6 tips for keeping mosquitoes away from your yard

Okay, if mosquitoes did suck fat, this post might be on cultivation
rather than prevention, I cannot lie.
I slapped our landscape designer earlier this week. I consider it a humanitarian effort though. The man was being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

Yes, mosquitoes. In January. Welcome to 70-degree, drought-ridden Sacramento where trees want to blossom and mosquitoes flourish.

At first we thought our neighbors' cesspool was the culprit, but as the Mosquito and Vector Control guy (to whom I reported the algae-covered pool) informed me, the warm weather is really to blame. We've got a swarm of California Rice Field Mosquitoes moving through the neighborhood. Apparently they're really enjoying the sunshine and unfortunately, our construction crew's blood. Ahem.

As we prepare to actually spend time in our yard this Summer (dig the photos of our Back 40 Revamp), I've been researching how to keep mosquitoes at bay. Here are six suggestions, not including spraying poison, slathering in DEET or burning those icky citronella candles that give me a headache.

1. Remove breeding grounds. This means no standing water! Mosquitoes need only the tiniest bit of water for breeding, so ditch bird baths, frequently change out the dog's water bowl, keep the yard tidy, clean the gutters, and (hello, Shawna) tip plant saucers to drain excess fluid.

Some consolation
2. Use lighting that doesn't attract them. Mosquitoes apparently have no love for yellow bug lights or LEDs. The zappers though? Ineffective according to my research. Don't waste your money!

3. Cultivate plants they hate. Lavender, rosemary, garlic, chives, citrus, catnip, marigolds, lemon balm, citronella grass, lemon scented geranium (call the "mosquito plant")--these are all plants with scents mosquitoes do not enjoy.

4. Bring household cleaning products outside. Anecdotal evidence says mosquitoes hate dryer sheets and soap. Some folks have had success rubbing themselves with dryer sheets and warding off mosquitoes by squirting dish soap into saucers. (Someone let me know if this works!)

5. Fill tree holes with sand. My new friend at Vector Control told me that mosquitoes enjoy living in tree holes until dusk (tree holes being exactly what they sound like). The solution? Plug them or call a tree surgeon.

6. Blow 'em away. The New York Times reported that a simple house fan can be effective at keeping mosquitoes away because it lessens two sources that attract them: carbon dioxide and body heat.

Any other good tips?!


How to rid your yard of mosquitoes
6 ways to get rid of mosquitoes
How to get rid of mosquitoes: Testing 11 home remedies
Fight The Bite
The claim: To repel mosquitoes, use a house fan

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