Around 50 or so years ago, in my carefree youth, I had a mosquito for a pet. One night after riding my bike through the fog of a mosquito truck, I checked on my pet and went to bed. I awoke the following morning to find that he chewed through the chain and got away.
This brings us to the current spring and a winter that was eventful. Usually, May is the official start of mosquito hunting season. This year the season has started a little earlier due to the rain.
The one thing that we all must remember is there is no magic bullet for controlling mosquitoes. The best battle plan is to eliminate the environment that mosquitoes need to live and breed. Stop the larva by having no standing water. I cannot emphasize the importance of keeping your gutters clean. Keep the grass cut short, beds maintained, and don’t overwater your landscape. Do not forget to treat your bubblier and French drain lines, along with rain barrels and saucers for the potted plants. You can treat these areas with products like Mosquito Bits or Mosquito Dunks. The active ingredient is BT (bacillus thuringiensis) with the subspecies israelensis, or just call it BTI.
Promote habitats for the purple martins, bats, and dragonflies. They don’t eat as much as you think, but every little bit helps. Plant a variety of herbs (including citronella), as most have a repellant effect. Change outside lighting from white to yellow light bulbs or lenses, as they will not attract these flying vampires. Don’t forget the citronella Tiki torches and candles. They have a small effect on mosquitoes, but you will get that island feeling. One repellant that I’m impressed with is the very effective Patio Egg.
The Spartan Mosquito Eradicators are the most innovative mosquito control products to hit the market in a long time. They are sold in a two-pack that covers an acre and will last 90 days. As always read and follow the label directions.
The use of sprays and granule repellents in the environment is an option. One of the best all-natural sprays is a cedar oil product called Yardsafe by the Cedarcide folks. Others include citronella, garlic, and orange oil sprays. Synthetic sprays include permethrin, cypermethrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin. Granulated cedar and garlic work as repellents. Permethrin granules are used as broad-spectrum insecticides. The all-natural repellant sprays will last about 2 days but the granules will last substantially longer. Synthetics, both liquid and granulated will last from a couple of days to a month. Length of effectiveness for all products will hinge on the weather.
The last resort is to hose yourself down with a repellant of some sort. Products that contain cedar and marigold oils are on the all-natural side. Synthetics include Deet, permethrin, and believe it or not, Avon’s Skin so Soft. For better or worse, products containing Deet are the most effective.