Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying insect pests alive. If you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes, it can completely destroy your comfort, and prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities in the cooler and more pleasant morning and evening hours.
With the arrival of West Nile Disease, mosquitoes have also become dangerous to citizens of non-tropical countries for the first time in many years.
Here are some tips for controlling mosquitoes around your home without pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.
Destroy Mosquito Habitat
The first step you should take is to examine your yard thoroughly a day or two after a heavy rainfall, looking for areas with standing water that might harbor mosquito larvae. Not all of these areas will be natural – in fact, some mosquitoes show a decided preference for breeding in old tires and similar man-made water collectors. Dump out any standing water you find, or better yet, remove the breeding habitat completely.
Be careful to change water in bird baths at least two times per week.
If you own a pond, consider adding a waterfall or fountain to prevent the water from becoming stagnant. Adding koi is another good idea – koi voraciously eat mosquito larvae, pupae, and adults. Other good mosquito-eating fish include: goldfish, mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), and Golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas).
Cut edge plantings back so they don’t overhang the water, and keep aquatic plants from going in quiet corners of the pond, to keep them from providing protection for mosquito larvae.
Do provide some underwater and emergent plants such as sedges or rushes, however, because dragonflies – another voracious mosquito eater – will use these plants to climb out of the water when changing from their nymph form to adults. More dragonfly attracting tips.
Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
There are a number of plants that repel mosquites. Planting a mix of these plants around your home and patio can create mosquito free zones for outdoor entertaining and other activities.
One of the most famous mosquito-repelling plants is citronella grass, which is used by manufacturers to make citronella candles.
Another well-known mosquito repelling plant is marigolds. These cheery flowers repel many other insect pests as well, but are popular nectar sources for butterflies.
Catnip is famous for attracting cats, but what is less well known is that it also repels mosquitoes! In fact, studies have found that catnip oil is more than 10 times better at repelling mosquitoes than DEET!
The lovely and aromatic garden herbs rosemary, basil, lavender, lemon balm, and lemongrass are also effective mosquito repellents.
More plants that repel mosquitoes:
There are two different kinds of plants commonly sold as “mosquito plants.” One is a type of geranium that has been genetically modified to produce citronella oil. The other is Agastache cana, also known as Giant Hyssop, Bubblegum Mint, or Hummingbird Mint.