Summer is upon us and school is getting out. This means mosquitos. And although they are largely a nuscence in the United States, several diseases like the Zika Virus and Malaria are serious consequences to these vectors. Whether you’re motivated by lack of insect bites or something much more serious, here are a few surprising strategies to limit your exposure.
- Make Friends with Natural Predators– Birds, bats, toads and spiders are all natural predators of mosquitos. Be excited if you see these animals around the garden or yard! A single toad can consume 15,000 insects a year. Encourage them to stick around by inverting a clay flowerpot, break a small entrance off the rim and place it in a quiet place in the yard. Bats are another friend you can be glad to see. They can consume up to 600 pests an hour. Consider growing French Marigolds which repulse mosquitos and provide a snack for the bats as well. Bat houses can be easily purchased and hung in trees to encourage them further.
2. Remove Water Catchers Around The Yard– Mosquitos need fresh water in order to reproduce. A small amount of water in an old tire swing or wheelbarrow is enough to breed thousands of these insects. Consider walking around and emptying these wet areas, especially after a rain.
3. Mix Up Your Own Lawn Repellant– You’re having a party or a big planting day so mix up this “Mosquito Lemon Aid” from Jerry Baker’s Backyard Problem Solver:
1 cup lemon-scented ammonia and 1 cup of lemon-scented dish soap
Add ingredients into a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and spray down your yard. Each application should work for 2-3 days if you don’t have rain. Consider spraying early or late in the day.
4. Protect yourself– You may already know to avoid wearing bright colors, avoid perfumes, and wear bug spray. Keep doing that! Also, as much as you’re tempted to wait for a shower after you crawl in the dirt, consider rinsing off before getting outside. Body odor attracts mosquitos too.
Of my favorite tricks I started this year, wearing a broad-brimmed hat is the simplest. For whatever reason, flying insects avoid those wearing a cowboy or gardening hat. Also, swish around aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary or mint where you are working. Most flying insects avoid spicy aromas.
As always, please comment and share on Gleanforgood.co with your bright ideas!