How To Keep Mosquitoes Away
Deter the little bloodsuckers with some common sense steps
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Throughout much of the year mosquitoes are the uninvited guests at your outdoor gatherings. These pests grow in standing water near your house, and are small enough to land on your arm or leg and pester you before you realize it.
For centuries, mosquitoes were tied to the spread of disease. For a while, it looked like modern society had overcome many of the health concerns, at least in the United States. But recent events, like the outbreaks of Zika and West Nile, have made it clear that mosquitoes remain a carrier of some pretty scary viruses.
While you can’t hope to eliminate them entirely, there are some easy steps you can take to deter them from your yard.
Where and When to Expect Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are found in all 50 states, but some regions are more affected than others. Humid regions and areas adjacent to swamps should expect more mosquitos. Any place with water nearby might attract them, including the ocean.
The reason for this attraction is that still waters are the ideal breeding ground for many types of mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti, the main carrier for Zika. Eggs are deposited in the water, where the develop into larvae, then pupae, before finally emerging as adult mosquitoes capable of transmitting disease from human to human.
“Not all mosquitoes are the same,” states the CDC on its website. “Different mosquitoes spread different viruses and bite at different times of the day.” But most mosquitoes feed at dawn and dusk—just when we’re out for a morning jog or enjoying some after-work grilling.
Sprays, Candles, and Enclosures
Common spray repellents, candles, and torches do their job well enough, but are only temporary solutions. Candles and sprays have a strong smell, and the latter need to be reapplied often. Torches can have a certain charm, but they’re a potential fire hazard and you may not want them on your deck unattended.
A netted canopy can be added to a deck on a temporary or permanent basis, but you’ll need to constantly watch for holes and make sure you’ve got all openings slipped or snapped up. There’s also an aesthetic trade-off with canopies, especially the cheaper options, and at a certain point it may not even feel like you’re outdoors anymore.
Drain All Standing Water
You need to wage a campaign against standing water. Birdbaths, flowerpots, trashcans and lids, old tires, and even wagons are all places where mosquito breeding grounds can form. Don’t forget to drain the rainwater from pool and boat covers. And while you’re at it, grab a ladder to check your gutters as well.
Be vigilant and routinely check all of these for water. As the CDC states, “Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water.”
What about recurring puddles? There are some areas of the yard that always seem to accumulate standing water after it rains. Not only are these unsightly, but they’re a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Manual or electric pumps are an option for the occasional trouble spot. For the long term consider installing pea stones, a French drain, or a catch basin. Just be aware that they require time and money to install, and even then there may be some trial and error until it’s working as it should.
Invest in Permanent Protection
All of these solutions offer some degree of success, but for more peace of mind you need a better permanent option. The NuTone Haven Backyard Lighting & Mosquito Repellent System is a simple addition to any backyard. Installed in the grass or on the deck, Haven emits an odorless, invisible vapor that mosquitoes hate.
Depending on your backyard needs, Haven fixtures can be used on their own or as an add-on to a low voltage lighting system. Turn the fixtures on 15 minutes before heading outside and Haven is ready for action when you are.
Take your yard back from the pests this season. Learn more about Haven.