Updated: October 30, 2010
Insects are everywhere. They do wonderful things for the world. Unfortunately, the common mosquito is not one of the wonderful ones.
Repelling mosquitoes can be a real pain for gardeners. This is especially true if you are an early riser or like to work the land at the end of the day.
Why? Because mosquitoes lie low during the day. They’re active at dawn and dusk.
In the case of female mosquitoes, they are looking for extra nutrients in the blood of mammals to facilitate egg-laying. Since humans are mammals, we end up being prime targets for the mosquitoes.
Let’s take a sec to get the legal words out of the way. This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy from my partners, I will make a tiny amount of money at no cost to you. This in no way affects my recommendations.
Over the last century, scientists developed chemicals like DEET (diethyltoluamide) to protect people from a mosquito’s tiny bite. Eventually, DEET became the main ingredient in modern day bug spray.
DEET does a great job repelling mosquitoes, but unfortunately some experts feel it can cause serious health issues.
You can absorb it into your blood stream when you apply it to your skin. Worse still, you can even be exposed if you try to spray it only on your clothes.
That’s why for our own safety and our loved one’s well-being, you should consider alternative, eco-friendly ways of repelling mosquitoes whenever possible.
Doing so won’t require any costly products or major lifestyle adjustments, but it does require common sense and a little understanding about what attracts mosquitoes.
The logical first step to counteract mosquitoes is to prevent them from breeding where you live. This, however, doesn’t mean tracking them down one by one.
If you ask any exterminator they will tell you mosquitoes need water to lay eggs.
Their development from egg to adult sometimes occurs in as little as five days. One way you can do to lower the population is get rid of any standing water.
In a bird bath, mosquito dunks naturally prevent mosquitoes from successfully reproducing.— Suburban Hobby Farmer
Some examples where mosquitoes may like to breed include:
- Cups, buckets, flower pots, and any other similar items that you may be have around the patio, lawn, or deck.
- Leaky garages or basements where water takes a while to dry out.
- Gutters or other drainage pipes that may be clogged and causing water to puddle.
- A roof that may have sprung a leak causing water to collect inside.
When you can’t prevent standing water from accumulating, e.g., in a bird bath, mosquito dunks provide the next best alternative. By adding mosquito dunks to small pools of standing water, you prevent the mosquito from successfully reproducing.
The dunks contain a natural, organic ingredient that feeds on the mosquito larvae. I know what you’re thinking: if it eats mosquito larvae, what does it do to plants, other insects, animals or people? But it’s completely harmless and safe.
When you’ve done everything you can to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing, repelling mosquitoes is the next step.
The first thing to know is that mosquitoes have a keen sense of smell. There are odors that attract them, while others drive them away.
For example, sweet smelling perfumes and scents will attract mosquitoes so wait till after your morning harvest or weeding session to put on perfume or cologne. Alternatively things like garlic and herbs (such as sage, basil, lavender, rosemary and, of course, citronella) keep mosquitoes at bay.
In fact, essential oils made from herbs and mixed with vinegar or alcohol usually act as good natural repellents. You can rub these blends on or spray them on bare skin or clothing.
But you must reapply these handmade repellents every one and a half hours or so because the scent wears off.
It’s important to note that pregnant woman should consult their doctor before using essential oils.
Also, if you’ve never tried them, you should first test them on a small patch of skin because some people have allergic reactions to various types of plants.
Meanwhile, another way to repel mosquitoes is to introduce mosquito predators into the local environment. These predators can include, for example, the beautiful and exotic-looking dragonfly.
While the dragonfly’s purpose in life is not necessarily to control the local mosquito population, these predators will gladly devour as many of the little critters as they can find. Unfortunately, dragonflies feed only during the day, which is why mosquitoes tend to stay hidden while the sun is high in the sky.
Bats, on the other hand, also feed on mosquitoes, but they hunt primarily at night. So bats in your backyard are very good for controlling mosquitoes.
When natural predators are not available, you can use manmade predators instead. These include a variety of devices, including the Mosquito Magnet, that attract and kill mosquitoes without pesticides.
Of course, if you don’t leave any mosquitoes for the natural predators, they may starve. So devices like the Mosquito Magnet should only be used when you don’t have any other alternatives.
Covering up and timing
Wearing long sleeves and pants in the garden sets a physical barrier between flesh and the hungry mosquito. This may not solve all your mosquito problems, but it may be more helpful than you expect.
Even if you are simply going for a leisurely morning stroll through the yard, cover forearms and legs or you may have a few unnecessary bites to deal with when you get back.
Sure, mosquitoes can still poke through various types of material. But if you make it difficult enough, mosquitoes will probably search for an easier meal elsewhere.
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