With summer upon us, we’ll soon be spending a lot more of our free time enjoying the great outdoors. Whether it’s barbequing with a beer in hand, enjoying evenings on the patio, swimming at the lake, or hiking our favorite trails, we want to soak up as much of the season as we can, while we can.
There’s nothing that puts a damper on an otherwise perfect summer day than the feeling of being eaten alive by tiny flying vampires. Mosquitoes are irritating in every aspect of their being — their buzz, their bite, and the miserable, itchy bumps that follow. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to repel mosquitoes from hanging around our favorite outdoor spaces!
Mosquitoes have a pretty fast and furious life cycle, going from egg to adult in as little as just four days! That means you have to check your garden pretty frequently for prime egg-laying conditions. Stagnant water is one of the more crucial elements of the mosquito’s life cycle because it’s where they lay their eggs. Luckily, standing water is a pretty easy element to control for an effective and organic way of repelling these annoying critters.
Simply take a walk around your garden and assess any areas that have or could easily accumulate standing water. Look for things like birdbaths, wheelbarrows, old planters, eavestroughs, and other crevices that rainwater can build up in. Drain any standing water that you find, and overturn or store away things that will end up collecting water again. Mosquitoes won’t land in moving water, so it’s a good idea to install water agitators, like this water wiggler, to intentional water sources like bird baths and pools. If you’d rather leave them stagnant, be sure to drain them often to interrupt the mosquito’s quick life cycle.
You should also be careful not to overwater your lawn and garden. Not only will your plants thank you for not drenching their delicate roots, but it’ll prevent pooling of water on the ground’s surface — the perfect place for mosquitoes to lay eggs.
Like any insect, mosquitoes have their preferences when it comes to plants they like to land on to put their feet up and slug back a drink of nectar. If you thought you could eliminate plants that mosquitoes favor from your garden, you’d end up with some pretty barren land. Not to mention, you’d also be driving away beneficial pollinators, like butterflies and hummingbirds, who prefer the same plants.
Instead, try including plants that mosquitoes don’t like so much, such as Citronella Geraniums, Lemongrass, Catnip, Lemon Thyme, Basil, and Mint. Plants that naturally repel mosquitoes tend to be quite fragrant and also add color, interest, and sometimes even taste to your garden!
Citronella candles are definitely the most popular method for repelling mosquitoes. If you’ve ever spent any time camping here in Illinois, you’ve likely lit one of these up in the evening and huddled closer to the candle than the campfire. These products contain citronella oil, which is derived from the mosquito-repellant plant, lemongrass. It gives off the same lemony scent that mosquitoes dislike and masks other smells that might attract them.
While citronella candles are effective in small, semi-enclosed areas, there’s definitely strength in numbers when it comes to more open areas. Scatter candles throughout your garden or install our durable Citronella Garden Torches around your outdoor living areas to make sure your yard is a fly-free zone.
Aside from candles, there are a variety of other mosquito-repelling products out there to help you fight the bite. This could be as simple as setting up a few fans to increase air circulation. As weak flyers, mosquitoes won’t bother working too hard to find a snack. You could also go the old-fashioned route and pick up a bug zapper. Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to the bright UV light that zappers give off, but they get an unpleasant surprise when they land on it!
Another way to control the nippers is with commercial bug-repelling products, such as Mosquito Beater Natural Granules. This non-toxic, biodegradable product contains a cocktail of plant oils that naturally repel mosquitoes and smell fantastic! It’s simple to spread around your garden and it treats a large area of 4000 square feet. It’s most effective when reapplied every three weeks.
Even with all of these great ways to repel mosquitoes, getting a few bites is inevitable if you like to spend your weekends sipping patio beers or sitting around a campfire. Though we can definitely reduce the irritating buzz and itching ankles, these are just summer sensations that we’ll always have to deal with.
Luckily, you can rest assured that a little discomfort should be the most you have to worry about after getting bitten by a mosquito. While some people worry that mosquitoes can carry blood-borne diseases from person to person, that’s not really how they roll, as they rarely take blood from more than one person at a time. While mosquito bites are worrisome in some warmer parts of the world, we don’t have malaria-carrying mosquitoes here in the USA.
This summer, kick back, relax, and enjoy the mosquito-free view of your backyard or campsite. The refreshing scent of citronella and the gorgeous mosquito-repellant plants in your garden will only add to the calming atmosphere!