Mosquitoes can be a huge problem for gardeners especially during the summer. Not only do they ruin any chance of enjoying spending quality time in the yard, but they can also cause illnesses like the West Nile Virus, encephalitis, malaria, the Zika Virus, among others. There are many products on the market that can help get rid of mosquitoes, but most are filled with harmful chemicals that will do more harm than good. For a gardener, the perfect solution would be one that is organic and gets rid of all the mosquitoes without harming the garden. Below are some recommendations for controlling mosquitoes without harming the garden:
Eliminate mosquito breeding sites
The best way to eliminate your mosquito problem is to ensure that they do not reproduce and grow in numbers. On average, mosquitoes live for about four weeks so if you ensure they do not reproduce, your mosquito problem will be over in about a month. For a mosquito, the perfect breeding spot is a nice pool of still water that does not go away for a couple of days. Dealing with any standing water should be the first thing you do to ensure they do not reproduce. Here is what you need to do:
a) Destroy or get rid of old tires, tin cans, unused plastic swimming pools, buckets, or any other containers that collect water. Never allow water to accumulate in flower pots, pet dishes, or urns for more than two days.
b) Clean debris from gutters and remove any stagnant water around or under structures or on flat rooftops. Check your outdoor faucets and air conditioner units to ensure there are no leaks that could be forming small breeding sites for mosquitoes.
c) Change the water in wading pools and bird baths at least once every week and stock your ornamental pools or fountains with top feeding mosquito fish, also known as predacious minnows. These fish feed on mosquitoes and their larvae ensuring they do not breed in your pools.
d) Fill or drain puddles, swampy areas, or ditches in your garden and fill any tree holes that may exist with mortar.
e) Eliminate seepage from cesspools, cisterns, and septic tanks.
f) When irrigating your garden, do it carefully to avoid leaving any puddles or stagnant water. Always ensure your yard is well drained at all times.
Control shrubbery and tall grass where mosquitoes love to hide
Once you are done with the breeding sites, it is time to attack the adult mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love to rest in shrubs, tall grass, and plants. They fly into the shrubs and grass particularly during the day then come out at night to feed. You should keep grass cut to a maximum length of 5 inches to prevent mosquitoes from congregating there. You will not be killing them, but you will be forcing them to look for another place to call home. Get rid of other invasive species in your garden especially weeds like buckthorns which add no value to the garden.
Use an all-natural mosquito repellent
You have probably heard about a garlic based mosquito repellant and wondered whether it truly works. Well, it does and all you have to do is spray it all over your garden and other areas where mosquitoes would hide. The repellent is made from all natural garlic juice and can be sprayed on anything that absorbs water; plants, wood decking, trees, mulch, grass, leaves, and other surfaces in your garden. The repellent lasts for about three weeks during which your yard will smell like a pizza place.
Place mosquito killers strategically around your garden
You can try placing mosquito killers like zappers, magnets, or mosquito traps in areas where you know mosquitoes love to hide. These devices are usually designed to kill mosquitoes instantly upon contact and can range from relatively inexpensive to several hundred dollars.
Use mosquito repelling plants
Compared to other methods, using plants may seem like a farfetched idea, but it has been proven to help reduce the number of mosquitoes hovering in your yard. It is also the greenest possible way to get rid of mosquitoes. You will not kill them or reduce their ability to reproduce, but it us definitely a step in the right direction. Some of those plants include:
a) Citronella Grass: citronella oil has been proven to have strong mosquito-deterrent properties, and it is derived from citronella grass.
b) Basil: this will not only make your stew delicious, but it will also ward off the blood hungry mosquitoes in your garden.
Call a mosquito exterminator
Sometimes it is best to simply call a mosquito control expert who not only has commercial grade organic insecticides that can effectively eliminate mosquitoes throughout your yard without harming your garden, but they can also advise you on how often it is best to respray.