Mosquito Prevention Measures
How homeowners can reduce mosquito breeding areas
- Mosquito breeding around the home can be reduced significantly by reducing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding.
- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have accumulated on your property. Do not overlook containers that have become overgrown by aquatic vegetation.
- Do not allow water to accumulate at the base of flower pots or in pet dishes for more than 2 days.
- Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have accumulated on your property. The used tire has become the most important domestic mosquito producer in this country.
- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are left out of doors. Drainage holes that are located on the sides collect enough water for mosquitoes to breed in.
- Clean clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. A wading pool becomes a mosquito producer if it is not used on a regular basis.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and do not allow water to stagnate in bird baths. Both provide breeding habitat for domestic mosquitoes.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens are fashionable but become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family that goes on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property. Mosquitoes will develop in any puddle that lasts more than 4 days.
- The federal Centers for Disease Control lists oil of lemon eucalyptus as an herbal alternative that provides protection up to about 2 hours, equivalent to low concentrations of DEET against mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus. Both Cutter and Repel brands offer repellents that use lemon eucalyptus. Note that the label for products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus specifies that they should not to be used on children under the age of three years. Always carefully read and follow label instructions on any repellent or pesticide.
- Some studies have found that herbal repellents containing soy oil and geraniol provide protection for about 90 minutes. One brand containing oils of soy and geranium is Bite Blocker.
- Garlic juice sprayed on the grass, trees, shrubs and other plants around your yard can repel mosquitoes from your property for up to 4 weeks. It will wear off faster if there are frequent or heavy rains.
DEET: due to its toxicity, should be used only in concentrations under 14%, keep repellent away from eyes and mouth. If possible wear long sleeves and pants, and apply the repellent to clothes rather than directly to the skin. Children are particularly at risk from repellents containing DEET.
Controlling mosquitoes indoors:
The best way to control mosquitoes indoors is to keep them out. Make sure windows and doors close tightly. Windows should have fine mesh screens in good repair.
Use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment to kill mosquitoes indoors. It is easier to suck them up than to hit them with a flyswatter.