Those Monstrous Mosquitoes
Nothing takes away summer fun like that little blood sucker we all hate; the mosquito. This backyard blood sucker has elevated from pest to health threat in the United States.
An unprecedented travel warning issued in Miami may keep potential tourists at bay as the city tries to stamp out Zika carrying mosquitoes, who seem to be pesticide resistant.
To help protect you and yours, I have researched some of the best DIY mosquito traps and techniques to reduce this flying menace. From simple solutions, like choosing appropriate attire to more complex traps that are fan powered, I have created a list of 16 traps, tricks and tips to help you remain bite free.
Foiling the Foul Villain
1. Go batty.
Attracting bats is a fantastic natural solution to help reduce the mosquito population in your area. I am lucky to have bats in neighborhood that come out at dusk when mosquitoes seem to swarm, turning these pests into tasty meals.
If you don’t have bats in your area, attract them with a few bat houses. Since bats are communal, it is a good idea to provide a cluster of bat houses.
2. The 2-liter soda bottle mosquito trap
A fantastic for trapping more than mosquitoes and also traps flies and other flying insects. This simple trap uses a mixture of brown sugar, yeast and hot water for bait and is so easy to build I let my kids help.
Some people glue them with Gorilla glue, others use tape to surround the bottle. This quick Youtube video shows how to build the trap, however you may want to connect the two pieces of the bottle before adding the bait. Tend your trap regularly as mosquitoes fill them fast!
3. A fan powered trap
A twist on the soda bottle traps, but adding the fan attracts mosquitoes over a greater area. This trap is a bit more complicated, and is a terrific teen activity.
Here is an instructional video from Youtube showing how to build this souped up mosquito trap. As with the other traps, keep an eye on it and empty it of trapped mosquitoes as often as needed, mixing fresh bait before placing.
4. Make those mosquitoes Bounce!
A friend of mine from Alaska told me their mosquitoes were enormous and that everyone kept Bounce fabric softener in their pockets to repel them. Bounce, was tested by rubbing it directly on skin and the results were bite-free subjects.
But some found they had a Bounce allergy and ended up with irritated skin. To be safe, keep them in your pockets, tuck them under your hat and in your shoes.
5. Dump standing water.
Mosquito lay their eggs in shallow, warm water and soon those little swimmers turn into flyers. So make sure you make the rounds after each rain and dump out any water that may have been collected.
This simple action will dramatically reduce the population on your property. If you have close neighbors, it’s a good idea to gently remind them to do the same.
6. Keep plants
That are natural mosquito deterrents, such as citronella, lavender, marigold, peppermint, chives, and catnip. Not only do these plants keep away those nasty mosquitoes, they also add a touch of color and some are herbs that can also be used in the kitchen.
Surround your home and garden with as many of these natural repellents as you can form maximum effectiveness. Many of them work well in garden pots and containers. For six more, follow the link.
7. Make your own citronella candles
Using empty soup or vegetable cans along with candle wax and wicks available at hobby stores, simply add a few drops of essential citronella oil and heat on the stove in an old pan. You can find citronella wherever essential oils are sold, even at Walmart.
Place your candles to surround you to better repel the pests. I also buy citronella candles from home improvement, hardware stores and my local supermarket. Not only do these candles exude a lovely lemon fragrance, they also provide the perfect light for sitting out on warm summer nights.
8. Eat garlic and make a garlic spray
This is an old trick, but some studies show it can work for some, but not for others. However, garlic has been show to be toxic to mosquitoes and according to the Wall Street Journal, mixing a sugar bait of date juice and garlic can kill many different types of mosquitoes. Here are three more recipes using garlic oil you can try.
9. Make your own mosquito spray repellent with natural ingredients
Spray this repellent on your deck, patio, around the base of your home, around children’s play areas such as swings and trampolines. I suggest using citronella, as I find it most effect, but you can use other natural oils as outlined in the recipe you will find in the link.
10. Don’t wear sweet perfume or cologne
I know this is a toughie. Heading out without my fragrance feels like being naked, but I am one of those people that attracts mosquitoes like mad, so for me, this is a must do.
Instead, try wearing essential oils that repel, such as lavender. Not only will you smell wonderful, you will also be soothed by the lavender while protecting yourself from bites.
11. Burn rosemary on the grill along with your chicken or fish to fend off the fiends
Drop the herbs right on top of the coals. The smoke from the stems of rosemary will not only keep mosquitoes at bay, but will also add a wonderful flavor to your backyard BBQ goodies.
If you don’t want the rosemary to flavor your food, simply toss it on after you are done grilling.
12. Make an easy mosquito deterrent of dish soap
Either with or without a splash of Mountain Dew to deter the little devils. Try the dish soap alone and if you are unsuccessful, add the Mountain Dew to act as bait. Set your containers about eight feet from where you are planning to enjoy your yard.
13. Use a bubble machine
To fill your yard with bubbles that beat back mosquitoes. Not only will your kids and pets love the fun of chasing bubbles, this magical fun is proven to deter those nasty bugs.
14. Trap your mosquitoes with this simple, albeit a bit macbre fan trap
Take an ordinary box fan and using either zip ties or magnets, affix a fine mesh screen on the back of the fan, or the side that takes air in. Run fan in the area you are experiencing the most mosquitoes.
After you have trapped your mosquitoes, spray the mesh with 70% isopropyl alcohol to kill them, taking care to avoid the motor. Take the screen off and vacuum it then replace it and catch more. For illustrated instructions, read this Wiki.
15. Beer traps
To drown their sorrows work wonders in ridding your yard of these silent skin seeking predators. It seems we aren’t the only ones that enjoy the suds. Mosquitoes seek them out and become trapped in the liquid.
Be warned, if you and your guests are also drinking beer, they will be attracted to you as well, so plan a second line of defense, like applying Neem oil to your skin to prevent bites.
16. Finally, use fruit to foil these foul fiends
This is also a great activity to do with younger children. Slice limes in half and give them to your kiddos to adorn with cloves. Then let them set them out a few feet away from your outdoor area, surrounding it to create a mosquito free zone.
These helpful hints are not only filled with effective, natural solutions to preventing mosquito bites, some of them are also fun. If you are pregnant, especially in areas that have recorded cases of Zika, please cover your skin with long pants and long sleeves to ensure you are taking all precautions for you and your baby.
Pick your favorites and grab the kids to help you get your home and yard as mosquito free as you can and enjoy a bite free mosquito season.