Nothing ruins a sun-soaked summer gathering in the backyard faster than a thousand uninvited guests all there to dine on you. And mosquitoes are more than just annoying, they can carry diseases that can be transmitted through their bites. To fend them off, you could load up on DEET or treat your lawn with industrial strength repellant, but if you’re not interested in dousing the place where your kids and pets run around and play with gallons of chemicals, there are other ways. Here’s a list of six helpful tips and tricks to naturally combat the seasonal pest and keep your family and friends safe and itch-free this summer.
Get rid of standing water.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing fresh water, so eliminating places where it accumulates around the yard is the first step to eradicating a mosquito threat. Keep your rain gutters clear, empty kiddy pools, tip plant saucers after a rain, and keep your pets’ waters bowls fresh daily, or turned over when they’re not using them.
Keep things tidy.
Mosquitoes are attracted to shade and rotting leaves. Trim your garden, hedges and plants often and be sure to remove any trimmings rather than letting them begin to decompose.
Plant a mosquito-repellant garden.
Some plants have been shown to naturally fend off mosquitoes, and planting them strategically around your yard (like near the deck or patio) can be enough to keep the bugs away. You can also crush the leaves to increase the emitted odor. Look for the following varieties at your garden store: citronella, beebalm, catnip, marigolds, geraniums, lemongrass and ageratum.
Add some herbs.
When barbecuing, toss some fresh rosemary or sage into the flames. The resulting smoke and aroma will keep you from getting bitten while you cook. And add delicious flavor to your food!
Create a breeze.
Mosquitoes are relatively weak flyers, so placing a fan on your deck can provide an easy low-tech solution. Set up a small electric fan, preferably one that sweeps back and forth, and aim a gentle breeze across the area where people are sitting. That’s it!
Install a bat house.
Did you know that one little brown bat can eat a thousand mosquitoes in one night? Enlist the help of these friendly critters by setting up a house in your yard to protect them from the elements and other predators. You can buy one through the Organization for Bat Conservation, or build your own out of plywood. Be sure to set them up at least 15 feet off the ground, and ideally near a water source.
Still need the spray?
- Badger Balm, Anti-Bug Spray
- All Terrain, Herbal Armor
- Veriditas, Bug Off! Bug Repellant Concentrate
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