Mosquitoes thrive in warm weather. When it cools down in Austin, we all get excited at the prospect of going outside without getting bitten. Unfortunately, the temperature hasn’t dropped enough to completely get rid of mosquitoes, but we still want to enjoy the cooler weather. What’s a homeowner to do to keep mosquitoes out of his or her yard?
How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard
Your most important first step to is to recognize mosquito breeding grounds in your yard and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Make your yard as inhospitable as possible by getting rid of standing water. Remember that even tiny amounts of water – like a thimbleful – can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Scan your yard on a daily basis for standing water sources and dump any that you find. If you see mosquito larvae in the process, you can also dump coffee grounds on top of them to kill them before they develop. Coffee grounds will deprive them of oxygen.
Take Preventative Measures
Mosquitoes also thrive in areas of long grasses, unkempt plants and shrubs, and piled up branches and other debris. Keep your grass cut short, and regularly trim back plants and shrubs so they don’t harbor mosquitoes. If you’ve got branches or other wood sources piled up in your yard, clear it away and keep it from piling up again. Regular maintenance of your yard will help keep mosquitoes away.
Use Natural Deterrents
Another way to make your yard a hostile environment for mosquitoes is to incorporate natural deterrents into your yard. There are a variety of plants you can place in flower beds or in pots on your patio that deter mosquitoes. Examples include citronella, lemon thyme, lemon balm, catnip, and feverfew. There are also natural treatments you can apply to your yard and flowerbeds to discourage mosquitoes. BTI, or bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, is a fungus you can find in granule form that can be sprinkled around your yard. BTI is toxic to mosquito larvae when ingested, but safe for humans and animals. Dousing your plants in a garlic spray is also an effective way to deter mosquitoes, as they detest the smell of garlic.
Invite Natural Predators In
There are also a wide variety of natural predators of mosquitoes, like bats, purple martins, dragonflies, toads, and damselflies, to name a few. They won’t do the job on their own, but in combination with other efforts they can help reduce the mosquito population. You can encourage these mosquito-eaters to visit your yard by creating a draw, like bat and purple martin houses where they can roost. Dragonflies and toads are attracted to water sources or more moist areas, which you probably want to stay away from if you’re trying to get rid of mosquitoes. However, a pond with an installed pump to move water is a worthy attraction for both creatures.
Try DIY Mosquito Control
If you’re fine with going the chemical or mechanical route, there are also various chemical treatments, traps and bug zappers on the market that will help eliminate mosquitoes as well. The most effective spray treatments contain pyrethrin, which is a component of dried chrysanthemum plants. Mosquito traps can be homemade or manufactured versions, but the way they work is the same: traps attract mosquitoes by imitating human characteristics, like producing heat and releasing CO2. Bug zappers perform exactly as they sound – they use a combination of light and electricity to attract and kill mosquitoes.
Rely on the Experts
If you try all of these measures and you are still miserable in your own yard, it’s time to bring in the experts. You can count on ABC Home & Commercial services to accurately assess your problem and get you results.