Mosquito season peaks in the summer months when the heat and humidity combine to provide an ideal environment for them. Besides being nuisance pests that leave behind itchy, red welts, mosquitoes are also vectors for serious diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, and chikungunya. There are lots of green pest control options you can utilize to help control mosquitoes. Here are 3 steps you can take for green mosquito control.
Step 1: Identify Nesting and Resting Sites
The first step in controlling mosquitoes is to identify and eliminate what attracts them. Mosquitoes will come around your property in search of two things: nesting sites and resting sites.
Where do mosquitoes breed? Every species of mosquito lays its eggs in water. While the preferred water source may vary between species, it only takes a thimble full of water for these mosquitoes to hatch and develop. Remove potential breeding sites by:
- Cleaning up debris around your home. Moisture can accumulate under piles of leaves, boards, mulch, rocks, and other outdoor items.
- Walk around your yard and identify any items that can hold water – pots, cans, bird baths, lids, toys, and planters. Empty them or store them upside down when not in use.
- Inspect your gutters for clogs and keep them cleaned out. Watch out for sagging gutters or low spots where the water can accumulate.
- Repair any poor drainage sites in your yard as these can lead to standing water. Consider leveling your yard or installing a french drain.
Once they mature, adult mosquitoes will rest in shady areas that are protected from the wind. Common resting sites include trees, shrubs, potted plants, patios, and front entryways.
Step 2: Protect Yourself
Any time you can protect yourself from mosquito bites you should do so. Take steps to keep mosquitoes from attacking you by:
- Blowing them away. Any breeze above 1 mph will make it difficult for mosquitoes to fly. If you have to spend time outdoors, consider using fans, whether battery powered, plug in or ceiling. Try to keep the air flow from the fans pointed at the lower half of your body as mosquitoes tend to fly closer to the ground to avoid said wind.
- Avoid peak mosquito hours. Mosquitoes tend to feed at dawn and dusk as the wind typically dissipates around these times. Try to stay indoors during these times, especially during the warmer months.
- Apply insect repellent before going outdoors. When applying repellent, spray it onto your hands and rub it onto your skin rather than spraying it directly onto the skin. Repellents with DEET block the mosquitoes’ CO2 receptors, making them especially effective.
- If you are opposed to DEET, there are other natural mosquito repellents you can use instead.
- Picaridin is CDC approved and the most broadly used repellent outside the United States.
- IR 3535 is CDC approved and also repels deer ticks.
- 2-undecanone is CDC approved and is found naturally in cloves.
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus is CDC approved and has been proven in studies to repel as well as DEET.
- Avon Skin so Soft was shown in a 2015 study to repel mosquitoes for up to 2 hours.
- Permethrin fabric spray can be used on clothes, shoes, tents, and netting.
- Essential oils containing eucalyptus, rosemary, cloves, basil, and peppermint have also been shown to repel mosquitoes and are even used in many commercial products.
- Cover up when outdoors. Wear tightly woven, light colored clothing. The synthetic fibers in athletic wear are especially good at repelling mosquitoes. Dark colors stand out to mosquitoes, while lighter colors are less attractive.
- Consider using plants that repel mosquitoes around your home such as citronella, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, and basil.
Step 3: Green Mosquito Treatments
Each yard and the weather above it is different so the effectiveness and longevity of mosquito treatments will vary from home to home. Regardless of where you live or what kind of home you have, a green mosquito control program can be effective at helping control mosquito populations. Green mosquito control utilizes eco-friendly products that are just as effective as traditional products.
A complete green reduction program includes monthly mosquito treatments during mosquito season. Green treatments use products that are derived from flowers and botanicals and area only applied to the areas where they are needed instead of over the entire yard. They are effective at reducing both adult and larvae populations.
The green mosquito reduction program includes an inspection to identify resting and nesting sites; larvacide and adulticides to target all aspects of the population; source reduction and elimination by removing any areas of standing water; and a service guarantee where they will come back between treatments if needed, usually at no cost.
If you have a problem with mosquitoes or any other pest, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the most up to date traditional and green treatment options for your situation.