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How to keep mosquitoes out of your backyard party

Every one loves to be out in there back yard in the warm weather, but nothing is worse than having people over and being bombarded with mosquitoes while you are trying to entertain. Though there is nothing you can do to keep them all out there are things you can do to make your outdoor entertaining more enjoyable and less interrupted.

The first thing you need to look at is removing standing water on your property. You may not be able to stop mosquitoes from flying into your yard but you can take precautions that will reduce or stop them from breeding on the premises. Mosquitoes breed in still water and even a puddle an inch deep can be a great breeding ground for these insects. For the mosquitoes to mature they just need where their larvae are hatched to stay wet for two weeks. Here are some common problem areas and solutions for the resting water on your yard.

  1. If you have a yard that holds water after a storm you should look into getting the yard regraded by a professional landscaper.

  2. Clean your gutters or have someone do it for you. Often they get clogged and provide great breeding grounds for mosquitoes

  3. Change the water in pet bowls and bird baths regularly, making sure no larvae get the two weeks they need to mature.

  1. If you have a pond or water feature add mosquito Dunks insecticide or granules of Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) These bacteria kill mosquito larvae but are harmless to fish pets and humans.

  1. Keep your pool clean, as long as your pool is properly maintained it won’t be a favorite spot for mosquitoes to breed.

After you have taken care of any standing water in your yard stopping mosquitoes from breeding on your property, the next thing you should look at doing is reducing the number of places they hide during the day in your yard. Mosquitoes like to hide during the day where it is cool and dark. If you regularly cut your grass weed your gardens and prune your plants or have a Durham Region landscape maintenance professional do this for you it will reduce the number of mosquitoes that like to hang out in your yard.

Now keeping everything properly maintained won’t get rid of all the hiding places in your space. Under the leaves of your larger leafy plants are great places for them to hide. You can spray these areas with pesticides or better yet have a professional do it for you as they have pesticides that will kill the mosquitoes but leave other insects relatively unaffected. Another more nature friendly option would be to plant plants that repel mosquitoes through out your gardens particularly near ones that will provide the mosquitoes potential cover. Mosquitoes avoid lavender, marigolds, basil, peppermint and plants that contain citronella like lemon balm and rose-scented geraniums and finally catnip which has recently been found to be ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.

Citronella can be highly effective at repelling mosquitoes however the plants that contain it wont release it until they have been damaged slightly. Before your party prune back these plants and break a few leaves that remain on the plant for the desired effect.

Now during your party there are also things you can do to reduce the number of mosquitoes that come and join you. Mosquitoes will be attracted to your backyard by the lights you have on in your backyard as all bugs are drawn to lights at night. To prevent them from seeing your lights from afar you can purchase yellow tinted bug lights or putting a yellow cover over your lights. Bugs see different wavelengths of light than humans so altering the spectrum of light you are using can make the light in your backyard invisible to mosquitoes. If you are not bothered by the yellow tint in your backyard this is something worth trying.

Also, they will be drawn to your backyard by the co2 you exhale and other human scents coming from your backyard. Similarly, to placing plants around your backyard that will deter mosquitoes you can add other scents to the air to deter mosquitoes without deterring your guests. Firstly, adding Rose Mary to the BBQ can help deter mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are repelled by smoke and the scent of Rose Mary so you will get a double whammy here. Have a fire pit going during the party and some tickey torches to add more smoke to the air. For an added bonus burn citronella candles in your torches. There are also bug coils that when burnt release citronella that will help keep mosquitoes away. Finally, you could try though it has not been proven effective, you can purchase catnip oil and place some drops around the top of your fence to keep the bugs out of your yard. As stated earlier it is ten times more effective at deterring mosquitoes than DEET.

Lastly if all else fails or you live next to a ravine or back onto a forest you should have an area that is enclosed that you can entertain in like a gazebo. Or even bug screens you can put around a pergola.

Notice I did not include bug zappers or traps in the list to prevent bugs at your party. This is because they are designed to attract bugs either with light or co2 or both. Though it is satisfying watching them work they will actually have the opposite effect you wish for as they will attract more bugs than they will kill to your yard.

Daniel Hogenbirk

Landscape Foreman

Birk’s Landscaping Inc.

(905) 404-0602

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