard has a lot of standing water, it’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. You can encourage them to go elsewhere by draining or filling in puddles, swampy areas, and hollow tree stumps. (Also check places like empty flower pots, old tires, trash cans, and buckets.) Make sure to change the water in birdbaths and plastic swimming pools at least every couple of days. Repair any sources of leaks (like your air conditioning unit) and clean your gutters to prevent water from accumulating.
- Maintain your yard. Keeping a well-maintained yard can also deter mosquitoes. Fill in any dips in your yard to prevent water from pooling. Mow your lawn regularly, and cut back tree limbs and brush. (Allowing more sun to reach your yard can help dry up wet spots.)
- Use fans and tents. If you’re hosting an outdoor event, have oscillating fans nearby to deter mosquitoes. (In one Consumer Reports study, the fans reduced mosquito landings by 45-65 percent.) You might also want to consider tenting off the area where people are gathered to make sure that bugs stay outside.
- Hire a professional. If your mosquito problem has gotten out of hand, a professional can fix it. A qualified pest control expert has the knowledge to find the source of your mosquito problem and the tools and experience to eliminate it. Getting help from an expert can be especially helpful if you’re hosting an important outdoor event soon and want to make sure that your yard is pest-free.
Heavy rains and hot temperatures have made this mosquito season particularly bad. We hope these tips and tricks help you keep mosquitoes away this summer.
Need help tackling a mosquito problem? Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.