Nobody enjoys having mosquitoes around (except maybe those animals that eat them)! Their bites are itchy and can carry disease; their presence can turn a beautiful evening on the porch or lovely day gardening into an annoyance and a nightmare. While it’s impossible to completely stop mosquitoes from entering your yard, there are many ways to deter them.
As we move into the rainy season in Sarasota and Tampa, now is the perfect time to consider how to keep these itchy pests at bay. Here are our top 5 tips:
- Get rid of any standing water: This is the most important tip! Mosquitoes breed in still or slow-moving water. Females will lay hundreds of eggs that hatch and turn into adults within just a few days, meaning your mosquito population can explode rapidly. To prevent this breeding boom, eliminate any standing water that you can. This includes obvious locations, such as an old birdbath that you do not regularly clean or low areas of your yard where water pools. However, mosquito breeding grounds are often in places that don’t immediately come to mind–clogged gutters, pooling water on trash can lids, in potholes in your driveway, or in holes in your trees. By removing these areas, you will significantly decrease the mosquito population in your yard. To keep mosquito larvae out of your bird baths or fountains, simply be sure to change the water once a week.
- Keep the grass mowed properly: Tall or dense grass serves as protection for mosquitoes from predators. To minimize the likelihood that they’ll flock to your turf, keep your grass mowed to 5 inches or less. You can also actively repel mosquitoes by planting species that keep these pests away. Herbs including basil, citronella, catnip, marigold, and rosemary all have mosquito-repellent properties but smell and look great in a garden!
- Screen in your porch: It is relatively easy to screen in your patio – or a portion of it – and it’s a guaranteed way to keep most bugs away from you. You will still be able to enjoy fresh air and the sounds and smells of the outdoors without pesky mosquitoes ruining your peace. Sectioning off a screened area will allow you to stay protected on summer nights without the cost of screening in your entire lanai or deck.
- Create a fun aesthetic while deterring mosquitoes: Many tiki torches burn citronella oil, which naturally repels mosquitoes when it turns to smoke. Surround a fire pit or patio with torches to entertain guests while helping keep them itch-free.
- Encourage nature to do the work for you: Make your yard more attractive to predators of mosquitoes such as bats and birds. Simply installing a bat house or bird feeder can have a great impact on the amount of mosquitoes you experience in your landscape. Stock guppies that feed on mosquito larvae in your ponds so that you can reap the emotional and aesthetic benefits of a water feature without being swarmed with mosquitoes.
Though you may follow all of these suggestions to deter mosquitoes from your yard, you will have little luck if there are many areas of standing water next door! It can be helpful to get your neighbors on board with your efforts when trying to decrease your local mosquito population so that you can all benefit.
Finally, protect yourself when you go outside. Wear light-colored long sleeve shirts and pants to decrease the chance that mosquitoes will have access to your skin, and apply a safe insect repellent to the exposed parts of your body.
Big Earth Landscape Supply is a premier provider of all things landscaping in the Tampa Bay area. Whether you are a homeowner looking to spruce up your yard, or a contractor needing supplies – we’ve got you covered.