Protecting Your Family & Your Home from Mosquitoes
He may have beautiful green eyes, but he's the last thing you want cozying up to you at your next outdoor dinner party. By now most of us have been bitten at least once, if not several times so far this summer by mosquitoes. As I sit here writing this, I'm resisting the urge to scratch! And while there are a dozen ways to repel these pests, the best way to ensure you're not having to bathe in Calamine like yours truly, is to take steps to prevent them from breeding.
So let's dig in, shall we?
ELIMINATE STAGNANT WATER. The first line of defense for mosquito prevention is to eliminate any element where water can pool. This is where mosquitoes find the best environment for laying their eggs. After the airborne cycle of their life, females search for water to lay fertile eggs. Any shallow, still body of water that's been present for more than a week provides the perfect environment to breed.
To prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in a fountain or bird bath, install a pump to keep water moving or empty and clean it once a week. If spraying with conventional insecticide is not a preferred option, you may want to consider BTi (bacillus thuringiensis israelensis). This natural, sustained-release microbial larvicide is effective in killing various species of mosquitoes, fungus gnats, and black flies and has no harmful effect on other organisms, including humans. It's available in granules and briquettes.
Another place water collects is stonework. At Terren we use a special method for cutting and finishing our stone work to prevent water from pooling on the surface and use a custom mortar mix to prevent cracking and encourage run-off.
CHOOSE PLANTS THAT NATURALLY REPEL. Along with reducing or eliminating stagnant water, you may choose to introduce plants into your landscape that deter these biting insects from sticking around. Plants with strong odors such as rosemary, lavender, and catmint repel mosquitoes because of the strong aroma they produce. Lemongrass can also act as a natural repellent but it's best used in a container as the plant will likely need to be moved indoors when the temperatures drop.
OTHER METHODS THAT REPEL.
FIRE. Not only do citronella candles, fire pits, and outdoor fireplaces make for great outdoor ambiance, they also give off smoke, which mosquitoes avoid. Throwing sage or parsley sprigs onto the fire boosts the repelling action.
WIND. Mosquitoes are weak flyers so using an oscillating fan will not only hinder their flight but will disperse skin odor and the carbon dioxide that comes from our breath.
CLOTHING. Wearing light colors that are loose fitting and cover the arms and legs can help. Mosquitoes are attracted to colors found in nature so dark colors or bright floral prints may make you an easy target.
TOPICAL SPRAYS, OILS & BALMS. Wearing an insect repellent gives you the best chance of not getting bit if you are out in the elements.
Landscapes are meant to be enjoyed. By choosing a maintenance plan to keep the lawn routinely cut and the plants regularly cared for, you are already one step ahead. From expert plant selection to maintenance and drainage solutions, Terren has you covered. If you're being nibbled on, we may have some suggestions to keep the little buggers at bay.
Call on us, we look forward to it!