how to get rid of mosquitoes

kitteh(6 ohio)August 11, 2013

I can't go in the garden unless I'm drenched in repellant due to all the mosquitoes, I get swarmed within seconds. There is no water other than a pond with fish. It is not big enough to attract enough creatures that eat mosquitoes. They just like the planted places, and are worse from the rain. I don't want to kill other insects though. I tried a pepper water spray but it didn't last long and the area is rather big to do that. Strangely the bats mostly disappeared for a few years.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Do you use mosquito dunks in the pond?

Mosquitoes can breed in a very small amount of water....plant saucers, drainage ditches, puddles, bird baths, etc. Unless everyone in your neighborhood works together, it will be very difficult to get control over a mosquito problem.

Drainage, larvicides and personal repellents are about our only least that I know of.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:58PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

You said you have fish inthe pond. That should take care of the pond -- not a source.

As was said, look for other sources of water, specifically standing water.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I share your frustration! I can't go outside any time of day (or of course, night) without getting more than a bite per minute. The property next door is abandoned, and hasn't been mowed since 2010. There's an abandoned swimming pool down at the end of the street full of stagnant water (owned by the CITY!) I don't want to cover myself with poisons (that would get all over the furniture every time I come back in and sit down for a minute, and smell bad enough that I'd rather just get bit) either. The only thing I've found that is somewhat helpful is smoke. Incense works well, doesn't seem to matter what odor. There are coiled citronella incense specifically for this purpose, usually sold with camping and/or fishing gear, and I also use cheap stick incense from the grocery store/dollar store. Doesn't help if you're not in one spot, but if you want to sit on your porch, for example, can make the difference between enjoying yourself and just running inside to stop being dinner. I light about 4 sticks and put them near where I am, like under my chair, so whatever it is about me that the mosquitoes notice is overwhelmed by the incense, I guess that's what it does. Also, that way, the smoke is going away from you, not over/on you, unless there's just no breeze at all.

Those tiki torches are worth having out in the yard, but they need to be upwind, are a PITA to keep filled, and are the most 'stinky' method, IMO/E. They don't last long if left out in the rain, and then you have to move them or mow/trim around them.

If you're unable to tolerate smoke, a strong fan can cause mosquitoes from being able to fly around you, but that's a lot of work to setup, and only helpful in the direct blast zone of wind.

I've been wondering about one of those smoke things bee keepers use. It would be nice to be able to 'clear out' my potting bench area with something like that. It's my favorite spot in the yard, and about the worst for getting bit since it's so shady. Frustrating!

I've also been trapping larvae in rain buckets. Any water I don't use on potted plants gets dumped when wigglers appear in it. Probably just a drop in the bucket, pun intended in the grand scheme of things, but I've killed millions of larvae that way this summer. The 'catch' to that is I get bit going near the buckets to get water from them or empty them 'cuz the mosquitoes hang out around them. So, put away from where you usually sit or work. A screen could prevent access but would not discourage mosquitoes from hanging around, trying to get in. I decided on a bigger mesh to allow them to waste their eggs in the water, but prevent baby birds from being able to drown.

Is any of that applicable to your situation?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:41AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

As I was clicking submit, I also thought about how I just try to avoid the shady spots when they are shady. I 'visit' stuff on the east side of the house in the morning, west side in the afternoon. Staying in the sun reduces the number of bites, but it sure would be nice to be able to enjoy a 'shade garden' while it's in the shade!

It's so bad this summer, most yard work has been done in pre-storm weather, those precious few minutes when you realize the shadows are gone, the wind has kicked up, the temp is dropping. I've kept working through some of the lighter rains just because I was getting stuff done and NOT being bit.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:46AM
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kitteh(6 ohio)

Yes it's neighbors' where they must breed and I cleared out taller grasses but they like my wildflower gardens. And me - they like me more than most. The natural repellants are expensive and they even find the tiniest places I don't put it, like a toe. They did go away the few sunny dry days in non-shady parts. Maybe I'll try to get mint incense - citronella is going to make me sicker than them - and do trap water for the larvae. And plant mint in the shaded area.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:37AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

malathion... if its still available .. used to be labeled for squeeters ...

the trick is to go after where they hide during the day ... also.. in spraying the insides.. the effect lingered as rain did not wash it away ...

i used to spray the INSIDE of all large plants.. where they hid .. and by taking away the hiding spots.. reduced the population significantly ...

i did it according to the label with my own little pump tank ..

apparently.. they used to bomb areas from airplanes.. ohhh... the good old days.. lol ....

it sounds like your inclination is organic.. good luck with that.. lol ...

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: It can be sprayed directly onto vegetation, such as the bushes where mosquitoes like to rest, or used in a 5 percent solution to fog the yard. In the small amounts used for mosquito control, it poses no threat to humans or wildlife. In fact, malathion is also used to kill head lice.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

There's no way I'm spraying stuff like that on anoles, butterfly caterpillars, possibly a hummingbird nest, dragonflies, toads, whatever else is living out there. Trying to control the environment to that degree regarding critters that can fly seems ridiculous to me. You'd have to do it every evening, and what about 10 minutes later, when new ones fly over from the neighbors yard?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 5:39PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i kinda figured...

here was my other solution ...

in college.. i got a set of DR scrubs... very thin.. light weight.. 100% cotton.. and used those in the garden .... and inundated those with the spray ... i cant recall how i dealt with short sleeves now.. see link ...

i have seen nursing scrubs at wallyworld.. but i bet those are heavier fabric .... and maybe you could find long sleeve ..

so.. the idea.. is to have long sleeves and long pants.. very lightweight.. and use them as your protective garden dedicated clothes ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 7:14PM
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Since mosquitoes can travel quite long distances the source of them in anyone's yard may not even be the next door neighbors.
Malathion, even though used to control head lice, is a very bad pesticide and is extremely toxic to many beneficial insects. Spraying to control mosquitoes is probably one of the worst uses of this poison.

Here is a link that might be useful: About mosquitoes

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 7:11AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i recall the long sleeve dilemma solution now ...

i had old long sleeve button down shirts from my office days... 100% cotton again ...

and kept a collection of the more ratty ones.. hanging in the garage for this problem ...

so walk out to the garage in shorts and a T shirt.... slip over the long sleeve shirt .... and the scrub pants.... both already covered in bug spray ...

a little squirt in my hand.. to do my head ... and away i went ...


check this out:

Here is a link that might be useful: inlaws bought me one .. but i never had the guts to wear it.. lol .... i think they were mocking me ...

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Problem here too.

We bought some Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent at Academy Sports and it works very well. I know it's annoying to have to apply something but at least it's 100% natural (lemon eucalyptus oil) and can tide you over until you can nip the problem at its source.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coleman® Botanicals 4 fl. oz. Pump Spray Insect Repellent

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:20PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

The type of plants in your yard won't eliminate them, but can make a difference in the population. They're attracted to the shade of dense shrubs during the heat of day, so use of airy plants or more open pruning can be less inviting. Not a lot of hard science on the mosquito repelling effects of odors/oils of some plants, but enough anecdotal support to suspect there is some truth there.

We were regularly attacked by mosquitoes during late afternoon/dusk swims before we "xeriscaped" the pool; now it's not so bad - not 100%, but guessing its better than an 80% reduction. The autumn sages (salvia greggii) and copper canyon daisy (tagetes lemmonii) in particular are pungent compared to the indian hawthorn, abelias, and dwarf nandinas they replaced. So if you can stand the smell, you might experiment with these or others to see if they have any effect in your garden space.

This relevant article from Mother Earth News includes some additional info on building mosquito traps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grow Safe, Natural Mosquito Repellents

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 2:09PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

We recently added a couple lantana varieties which are also reported have mosquito repelling characteristics. They've not been in long enough to contribute to the reduction seen so far from the other plants, so we may get even closer to total elimination..... around the pool, anyway. They're perennial in north Texas, but believe they can work as annuals further north.

The MEN article dropped lantanas due to parts of the plants being toxic to humans, but have attached a link to a study done on l. camara in east Africa.

Here is a link that might be useful: Repellent Plants Provide Affordable Natural Screening...

This post was edited by bostedo on Fri, Aug 16, 13 at 17:36

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:30PM
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