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Dealing with Mosquitoes

Mosquito Repellent Buying Guide

Mosquitos have always plagued outdoor activities and spread diseases to humans and pets. Learn how to repel these pests and prevent mosquito problems.

Mosquito Repellents

There are several options for keeping mosquitoes away from your pool, patio, deck, landscape or other personal space.

Mosquito Traps

Mosquito traps are one way to control mosquitoes effectively if you're concerned about using chemicals. These devices disrupt mosquito-breeding cycles, dramatically reducing the biting-insect population for long-term control by capturing the egg-laying female mosquitoes.

Some of these devices use attractants to draw mosquitoes to a trap. Others are electrical devices that use lights to attract mosquitoes. Modern versions use low-powered LED (light-emitting diodes) lights to boost mosquito attraction while saving you money.

It's important to make sure you place your trap properly for it to be successful. Identify mosquito-breeding areas, such as standing water or bushes. Place the trap away from areas with lots of people, such as patios or decks. Position it upwind from the mosquito-breeding area in a shady spot.

Area Mosquito Repellants

Area repellents are ideal for killing mosquitoes, ticks and fleas in your yard.

  • Candles are great for creating ambiance on your deck or patio. The citronella variety provides protection against mosquitos and other flying insects. Citronella is also available as bracelets for personal use.
  • Ready-to-spray treatments are useful for large areas. The simple hose-end attachment makes application easy with no mixing required.
  • Aerosol sprays allow you to kill mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other pests on contact in your landscape.
  • Foggers and misters treat a large area in a matter of minutes, providing immediate mosquito protection for family and guests.
  • Dunk tablets are made for use in standing water such as fish ponds and animal drinking troughs. the formula kills mosquito larvae but is safe for birds and other animals.

Personal Mosquito Repellants

Personal repellants are applied directly to the skin to protect individuals from mosquitoes and ticks.

  • DEET (chemical name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a popular, active ingredient in repellent products that creates a barrier around your skin. It helps block mosquito antennae receptors. The higher percentage of DEET in a product, the longer it repels insects.
  • Repellents made with natural, active ingredients offer protection for the entire family using oils extracted from plants that have a natural ability to protect against insects.
  • Personal battery sprayers clip on a belt or bag and circulate an odorless, refillable mosquito repellent with no spray or mess.

Mosquito Prevention

One way to deal with mosquitoes is to reduce or eliminate their habitat. Mosquitoes are attracted to moisture. Small amounts of water found in planting beds or leaves can be enough to provide a habitat for mosquitoes. Even though many areas are experiencing drought, mosquitoes only need a small space to breed. Some mosquito species' eggs are laid and hatched within 3 days, so you need to be observant. The life span of males (who don't bite) is 10-20 days. Females (the ones that bite and lay eggs) live 3-100 days, again depending on species.

To control mosquito habitat:

  • Look for low areas that might hold standing water. Improve drainage or fill them in.
  • Remove as much debris (leaves, mulch and even grass clippings) from the lawn and
    garden as possible.
  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear.
  • Check and empty any object that can hold water. Children's toys, watering cans, planters
    and saucers, swimming pool covers all can hold standing water.
  • Change water in bird baths once or twice a week.
  • Encourage natural pest control by providing habitat for bats and birds.

Some species of mosquitoes migrate up to a mile in search of food. In addition to your own
property, look around the immediate neighborhood for potential mosquito habitats and remove
them if possible. The bite of any mosquito is something to be avoided, so preventing mosquito bites is important:

Other Mosquito Precautions:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants if you do go out. Lighter colored clothing is less attractive to insects in general.
  • Apply insect repellent to thin clothing and exposed skin.
  • Repair or replace window screens and screen porches if necessary.
Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's directions for use, as printed on the product.