Nontoxic Mosquito Control

Try these natural strategies for getting mosquitoes to bug off this summer.
Mosquito

Mosquito

Keeping mosquitoes at bay is a summer-long challenge.

Photo by: Image via the CDC Public Health Image Library

Image via the CDC Public Health Image Library

Keeping mosquitoes at bay is a summer-long challenge.

Hiking, camping, barbecuing and long afternoons spent by the pool are the stuff summer is made of, but all too often mosquito bites are the price we pay. A pest that can result in itchy injury or even worse as carriers of diseases like West Nile Virus, the ongoing battle against these bloodsuckers takes many forms. For many of us, especially those with children, reaching for a bug spray dense with chemicals leaves us concerned about the possible health effects of toxins that can result in headaches, nausea or worse.

Fighting the good fight against mosquitoes this summer? These nontoxic tips for mosquito control can significantly reduce those pesky backyard bites without worrying about what you might be spraying on your skin.

Make Your Yard Less Mosquito-Friendly

Where there’s standing water, you’re likely to find mosquitoes. Level landscapes where puddles form, keep gutters clear and remove any water gathering vessels like empty pots, disused kiddie pools or tarps from the yard. The best offense is a good defense.

Employ Mosquito-Repellant Plants

Sometimes the solution is as simple as knowing what to plant. Consider adding mosquito-repelling plants like lavender, marigolds, lemon balm, geranium or herbs like rosemary, mint or basil around the perimeter of outdoor living spaces to discourage mosquitoes from crashing the party.

Encourage Mosquito Predators

Encourage bats or mosquito-loving birds to the yard for a feast that can significantly cut down a mosquito population. Dragonflies and damselflies are good to have around when trying to keep mosquitoes at bay. For those with a pond on the premises, consider stocking it with mosquito-munching goldfish and if you’ve been on the fence about starting your own flock of backyard chickens, know that they will happily help keep mosquito and tick populations down in the yard.

Natural Insect Repellent Sprays

Pick up one of the many natural herb-based insect sprays or make your own homemade bug spray using cinnamon, eucalyptus, citronella or other essential oils proven to discourage mosquitoes from biting.

Dress for Success

If you are planning to spend the afternoon in areas where mosquitoes are numerous, long pants or a long-sleeve shirt may be in order, but the colors you choose to wear may be more than just a fashion choice. Mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors, so break out those bold, bright colors for a day by the lake to cut down on the mosquito bites.

Zone Treatments

Although ultrasound repellers have been largely debunked, there are other methods for discouraging mosquitoes from the yard. There’s a reason citronella candles and torches line the shelves as summer approaches. Citronella essential oil is a natural plant-based mosquito repellent that is sometimes included in bug sprays and lotions, but is most effective in candle or torch form.

A relative newcomer in mosquito control, Attractive Target Sugar Bait (ATSB) is a spray that may be applied to non-flowering foliage. Non-toxic to people and pets, an area treated with this bait can see significant reduction in mosquito population over a few weeks.

Terminix's AllClear Bait & Kill is one ATSB option and works in the garden to keep mosquitoes at bay.

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