Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

A female mosquito typically lays several broods of eggs, and she needs only a thimbleful of water. Here are some non-chemical approaches to managing the mosquitoes in your yard.
Mosquito Larvae

Mosquito Larvae

Mosquito larva

Mosquito larva

The yearly battle against mosquitoes in the yard begins with getting rid of likely breeding areas. First, of course, you'll want to be vigilant about eliminating —or treating —any standing water, no matter how little there is. That means plastic toys, saucers under containers, old tarps that might be lying around. And that also means keeping weedy areas under control and the lawn mowed, since mosquitoes can also lay eggs in foliage that traps water. Other tips:

  • If water isn't draining well in part of the yard, try to channel the water away with pipe, French drains or wet-weather stream bed.

  • Change water frequently in bird baths.

  • Add Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a bacteria that's harmless to wildlife, pets and people, to any permanent water features. 

The downside, of course, is that mosquitoes can breed in the smallest amounts of water, so after you've done all you can to eliminate the obvious breeding grounds, you still could be inundated with these pesky critters, which are a worrisome health risk, especially if the West Nile virus has been identified in your area. Here are some other things you can do:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you're outside in peak mosquito times — usually in the mid to late afternoon. (You have probably already discovered that mosquitoes don't read that "dusk to dawn" behavior they're credited with.) Even if you're typically not a glove wearer, you may find that wearing them is an advantage at mosquito-biting time. The same goes for wearing socks.

  • You'll probably find netting an extremely useful and relatively hassle-free way to defend yourself. Outdoor-gear stores carry head drapes that fit over your hat and cover your neck. You can also find tunics that cover the upper half of the body.

  • Welcome bats to your yard by hanging a bat house or two. Just one of these mammals can eat 500 mosquitoes per hour.

  • Apply bug repellents that seem to work for you. Besides the products that contain diethyltolumide, or DEET, there are a number of alternative repellents, some of which rely on citrus oil. One gardener reported to us that she had success with a scentless skin oil. Another said he favors pennyroyal. 
Keep Reading

Next Up

Fire Ants Are Trouble

Biting and stinging red imported fire ants (RIFA) can pose serious risks to people and pets.

Kudzu Bugs

These international stowaways are causing problems in American gardens.

Whiteflies: What You Need to Know

Find out how to cope with these garden pests.

Carpenter Ants

A beneficial insect you'll want to see pack up its tool belt and scram.

A Natural Remedy for Mosquitoes

Keep mosquitoes out of your garden with this easy tip.

How to Keep Yellow Jackets Away

How to avoid this wasp in bee’s clothing.

Cool Weather and Indoor Insects

Find out how to prevent infestation during the off season.

12 Mosquito Bite Remedies

Use these tips to ease the irritation of bug bites.

Tell Spider Mites to Bug Off

Spider mites flourish in warm, dry conditions so water plants regularly to safeguard against infestation.

Q&A: Cucumber Beetles

Here's a tip on how to get rid of cucumber beetles.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

On TV

Desert Flippers

7:30am | 6:30c

Desert Flippers

8:30am | 7:30c

Desert Flippers

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c
2pm | 1c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Love It or List It

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.