During summer and the nicer fall weather, you want to be out in your backyard as much as possible. But nothing spoils a gathering around the fire pit or hamburgers just off the grill faster than a cloud of hungry mosquitoes. It can seem like they’re everywhere and there’s no getting away from them. Use these tips to mosquito-proof your yard and prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for those pesky pests.
Eliminate Standing Water
Mosquito larvae become adult mosquitoes in approximately seven days. Standing water is an invitation for mosquitoes and other types of biting insects to make themselves at home. You know the gutters should be cleaned and properly sloped to drain water from gutter trough. You also look for pooling water underneath downspouts and fix any faucets that drip or hoses and sprinklers that develop a leak. However, there are sources of standing water that might not be so obvious. These include:
- downspout extenders – check to see if they drain completely; if they don’t they might need to be pitched slightly
- garbage cans/recycling bins
- decks/porches – check underneath for places where water might pool
- kiddie pool – turn over when not in use; change water every 4 to 6 days
- sandbox without a cover
- plastic toys/inflatable toys/wagons
- watering cans/plant saucers
- rain barrels without covers
- bird baths – change water every 7 days
- tarps/plastic sheets – reposition them if water collects
Landscaping and Drainage
General yard maintenance such as keeping the lawn mowed and weeds under control should help prevent water from collecting in flowerbeds and beneath foliage.
If the ground around the foundation of your home slopes toward the basement instead of away from it, consider installing a French drain or another type of drainage system that will guide runoff to an area where pooling water won’t be an issue.
Discourage flies and mosquitoes from bugging you when in the backyard by growing plants such as lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, basil, garlic, lavender, and rosemary.
Candles and Herbs
Burning citronella candles helps repel mosquitoes. However, before purchasing, ensure they contain actual citronella oil – some candles are merely artificially scented and will not be effective for mosquito repelling use.
Another method to keep the pests at bay is to create herbal bundles from herbs like lavender, mint, sage rosemary, basil, etc. Find a combination that works for you. Put one or two bundles on the barbecue or fire when hosting a get-together.
Outdoor Lighting Options
To deter mosquitoes and other flying insects, install insect-repelling lights around the perimeter of your property and near the deck or patio or seating/dining area. Sodium lights, LED lights, or yellow bug lights can discourage mosquitoes from irritating you.