How To Protect Your Garden And Yard From Mosquitoes – Delco Times

By JESSICA DAMIANO

Life comes with many little annoyances, few of which are smaller or more annoying than mosquitoes. Just about anyone who spends time outdoors will be bothered by bloodsucking poop at one time or another.

Although it may seem difficult to avoid mosquitoes, there are several simple steps you can take to reduce or eliminate them from your yard and garden. The best control is prevention.

With the exception of those who live near a lake, swamp, or swamp — or in densely populated neighborhoods — most of the blame for mosquito infestations usually falls on property residents. Mosquitoes only need a quarter inch of water to breed – and a female can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

Inspect your property for standing water. Even the most diligent among us will likely find water collected in a children’s play set, a tire, a clogged gutter, a saucer, an overturned garbage can lid, or a flying disc. Dump or empty the water as you see it, even if the amount seems insignificant, and drill drainage holes in the bottom of the containers like seesaws.

For water intended to dwell, such as in ponds and birdbaths, Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) bacteria is a safe and effective means of killing mosquito larvae. Several strains of Bt are available, each targeting different insects, so be sure to purchase the israelensis strain to target mosquitoes. The product is also effective against black flies and fungus gnats.

Bti comes in a variety of forms, including doughnut-shaped briquettes called “Mosquito Dunks”. The floating rings provide 30 days of protection and “will not harm people, pets and other animals, aquatic life, or other insects, including bees,” according to the CDC.

If you don’t have a pond or birdbath, you can make a mosquito trap yourself: Add a handful of straw, hay or grass clippings to a bucket (preferably dark in color) filled with water, and let it sit for 1- 2 days. Then add a mosquito bath. For large infestations, place several buckets around the yard. Decomposing organic matter will attract insects which will lay eggs on the treated water. Replace the water and add a fresh dip every 30 days to thwart future generations of mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes also like to hide among weeds and overgrown vegetation. Keep the yard tidy.

Running a pedestal or canister fan at high speed will greatly reduce mosquito activity on your porch, deck, or patio. It works by literally blowing the bugs away and dispersing our exhaled carbon dioxide, which would otherwise attract them. You’ll stay cooler too.

Avoid using insecticidal foggers or sprays, which threaten essential pollinators and other beneficial insects while controlling only a small portion of the adult mosquito population. In addition, these applications should be repeated several times per season.

Mosquito plants and other plants marketed as repellents contain oils or chemicals that insects find unpleasant. But they are only effective if these compounds are released, for example by crushing the leaves. Just having such a plant in the garden or in a pot will not bring any benefit.

Various research studies have shown that citronella candles containing citronella oil provide mild to moderate protection. The jury is out on whether the benefit can be attributed to the repellent properties of the active ingredient, the candle’s ability to mask human scent, or whether the flame itself is a deterrent.

In case you were wondering, mosquitoes serve a purpose – as pollinators and bird food. Yet, because the roles they play in these areas are minor, eliminating them from your garden will not have a negative effect on the ecosystem.

Itching aside, many of us live or vacation in areas where mosquitoes can transmit viruses like West Nile, Zika, dengue, and chikungunya, and parasitic diseases like malaria. Pets are also at risk, with heartworm disease posing the greatest threat.

Wearing long sleeves and pants, reducing time outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, and keeping up to date with pet heartworm prevention treatments will help greatly to reduce mosquito bites.

And remember, you don’t live in a barn. Keep the door closed.

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Jessica Damiano regularly writes gardening columns for The Associated Press. His gardening calendar was named the winner of the 2021 Garden Communicators International Media Awards. His weekly newsletter Dirt won a 2021 PCLI Media Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Sign up here for weekly gardening tips and tricks.

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