If you’re dealing with a mosquito problem, you’re not alone. These pesky insects are a summertime nuisance for many homeowners. While there are a ton of products on the market that claim to be good at eliminating mosquitoes, it’s important to take a holistic approach to preventing and getting rid of any mosquitoes present in your yard. This includes taking preventative steps to eliminate standing water in your yard (where mosquitoes breed), as well as applying insect repellent and other natural methods to prevent mosquito bites.
With all of that said, while there are some things you can do to prevent mosquitoes from taking over your yard, sometimes you just need to get rid of them quickly!
So, we’ve pulled together a very practical guide on mosquito control, including how to get rid of mosquitoes once they’ve arrived, and how to develop a sustainable pest control program with some tips and tricks that mosquitoes hate!
Quick Intro: Mosquito lifecycle
Mosquitoes are annoying pests that reproduce quickly, making it hard to get rid of them. To better understand how to prevent and eliminate these insects, it’s important to understand their lifecycle.
Adult female mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water or moist soil that is protected from direct sunlight. The mosquito eggs hatch within 48 hours and the mosquito larvae begin to feed on small organisms in the water until they reach the pupa stage, at which point they become airborne.
Adult mosquitoes live for about two weeks and can reproduce during that time. During this time, mosquitoes bite to obtain blood meals (which are needed for egg production) from humans and animals. Female mosquitoes also prefer areas with standing water or high humidity because these provide ideal conditions for egg-laying and survival of their young.
Female mosquitoes mate only once in their lifetime and can lay up to 300 eggs at a time. After hatching, the larvae go through four stages before reaching the pupa stage where they become adults ready for flight. During this process, mosquitoes go through a complete metamorphosis of changing from an aquatic larva into a flying adult mosquito. Once transformed, adult female mosquitoes will fly around looking for food (blood meal from that pesky mosquito bite!) so that she can produce more eggs before ultimately dying in two weeks’ time.
Because of its short lifecycle and ability to reproduce so quickly, getting rid of mosquitoes can be difficult if preventive measures aren’t taken first. This includes regularly checking your property for any standing water where mosquitoes may be breeding as well as using insect repellents when outdoors to deter them from biting you or your family members.
Mosquitoes are most active during the summer months when temperatures are warm and humidity is high. Adult mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in areas with standing water or high humidity because these provide ideal conditions for egg-laying and survival of their young. Mosquitoes are especially active at dawn and dusk when they are looking for food sources to feed on.
Additionally, mosquitoes tend to be more active in shaded areas where there is more protection from direct sunlight, making them more difficult to spot and avoid.
Here are a few tips for how to get rid of mosquitoes fast–follow these and you’ll stop mosquitoes in their tracks!
(1): Check for areas in your yard where mosquitoes like to live, lay eggs, and rest, including any standing water around your property. These areas attract mosquitoes and should be cleaned up, removed if possible, and should be key areas for treatment.
The first step to getting rid of mosquitoes is to not attract mosquitoes in the first place!
Taking proper care of your property and yard is extremely important to make sure mosquitoes don’t become a problem. Take some time to survey your outdoor areas and look for any prime mosquito spots. These will generally include areas with standing water, like rain barrels, still murky ponds, bird baths, pet bowls, or clogged gutters. And, when possible, make sure your yard has proper drainage. Mosquitoes find all of these moist areas to be ideal for laying eggs, so finding and eliminating them will make a huge dent in the overall mosquito population.
Once you’ve found these moisture-filled places, begin the process of cleaning them up or eliminating them altogether. This can drastically reduce the amount of mosquitoes hanging around your yard.
Additionally, once all high-risk areas have been identified and addressed, you should use products that treat those areas to keep them mosquito free. Taking all these steps will give you relief from pesky, buzzing friends!
One such way to treat these water-logged areas is to use “mosquito dunks”. These are a highly effective, safe, and natural way to control mosquitoes around the home. Made of a slow-release, granular insecticide called Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (BTI), these dunks act as a larvicide that targets the mosquito larvae in standing water and kills them before they can emerge as adults. When used properly, one dunk can treat up to 100 square feet of standing water for up to 30 days, depending on water temperatures.
Mosquito dunks are especially effective against larvae in areas that are difficult to treat with sprays or foggers, such as ponds and swamps. They have been found to be harmless to humans as well as other organisms like frogs, fish, birds and other animals. The active ingredient in the BTI is a naturally occurring bacteria that specifically targets the digestive system of mosquito larvae and breaks down easily without leaving behind any harmful residue. This makes it safe for use around children, pets, plants and wildlife while still delivering powerful results. With regular use, mosquito dunks can provide long-term protection from mosquitoes by continuously releasing BTI into the water until all larvae have been eliminated.
(2): Try using natural mosquito repellents like citronella candles or essential oils
When it comes to repelling mosquitoes, there are many different approaches, including fully organic products that are very effective.
Many natural repellents can be just as effective, or even more so!
Citronella candles (our favorite here), which have been used for centuries to repel insects, are widely available and often highly effective at repelling mosquitoes around your outdoor space.
Essential oils and incense (here’s our top pick) with mosquito-repelling properties such as lavender, lemon grass and cedarwood can also be incredibly useful, whether you diffuse them indoors or put a few drops on your skin.
Natural alternatives are safer for you and the environment – skip the traditional repellents this summer and explore these options instead!
(3): Use a fan when you’re outside to keep mosquitoes away from you
Fans can be great natural mosquito-repellents as the breeze they create help to keep mosquitoes away. And, some even pair a fan with cool misting for those super hot days! Make sure to continuously move the fan so that it will create a wind tunnel and sweep any mosquitoes away from you.
When you are spending time outdoors this summer, make sure you bring a fan along!
Not only is this an effective way to prevent mosquito bites and potential allergies or illnesses, but also adds a cooling effect on those especially hot days.
Fun fact: mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide.
They rely on carbon dioxide as a means of locating their prey, as it is produced in large quantities by warm-blooded animals during respiration. Carbon dioxide also triggers the release of compounds that further attract mosquitoes and guide them to their host.
Embrace the nice weather and remember to always have your trusty fan by your side!
(4): Safeguard your home, including installing (and repairing as needed) mosquito netting or screens over any doors or windows that don’t have them
Protecting your home should be a top priority–indoor mosquitoes are a huge nuisance! Insects, such as mosquitoes, can invade space and create health hazards for your family. Installing mosquito netting or screens over any doors or windows without them is an essential (and relatively inexpensive) step to keeping pesky bugs out of your domain.
Not only does this guard against bites and discomfort, screened areas can also provide valuable protection from the sun and act as barriers against dust particles and other irritants that might affect members of your household. With so many benefits, investing in screens of netting for all exposed openings definitely makes sense.
(5): Apply mosquito repellent to your skin before going outside … and then re-apply as needed once you’re outside!
Going outside in the warm weather is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and relax, but it does come with its own hazards. Mosquitos are wide-reaching and their bites can transmit dangerous diseases, so it’s important to take preventative measures. Every time you go outside, before exposing yourself to potential insect bites, apply mosquito repellent to your skin (here’s our favorite DEET-free with Lemon Eucalyptus).
Applying bug spray each time you head out will help keep you safe while still allowing you to have fun outside. It may sound like an inconvenience but think of it as a reminder to make the most out of precious outdoor time!
Although you should consider mosquito repellent during most of the Spring through Fall time, it is an essential part of outdoor safety, especially during the summer months when mosquitoes are most active. To make this super easy, try keeping a spray bottle of your favorite insect repellent by the door so you can grab on your way out to the yard (and, better yet, always keep a mini spray bottle in your bag, purse, wherever so you’re always prepared!).
Applying mosquito repellent every time you go outside can help protect yourself and those around you from potential insect bites and the illnesses they may carry.
Mosquitoes can spread disease (such as West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, heartworm disease in animals, and other mosquito borne illnesses) that can affect people of all ages. So getting rid of mosquitoes is also an effective form of disease control. And, don’t forget–it is important for all age groups to apply mosquito repellent each time they go outside in order to stay safe from these harmful diseases.
(6): Wear long sleeves and pants when you’re in areas with a lot of mosquitoes
Mosquitoes carry a range of diseases and can make your time outdoors quite uncomfortable. To protect yourself, you should always wear long sleeves and pants when visiting areas with lots of mosquitoes. Covering up as much skin as possible will lower your chance of being bitten and suffering from an unpleasant illness. Not to mention, it’ll make your outdoor experience so much more pleasant without dealing with the annoyance of pesky bugs! So before heading out into mosquito-prone areas, make sure you’re dressed appropriately – long sleeves and pants are absolutely essential!
(7): Consider “perimeter protection” from a bug zapper (or two!)
Bug zappers (sometimes called “mosquito traps”) are an effective way to protect yourself and your outdoor space from mosquitoes and other flying insects. (here’s our favorite, with 1-acre coverage)
Placed strategically around the perimeter of your property, bug zappers create an invisible barrier that helps to keep pesky bugs away. The ultraviolet light emitted by the zapper attracts bugs and draws them in, where they are then electrocuted, thus reducing the insect population in your area (bug zappers are a very effective way to kill mosquitoes; if you would prefer an approach that does not kill mosquitoes, make sure you follow the other tips in this blog!).
When using a bug zapper outdoors, make sure it is placed at least five feet off the ground, away from any standing water sources, and far away from any areas you plan on spending time in. Avoid placing it too close to windows or doors as this can cause an accumulation of dead insects near these entry points into your home. Furthermore, try to choose a model with a removable catch-tray for easy cleaning and disposal of dead bugs.
An Asian Tiger Mosquito … ugh!
To maximize effectiveness, place multiple bug zappers around your property so that you can cover more area with fewer units. Additionally, if possible try to make sure there is good airflow around the device as this will help it attract and catch more bugs.
Finally, for optimal results be sure to check the batteries on your bug zapper regularly and replace them when necessary so that it remains at peak performance. With a bit of extra effort, bug zappers can provide effective ‘perimeter protection’ against mosquitoes and other annoying flying insects – giving you peace of mind while enjoying outdoor activities all summer long!
(8): Use a high-quality (preferably organic) insect control application
The best way to keep mosquitoes out of your yard is to use a high-quality, preferably organic, insect control product (here is our favorite: Barefoot Yard Organic Tick & Mosquito Yard Spray). These products are designed to eliminate and prevent mosquitoes from invading your outdoor space by using a combination of plant-based natural oils that are proven to be effective at both killing and repelling the insects. The application is easy to use – simply mix it with water and spray it around the perimeter of your property – and it’s safe for people, pets, and plants. Additionally, because this product uses only natural ingredients, it’s less likely to harm beneficial insects or the environment.
Ultimately, using a good quality insect control product like the Barefoot Yard product in combination with other preventative measures will help keep unwanted pests away from your outdoor living area all summer long! With proper application and maintenance, you can enjoy your backyard without worrying about pesky mosquitoes buzzing around.
(9): Having an outdoor gathering and need a quick fix for the night? Try a backyard insect/mosquito fogger.
Aerosol mosquito foggers can be a great way to quickly rid your outdoor space of mosquitoes, especially for those throwing an outdoor gathering. These foggers are easy to use and spray an aerosol insecticide into the air, killing any mosquitoes and other flying insects in range.
To ensure the best possible outcome and safety, there are some important steps to consider when using a mosquito fogger.
First and foremost, make sure to read all instructions on the label before beginning, as different brands may require unique tasks. Usually this includes selecting a product that is suitable for your particular needs (i.e., one that works against mosquitoes), shaking the container well before use, closing all windows/doors in the area being treated and turning off all fans or other air circulation sources. It’s also recommended that you cover any fish tanks or water features in order to prevent the mist from entering. Additionally, you should always wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves/pants) and a mask when spraying the area in order to avoid inhaling any of the mist yourself.
Once you have completed these preliminary steps, it’s time to apply the product itself! This involves positioning yourself upwind of where you plan on releasing the mist so it does not blow back onto you; setting up an area around yourself that is free from any flammable items; making sure no people or animals are present in or near your spraying area; and finally releasing the mist by pressing down firmly on top of the container with even pressure until it finishes spraying its contents evenly over your targeted area.
After completing this task, we recommend staying out of the area you’ve just sprayed (yourself and others, including your pets!) until all mist has completely dissipated (usually 15-20 minutes).
But, keep in mind, these are just general recommendations–make sure you read the product label very carefully!
(10): Consider planting natural plant deterrents around your property to naturally keep mosquitoes away!
Did you know that some plants are actually really effective at acting as natural mosquito repellent?!!
These mosquito repellent plants are actually beautiful additions to gardens, tree lines, even landscaping features, so they can be easily added to most properties!
For a great way to repel mosquitoes naturally, consider planting:
Catnip: Catnip is a member of the mint family, which can be planted around your property to naturally keep mosquitoes away. Studies have found that when exposed to catnip oil, mosquitoes were repelled up to ten times more effectively than DEET (a chemical commonly used in insect repellents). It also has antifungal, antiviral and antiseptic properties.
Citronella: Citronella is an aromatic herb that produces citronellal – a powerful compound used in many commercial mosquito repellent products. It’s easy to grow at home and can be used to create natural sprays or candles as well as herbal infusions for topical applications. Planting it around your home will help repel mosquitoes and other pests.
Basil: Basil is a strong smelling herb with highly aromatic oils that repel many insects including mosquitoes. Planting basil around entry points of your property such as windows and doors will help reduce the number of bugs entering your premises.
Lavender: Lavender has been proven to have mosquito-repelling properties due to its fragrant oils which are released into the air when the plant flowers. Growing lavender near potential mosquito breeding grounds such as standing water sources or nearby gardens will help prevent female mosquitoes from laying their eggs there.
Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, an active compound with potent anti-microbial properties that repels many types of insects including mosquitoes. By planting garlic bulbs around your property, you can create an effective natural barrier against pests without using any harsh chemicals or pollutants.
Marigolds: These bright and cheery flowers contain pyrethrum – a compound derived from chrysanthemums which is known for its insecticidal properties, particularly against mosquitoes and other flying insects. When planted around open areas where these pests are likely to congregate, marigolds can provide an effective barrier against them while still looking beautiful!
Whether it’s disease control, or you’re just looking for a great summer night free of these flying pests, getting rid of mosquitoes is on all of our minds when the weather warms up!
But, the good news is that if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors without worry this mosquito season. Don’t let the bugs ruin your summer – take precautions and be prepared! Have any other tips for avoiding mosquito bites? Let us know in the comments below.