Nothing can ruin a beautiful summer day faster than being attacked by bloodthirsty mosquitoes the moment you step outside. Although it might be impossible to eradicate them completely, you can fight back.
: Always use extreme caution when using insecticides, and follow the directions on the label.
Step 1: Get rid of standing water To get rid of mosquitoes, you must eliminate any standing water near your home—that’s where they breed. Things like flowerpots, recycling bins, puddles, or even a overturned lid can result in thousands of mosquitoes. If you have a birdbath, change the water every couple days, be sure to treat swimming pools, & ask your neighbors to do the same.
TIP: Stock ponds with mosquito fish, which feed on the larvae, or use a mosquito larvicide product.
Step 2: Mow Mow your lawn frequently and try to reduce vegetation around your house, which is where mosquitoes live.
Step 3: Seal off your home Make sure all of your windows and doors are tightly sealed. Screens should be 16-18 mesh, and any holes or tears should be fixed immediately.
Step 4: Use yellow bulbs Replace outdoor lights with yellow bulbs. They’re not repellents, but they attract fewer mosquitoes than regular lighting.
Step 5: Cover up and use repellent If you have to be outside—particularly at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active—wear long sleeves and trousers, if possible. Either apply a repellent containing DEET, or apply picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus, the only repellents considered to be both safe for young children and effective.
TIP: Contrary to popular belief, eating garlic does not repel mosquitoes, eating bananas does not attract them, and burning citronella candles is only slightly more effective than burning any kind of candle.
Step 6: Use a fan Direct a fan to blow on you when you’re outside or if you have a mosquito trapped inside that you can’t catch. Mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers so it will make it difficult to land on you.
TIP: Try to avoid shady areas, where mosquitoes tend to rest—even in the heat of the day.
Step 7: Consider a trapping device Consider trying a mosquito-trapping device that lures the bugs with C02. They can work, although whether it captures enough mosquitoes to make a noticeable difference depends on many variables, even including the particular species of mosquitoes in your area.
TIP: Don’t waste your money on ultrasonic devices or bug zappers. Ultrasonic simply doesn’t work, and zappers have been proven to result in no significant difference in the overall amount of mosquitoes in a yard.
Step 8: Spray foliage Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as encephalitis, malaria, and West Nile virus. If you’re in an infected area, consider spraying heavy foliage near your house with pesticide—although, given the health risks, this should be a last ditch effort.
FACT: Mosquitoes can sense the lactic acid on your skin and the carbon dioxide in your breath from up to 100 feet away.