How To Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Home for Good
What do mosquitoes look like?
Adult mosquitoes are small flying insects with spindly legs and narrow abdomens. Mosquitoes range from dark black to light brown in color, with different species carrying varied markings. All mosquitoes, however, possess a long and slender proboscis, an elongated mouthpart.
Female mosquitoes are biting insects that feed on blood, inflicting painful and itchy bites when they do. The itch is caused by an allergic reaction to mosquito saliva. Bites often appear as small red or white puffy bumps within a few minutes after the bite. After a few days, bites typically harden, darken, or blister. Mosquitoes can bite any part of exposed skin, so check areas such as your neck, arms, hands, or ankles following exposure.
The presence of mosquitoes is undesirable, especially when you’re dealing with mosquitoes in the house. Knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes and how to keep mosquitoes away are important factors every homeowner should learn.
Are mosquitoes dangerous?
Aside from irritation caused by bites, mosquitoes pose a serious threat to human health. Many mosquito species are notorious spreaders of infectious diseases. Mosquitoes can transmit serious and sometimes deadly illnesses to humans, including West Nile virus, Zika virus, chikungunya virus, malaria, and dengue fever.
Mosquitoes can also transmit diseases and parasites to pets, with dogs and horses being particularly susceptible. Such illnesses include heartworm, eastern equine encephalitis, and West Nile virus.
What are mosquitoes attracted to?
Female mosquitoes are attracted to their hosts by a combination of carbon dioxide exhaled as breath and particular body odors. That’s why mosquitoes tend to bite some people more than others. Some mosquito species target specific animals, while others are equal opportunity feeders. Once they find a host, mosquitoes are attracted to body heat in order to land and start feeding.
Mosquitoes seek standing water to lay eggs. This includes marshes, swamps, and puddles. It also includes common objects that can hold water, such as tires, planters, buckets, toys, plastic tarps, and even bottle caps.
How to get rid of mosquitoes, step by step
A mosquito infestation in your yard or home is not only unpleasant, but it also presents a threat to the health of you and your family. Every homeowner should know what keeps mosquitoes away. Only using a mosquito spray for yards without taking other preventative measures is not enough. Instead, homeowners should adopt an integrated management approach to prevent mosquitoes from taking hold on their property.
Step 1: Protect yourself
Before you step out and begin implementing mosquito control measures, protect yourself from bites by applying an EPA-approved insect repellent. The most effective contain DEET, a colorless liquid insect repellent. You should also dress in long sleeves, pants, socks, and shoes to prevent bites. Working in the daylight when mosquitoes are less active can help as well.
Step 2: Identify and monitor breeding grounds
Mosquitoes can breed in a small amount of standing water. This means you must be vigilant about identifying areas in your yard where water collects. Be sure to dump out any standing water that you can after it rains, or remove objects in your yard that collect water altogether.
Step 3: Apply larvicides to standing water areas
You can’t dump or remove all areas that collect water, such as tree holes, gutters, or low areas in your yard. In these situations, treat standing water with larvicides and follow the instructions on the label.
Step 4: Eliminate adult mosquitoes
If you identify the presence of adult mosquitoes, which tend to rest in shady areas, you should choose and apply an adulticide. Adulticide options include coils, foggers, sprays, and aerosols. Whichever type you choose, always follow the labeled instructions.
Step 5: Keep pets and children away
After applying insecticide, it’s always recommended to keep pets and children out of the area until the product has dried. Make sure to wait at least an hour. If you’re worried about chemical interactions, you can protect children from mosquito bites using an all-natural, DEET-free repellent, such as Buzz Away Extreme. Pets should also be treated with nontoxic insect repellent formulations.
Step 6: Put up mosquito traps
Putting up mosquito traps is an additional step you can take to prevent adult mosquitoes from reestablishing themselves on your property. They work by attracting and trapping mosquitoes in a water-based solution.
Step 7: Stay vigilant
Continue to monitor breeding grounds and areas for signs of activity where adult mosquitoes congregate. You may have to repeat these steps on a weekly basis until the population is under control.
Products you’ll need to get rid of mosquitoes
- Insect repellent. Sawyer Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent is a DEET-containing lotion that’s effective against mosquitoes and doesn’t have a strong chemical odor.
- Larvicide. Summit Mosquito Dunks can each treat 100 square feet of surface water and last up to 30 days.
- Adulticide. Concentrated Mosquito Magician is a nontoxic blend of natural oils that kills and repels mosquitoes for up to two weeks. You can use it with any pump sprayer, hose sprayer, or fogger.
- Pump sprayer. You can fill the Chapin Specialty Mosquito sprayer with any adulticide.
- Mosquito traps. Hanging Spartan Mosquito Eradicator traps helps you passively control mosquito populations on your property, with two tubes effective for treating one acre of land.
Don’t want to use chemicals? Here’s how to get rid of mosquitoes naturally
The good news is that the majority of commercially available treatments used to kill and repel adult mosquitoes are derived from natural ingredients. For example, Mosquito Magician is a blend of citronella oil, garlic oil, rosemary oil, lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, and geraniol, all believed to repel mosquitoes. Geraniol is a compound derived from plants, particularly flowers, which acts as a natural insecticide and is generally considered safe by the FDA. Other mosquito sprays for yard maintenance that use natural and nontoxic ingredients include Wondercide and Colton’s Naturals Yard Mosquito Repellent.
For those dedicated to getting rid of mosquitoes naturally, avoid sprays containing pyrethrins and pyrethroids. Pyrethrins are chemicals derived from the chrysanthemum flower and pyrethroids are synthetic versions of the same chemical. These chemicals are known to cause allergic reactions in people and may kill fish if applied incorrectly.
Larvicide products, such as Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits, are also naturally-derived. These and similar products use bacteria as an active ingredient and aren’t considered harmful to humans or pets. However, be aware that there are anecdotal accounts of poisoning in pets and accidental ingestion should be actively avoided.
For an all-natural alternative to DEET-containing insect repellants, make your own homemade mosquito spray by combining about 10 drops each of peppermint oil, thyme oil, and rosemary oil into a spray bottle filled with water.
Electric insect killers (or “bug zappers”) and ultrasonic devices both claim to kill mosquitoes, but research has concluded that they neither attract nor repel mosquitoes. In fact, electric insect killers are more likely to kill other types of insects necessary for a healthy ecosystem and that support the population of songbirds.
When to call a professional exterminator to treat mosquitoes
If your mosquito infestation is extensive or difficult to control using the measures outlined above, then it’s time to locate a professional exterminator to intervene. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends looking for a combination of quality and value. Evaluate a number of different companies and consider how long each has been in business, read reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask for references.
How to keep mosquitoes away
Most species of mosquitoes stay in close range to their larval breeding grounds, however, some have a range of up to 20 miles. That means it’s possible for mosquitoes to return to your property once you’ve removed them. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to always remember to treat and remove standing water on a regular basis. Mosquito traps may also serve to prevent an infestation from reoccurring.
Controlling mosquitoes is a community effort. All of your work may be in vain if your neighbors don’t follow the same procedures. Consider speaking with your neighbors or community group about mosquito control measures to make sure everyone is doing their part and avoiding killing beneficial insects in the effort.
The bottom line on mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are more than just a nuisance — they pose a danger to the health of your entire household. If you’re dealing with mosquitos in-house or on your property, eliminating them and keeping them away requires an integrated management plan. By targeting mosquito breeding grounds and adult mosquitoes, you can control populations with the right supplies and routine maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I keep getting bit by mosquitoes?
Researchers have discovered that mosquitoes are attracted to variations of human body odor, and everyone smells a little bit different. That’s why mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others.
What temperature will kill mosquitoes?
Female mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and can survive temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, mosquitoes rarely feed when temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can exterminators get rid of mosquitoes?
Yes, exterminators can eliminate mosquitoes by removing breeding habitats and applying insecticides to treat larvae and adult populations.
What types of diseases can mosquitoes spread?
Mosquitoes can infect humans with a number of infectious diseases including Zika virus, West Nile virus, malaria, and others. Mosquitoes can’t transmit AIDS.