Now that summer is upon us it is time for the peskiest critter of them all – the mosquito. When the temperatures soar during the summer, the best time to venture out into the garden is right about dusk. The cooler temperatures and softer light make gardening and enjoying the outdoors very pleasant. Unfortunately, that is also the best time for mosquitoes to start annoying the heck out of you. Mosquitoes can leave large red bites and itchy welts that drive you mad. Mosquitoes are also known carriers of the West Nile Virus.
It is always a challenge to rid of mosquitoes from the vegetable garden and the yard. Although it is tempting to go out and purchase the most powerful mosquito repellent known to man, some of these can be very harmful to the environment, to beneficial insects, and even to your own health. Using products such as Cutter’s Bug Free Backyard, is not recommended. This pesticide can not only kill mosquitoes, but also bees, butterflies, earthworms, and other helpful garden friends.
Tips for Getting Rid of Mosquitoes
Here are some alternative ways for getting rid of mosquitoes and keep them from pestering you while working in the vegetable garden, or relaxing on the deck with a cool glass of iced tea.
- Dump out any container that holds standing or stagnant water. Overturn wheelbarrows, pot saucers, buckets, old tires, or unused flower pots that may be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
- If using a rain barrel to collect rain water for watering your plants, put a couple goldfish in the barrel. They will keep your rain barrels larvae-free. If this is not an option for you, you could use Mosquito Control Rings instead. Mosquito Control Rings will kill larvae up to 30 days and is safe to use around humans, pets, wildlife and fish.
- Keep fresh water in pet watering bowls or bird baths. Replace the water in these items at least every other day. This will eliminate the chances of mosquitoes from breeding in them.
- If you have an ornamental pond, try adding some Koi or other fish that will eat the mosquito larvae. You could also add a pump that will agitate the water. Mosquitoes will not breed in moving water.
- Instead of using “all-killing” pesticides, try a solution of equal parts flat beer, antiseptic mouthwash, and Epsom salt. Put the mixture in a garden sprayer that attaches to a water hose, and spray around the outside perimeter of decks or patios, the border of the garden, around bushes and other mosquito hiding places. This is environmentally safe, human and pet safe, and much cheaper.
- Use Catnip as a repellent instead of products containing DEET and other chemicals. Catnip is said to be ten times as powerful as DEET. Take some catnip and rub on your arms and legs. You can also put some catnip in a handkerchief and wear it around your neck while working in the garden. The mosquitoes will stay clear of the smell and you.
- You can also use Bounce dryer sheets as a repellent. Rub the sheets on your arms and legs. Make certain you are not allergic to the perfumes and other ingredients of the sheets before using.
- Pure vanilla extract is another item you can use as a mosquito deterrent. Rub a small amount on your wrists and neck. Mosquitoes do not like the vanilla smell.
- Burn citronella candles or torches around the deck, patio, or other sitting areas. The mosquitoes will stay away from the smoke and the scent of the citronella.
- You can plant mosquito repellent plants in your garden, and around other parts of your yard. Marigolds, Citronella Grass, Rosemary, and Catnip are all useful in keeping mosquitoes at bay.
- Use small oscillating fans on decks or patios to keep air circulating well. Mosquitoes do not like moving air, and this will keep them from landing on you.
- If mosquitoes are very heavy in your area, try using mosquito netting.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can flush out the biting mosquitoes and reclaim your backyard without using nasty chemicals and harmful products. If you have some tips on alternative ways of battling mosquitoes in your yard, please feel free to share them!