Help! Mosquitos are eating me alive

sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)February 5, 2006

I can't even use my backyard after dusk. I still have scars on my legs from two summers ago. There is a marsh (swamp) not too far from our house and I assume this is a contributing factor. What can I do to get these pests out of my hair?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You will have to continue to find a repellent or combination of repellents that work for you. I cannot use chemical products that contain DEET, which is reported to be the most effective active ingredient for this purpose.

I have great success with a variety of the herbal concoctions that are out there, myself. Look for something with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus in it. It is reported to be extremely effective.

You need to dress for comfort and protection, too. Wear light colored, loose clothes. Wear a hat, too! Spray the clothes with your repellents.

While relaxing on the patio, set up a strong fan to discourage the blood thirsty critters.

Make sure that you aren't doing anything to add to the population in your own yard. Mosquitoes don't really travel that far. Dump any plant saucers and buckets. Clean the bird bath every day, use mosquito dunks in ornamental ponds, empty catch basins and ditches or keep them treated with mosquito larvicides (dunks). Make sure that your neighbors do the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:14PM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Get a rain barrel and put dunks in it (contain a natural disease that will kill larvae). The idea is to make an attractive breeding place for them that won't sustain larvae. As rhizo said- empty ANY standing water containers in the yard! Old tires, empty buckets, kiddie pool, pools in that tarp that's pulled back on your wood pile...

If you control their breeding success- then you control their population (insert maniacal laugh here).

This worked for me last year in a big way. I had lots of skeeters, but then I didn't have a swamp...

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:21AM
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Do you like garlic? I used to be a misquito snack. I started eating garlic and now they don't touch me. You are in a much more concentrated area, but it might help a little.

My other suggestion is to hang some bat houses. Supposedly bats eat nearly 1000 mosquitos a night. I don't know how much truth there is to it. It's one of those "depends on who you ask" things.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 10:42PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Who owns the swamp? Mosquitos are a public health risk. When I lived in Massachusetts the local city would add something to the water to suffocate the larvea.

I've also invested in some mosquito netting that I wear around my face when the mosquitos are bad, along with DEET (usually Deep-Woods Off) on all my clothing.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 12:51PM
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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

I eat a good amount of garlic. I think my mosquitos are Italian as it doesn't phase them.

I have considered putting up bat houses as I do believe they eat alot of mosquitos. I just am not sure if I'd be trading one problem for another. We actually had a bat in our house last year. He came crawling out on my bed pillow one night. HA!

If I use dunks in bird baths, will it harm the birds -- or my dogs -- if thy drink the water? I have a swimming pool. Do they breed in that or does the chlorine kill the buggers?

I like the fan idea, plus it may provide a welcome breeze.

The swamp is Trenton Marsh and is owned by Mercer County. I'll call the county mosquito control and ask them to treat the area and see if I can get them to treat my property, too. And I'll use DEET on myself but I hate putting that stuff on -- but better than getting eaten alive.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 9:53PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

BE SURE that the county uses a larvacide (which will be a Bacillus strain) and not a typical, broad spectrum insecticide. Bacillus is the ONLY way to go when it comes to mosquito abatement, especially around a habitat like a swamp.

The dunks (which contain the same bacillus strain) will not harm anything but those mosquito larvae. Your dogs can drink the water and birds can take baths. The other chemicals that abatemenet programs use....a different story all together.

Since DEET can be harmful when absorbed by the body, avoid spraying it on your skin, but apply it to your clothing in a well ventilated area. It should not be inhaled, either. Do not use DEET products on children or animals.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 12:05PM
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ofionnachta(z6 WNJ)

Mosquito dunks are impregnated with BT which is harmless unless you are an insect. Buy them, cut in chunks, and place in standing water, such as birdbath, watering cans.
I have good luck with an old bandanna folded up as a headband & putting a fair amount of Deet on it, when I am gardening & skeeters are pestering me. I look like San Francisco in '67 but it keeps them off me.
I live in Mercer Co too--that Trenton-Hamilton Marsh is full of fish, birds, & other stuff that eats skeeter larvae in that water---the bugs that are bothering you are grown closer to your home, in someone's flowerpot dishes, birdbath, old tire, etc. Where fishies can't get at them. Get your neighbors to tip over their water-trappers.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:21PM
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sugar magnolia -
what you really need is one of the new mosquito machines. fired by a propane cylinder such as you attach to your gas grill, they produce a stream of carbon dioxide, which is what mosquitoes follow to find you -- it's what mammals exhale.

they are attracted to the machine which vacuums up mosquitoes that venture near. these things work -- consumer reports endorses them. do NOT even think about bug zappers, which have a purple light that does not attract mosquitos but kilsl thousands of harmless moths and beneficial bugs. and forget those things that claim to imitate the sound of a hunting dragonfly - bogus.

these new machines cover up to an acre. they aren't cheap (starting around $200) but it sounds like you need one. here's a link to one manufacturer:
good luck!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 2:13PM
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After 30 years of being eaten by mosquitos, this is the 1st year I can go outside without any repellant on my skin! We have mosquitos summer, spring, fall, and winter, without a break even during drought times when it is so dry you think they are breeding in the morning (non-exixtant)dew.
I have a rain barrel,now. I LEAVE all the water standing in my containers and yard that I can! I put that MOSQUITO DONUT ENZYME into everything, including on the soil of my plant containers, dog water, (I have 12 dogs so I have to have a lot of water out), a kids swimming pool, which I set up specifically to leave water in just so I could treat it with those Dunks, or donuts. I get a package of twelve dunks at Lowes (which I had to special order it from them as they never heard of mosquito enzymes)...but I got it! I crumble a little of a donut into water standing..or I put a whole donut in the kids swimming pool, along with some water plants to keep the water from becoming too anarobic, or toxic bacterially. And it is Wonderful to be able to stand outside in my yard without getting bitten. You do not have to keep putting the donut stuff in the water containers if the rain doesn't over run the barrels, or stays in the soil of the plants, too. Good luck. A lot of people kept telling me that I had to dump out my standing water until they realized that mine is the only house in the neighborhood where no one gets bitten. =o)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 6:26PM
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I have a hydroponic system outside and it seems that the pump was not moving the water enough to keep the mosquitos from breeding in it so I added a half of a mosquito Dunk. I had been worried that it would affect the plants but they are still doing fine and I feel pretty safe that the stuff doesn't really hurt frogs much either since the little guys that took up residence in/around my hydroponic resivuar still seem fine after months of exposure (I have even seen them swimming in the BT treated hydroponic nutrient.)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 9:32AM
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You can plant hundreds of those yellow flowers they repel mosquitos, Marigolds. That the one. plant the old variety that really smells alot.
Also get to your county water district and they might be able to give you some mosquito fish. Put them into the marsh. They will thive if there are mosquitos larve in the water. I live in a big city Sacramento and they put the mosquito fish in all the drainage cannals because people water lawns too mucha and there is always run off of water going in the drains and into the cannals and ditches. Good luck. Bill

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 12:00AM
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maupin(z6 So. IL)

Mosquito Dunks and Marigolds are good ideas. ne unmentioned is bird (seed and hummingbird)feeders and purple martin houses. Attract that which eats the mosquito.

One of 17 deaths on earth is the result of a mosquito bite. Kill 'em all.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:37AM
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jeffsherman(5 CT)

Stupid question, but I need to ask it: I have a small pond that's filled with frogs and salamanders. If I put a mosquito dunk in it and kill the mosquitoes, will that in turn cause the frogs to disappear?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 5:00PM
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Celtic_Rose(5 MA)

Buy a Mosquito Magnet. They work. Period. Well worth the money. I never would have believed it or purchased one myself but several years ago our neighbor bought one that covers 1/2 acre. Our lots are 1/4 acre and we were pleasantly surprised to find that her Magnet covered our yard as well! I always know when she has run out of propane, etc. because we start to get mosquitoes again. We have two fish ponds, too, and never have any problems with mosquitoes as long as she has her MM running.

It requires electricity but they provides you with a very long cord.

I also would not invest in a knockoff. Stick with the Mosquito Magnet. I've read that the knockoffs do not work very well.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 3:04PM
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I have read that you can spray the old formula Listerine mixed with water on your yard & it will repel mosquitos for a few days or until it rains. I haven't tried it myself, as I haven't had much of a problem as yet this year, but info was from a trusted source. I bought a big bottle of Equate "compare to listerine" for under $3 at wal mart. I will try it before I have a bbq.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 12:20PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I can't imagine it is a good idea to do ANYTHING to attract mosquitos to your yard, even if you plan on killing them later. You only have to miss a couple and the whole cycle starts over again. If you live in an area with wetlands, you are going to have to live with mosquitos, that's all there is to it. You can treat and treat, but mosquitos go with wetlands. I come from MI, a watery state with mosquitos as the state bird! You'll never kill them all, and using a lot of pesticides will just kill the critters that eat mosquitos too. The best you can hope for is balance. Here's some suggestions:

Number ONE, GET A BAT BOX! I work in a damp, wetland area that has gazillion bats, and the mosquitos are under control, not an extreme nuisance. Bats are outstanding mosquito control. Place the bat boxes high up in trees away from your house. The more bats the better! Bat boxes usually come with instructions on how to install them. You can also put them on buildings. Proper placement is vital to insure you get bats. Place them too low and the bats will not use them because predators can get to them. Nothing beats bats for mosquito control. Another option is a purple martin house, but they are a little harder to attract.

Next, cover yourself with effective repellants and protective clothing when you are outside.

If I lived in a highly mosquito infested area, I would maybe invest in one of those pricey carbon dioxide foggers. Confuses the daylights out of the bugs. Another option is to install smoky citronella torches around your patio. You need quite a lot to discourage the bugs, but they work very well. I have a tiny patio, and I use citronella candles in pails, all around the patio, they work well. You can also buy mosquito coils that you light, they work good too.

As a last resort, consider screening in your patio. That's what my folks did, they can now sit out there at night and enjoy the yard at their leisure without the mosquitos!

And indeed, make sure you have no areas of standing water around your house, because that's where the mosquitos breed. You can use the dunks for birdbaths and decorative ponds. But elimiate yard gear and tires, etc. that collects water.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 9:16AM
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I have a type of mosquito magnet that is made by Blue Rhino who is a manufactures propane. It works great. No electric cords to worry about when mowing the lawn. It draws its power form the propane. There is a small pilot light that is ignited the same way as an electric BBQ pit ignition. It also acts as a tiny generator that powers the fan inside that traps the mosquitos until they dehydrate. The Mosquito Magnet works great too. My brother in law has one and he catches a zip-lock bag (quart size) in one night when he first lights it. Keep in mind that it takes a few weeks before one notices a change in the population because the larvae will need to be destroyed too. The propane systems usually come on sale towards the end of the summer.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 10:27PM
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I also live in Michigan - Manistee specifically which is located on the shore of Lake Michigan about mid-mitten. This has got to be the WORST mosquito season I have ever experienced...I am not even exaggerating. The first week they came out our kids got eaten alive. We have to worry about West Nile here and they carry all sorts of other nasty diseases. We are in the middle of erecting a pole barn and the metal sheets are in the middle of my yard (not happy about that) and what I didn't realize is that when I watered my garden, water would get caught inbetween the sheets....I was pulling weeds around them and was instantly swarmed...freaked me out. We use lots of OFF....lots and lots of it. If we didn't we would be stuck indoors all summer long. I did find a spray called Hot Shot and you spray your doorways, screens and outside helps for a day or so and then you must repeat. Where would I find the "dunks" that you are talking about?? I have never heard of them...we are surrounded by small lakes, creeks and wetland ares..Any suggestions would be sooooo appreciated...Melissa

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 2:52AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Don't you dare add mosquito fish to any swamp lake pond or river that you do not own in its entirety and that doesn't have any chance of letting them out. They actually prefer other kinds of food including other small fish and they are aggressive, many watersheds produce more mosquito's after they have been stocked with gambusia. I used to think they were a great idea until I kept some and then did some research, turns out they are a bad idea as native fish do a better job and are native fish.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 5:26AM
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