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Mosquitoes are an unfortunate reality, especially during the summer months. They seem to appear from nowhere and become an annoyance that’s hard to avoid. Mosquitoes are more than just pests, though.
The diseases they carry, such as the Zika and West Nile viruses, can be life-threatening if you don’t take precautions to protect yourself from them. Here are a few ways to get rid of mosquitoes without damaging your surroundings or causing undue harm to nature.
Dangers Associated with Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can pose serious health risks. These blood-sucking insects can transmit diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and the Zika virus. Mosquitoes are responsible for at least one million deaths each year.
How to Get Rid of Indoor Mosquitoes
A mosquito belongs outside, where it can pollinate flowers and serve as food for fish and amphibians. Unfortunately for humans, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, the gas we exhale when we breathe. That’s why they want to be near us. Once a mosquito enters your home, it becomes an annoying predator, and you become its prey.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mosquitoes lay about 100 eggs each time they spawn. The CDC says these eggs eventually dry out into a glue-like substance. They can live in this state for up to eight months, thriving particularly well in warm climates.
Mosquito larvae only emerge after the egg has submerged in water where they can feed on microorganisms. Within five days, the larvae become pupae, which continue to live in the water. After two to three more days, the pupae become adult mosquitoes. Only adult female mosquitoes who have laid eggs bite humans. They use the blood to nourish the eggs, not themselves.
Eliminate Standing Water Inside Your Home
Female mosquitoes lay eggs near standing water. The eggs hatch once they reach maturity and are submerged in water. Consequently, the unattended water in a vase or cup can become a breeding ground.
To keep the adults from perpetuating their life cycles, be sure to refresh your pet’s water bowls, dump out vases of flowers, and keep dirty dishes in the dishwasher. When you eliminate standing water, you also abolish mosquito breeding grounds.
Keep Your Drains Clean
Mosquitoes love grimy drains. These places provide the perfect location for both laying eggs and feeding on leftovers. Their dark, moist interiors are like tailored incubators for a female mosquito‘s eggs. They also provide safe spaces for adult mosquitoes to live while they feast on you and your pets.
How to Clean Your Drains
To clean your drains, use either lavender-scented bleach or vinegar. If you opt for vinegar, pour a cup of it down your drain, and cover the top with a vinegar-soaked rag for as long as you can stand the odor. Then flush out the drain with hot water.
Use the same process with bleach, but don’t leave it in the drain as long because bleach can corrode your plumbing. Scented bleach not only smells better, but the odor may also provide a natural mosquito repellent.
Use Mosquito Traps or Herbal Scents
Mosquito traps lure female mosquitoes by mimicking the scent of carbon dioxide gas. Once inside the trap, the mosquito gets stuck on sticky paper, sucked in by a fan, or zapped by an electric current.
You can also use essential oils to your advantage. Mosquitoes loathe the scents of citronella, lavender, clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass. Put a citronella plant in a sunny window, hang dried herbs in your kitchen, or put out small saucers of something such as lemon eucalyptus oil.
Consider a Safe Indoor Insecticide
Home and garden stores carry rows of spray bottles full of a variety of bug sprays. Which ones are safe for your family and pets?
Avoid insecticides with potentially toxic ingredients such as naled, phosmet, diazinon, tetrachlorvinphos, chlorpyrifos, malathion, or dichlorvos. Often, natural scents like catnip or lavender do just as well at preventing indoor mosquitoes as chemically derived pesticides without the harsh odors.
How to Get Rid of Outdoor Mosquitoes
Although indoor mosquitoes are pesky, outdoor infestations can leave you and your guests covered in itchy mosquito bites.
Unfortunately, the yard sprays, foggers, and toxic pest control products some homeowners use to kill mosquitoes may create an even bigger problem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should avoid using these near fruit and vegetable gardens. Many are toxic to aquatic life, bees, and humans when ingested.
Fortunately, there are healthier, more environmentally friendly ways to control the mosquito population—more than just spraying on a powerful insect repellent and hoping for the best.
Eliminate Standing Water Outside Your Dwelling
Check your landscape for wet places where mosquitoes might lay eggs. Consider empty flower pots, bird baths, old tires, or yard art. Empty these after every rain, and replenish the bird bath at least twice a week. You can try adding mosquito dunks to fountains or fishponds.
Poor drainage in your yard may also attract mosquitoes, which see standing water as a potential breeding ground. Talk to your lawn care or pest control specialist about what you can do to reduce stagnant water in your lawn.
Trim Back Overgrown Vegetation
Thick shrubbery or high weeds offer mosquitoes a great location to rest, hide, and breed. Generally, you want to trim your shrubs on a three-year cycle, but if your hedges and evergreens have gotten out of hand, it’s usually best to hire a professional lawn care service. Trimming too aggressively can kill your plants.
In place of thick vegetation, try planting flowers that repel mosquitoes, such as marigolds or lavender. Some flowers, like black-eyed Susans, attract dragonflies, a natural predator of mosquitoes. These plants add color to your landscape while reducing the pest population.
Clear Out Your Gutters and Exterior Drains
Gutters and exterior drains can easily become clogged with wet leaves, which mosquitoes will find luxurious places to live. They can also produce pools of standing water after a rainstorm.
Your pest control or lawn care specialist can spray DEET or another mosquito repellent around drains and gutters to help keep these spaces mosquito-free. You can also consider adding gutter guards to protect your gutters from clogs and debris.
Consider an Environmentally Friendly Outdoor Insect-Control Product
What about your patio, porch, or grill area? Unfortunately, standard bug zappers are almost entirely useless against mosquitoes, but you can try burning citronella candles. Mosquito netting is another earth-friendly alternative.
When it comes to body sprays, you generally get good results from commercial products containing picaridin. If you prefer a do-it-yourself (DIY) repellent spray, try this:
- Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 30 ml coconut oil in a spray bottle.
- Fill the rest of your bottle with vodka and distilled water.
- Spritz the mixture on your skin.
When to Consult Professionals for Mosquito Control
If nothing seems to work, it is time to consult with professionals about mosquito control. Many companies offer pest-repellent services, and they will be able to help you get rid of your mosquito problem quickly and efficiently.
Here’s how to find the best pest control service:
- Make sure the company is licensed and insured.
- Ask what methods they use to get rid of mosquitoes.
- Make sure the company offers a satisfaction guarantee and always ask for references.
Terminix, Orkin, and Hawx all rank among the top pest control providers in the United States and reliably provide excellent service. It’s a good idea to get quotes from several companies before deciding on one.
Besides being irritating, mosquitoes can make people and pets sick. To stay mosquito-free, keep your home and garden free of standing water, clean your drains and gutters thoroughly, and enjoy mosquito-repellent flowers and herbs. If your mosquito problem doesn’t go away, call in a professional team to help.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes FAQ
What’s the best way to get rid of mosquitoes in your backyard?
The best way to get rid of mosquitoes is to remove their breeding grounds. Eliminate any standing water in or around your home, as mosquitoes lay their eggs in puddles. Start by emptying any containers that can hold water, such as buckets, decorative tires, or empty flower pots. You should also make sure to change the water in bird baths regularly. Finally, keep your grass and bushes trimmed so that adult mosquitoes have nowhere to hide.
How do I get rid of mosquitoes in my home?
Controlling mosquitoes in your yard and outside your home is the best way to keep them from becoming indoor pests. First, check door and window screens to ensure they don’t have holes or cracks. If the mosquitoes are already inside your home, get rid of standing water by keeping your sink and drains clear and refreshing pet dishes regularly. Finally, freshen up your home with mosquito-repellent herbs and flowers like lavender, rosemary, basil, or marigolds.
How can I repel mosquitoes?
Invest in a safe mosquito repellent for yourself, your home, and your yard. You can find many of these on the market or make your own from essential oils. Also, wear light-colored clothing because mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Call in a professional service if mosquitoes become worse than usual around your home.
How We Chose the Top Pest Control Companies
Our pest control research process starts with analyzing customer reviews on third-party websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Google Reviews. We then do a deep dive into each company’s website, service plans, and available cost information. We also secret shop the companies we review, reach out to representatives, and request quotes.
From there, we compile the information we’ve gathered and compare each company using our in-depth pest control methodology and review criteria. This process uses a series of factors that are important to our readers, and we score each company depending on how well they perform in each factor. For instance, companies that offer more guarantees for their service earned more points than others, and pest control plans with a larger range of covered pests earned more points than ones with fewer.
After analyzing dozens of residential and commercial pest control businesses through this process, we were able to determine the best pest control companies on the market.