Combat Mosquitoes and Other Pests

Summer has arrived with the warm temperatures, late sunsets, and of course the dreaded mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can really take the fun out of spending time in the yard.  They are not only annoying and cause you to itch but they are also dangerous.  In recent years, they have become a real cause for health concerns due to mosquito-borne illness.  But we have come up with a bunch of ways to combat mosquitoes and other pests so you can enjoy this prime pond time without the worry of bites or disease!

While eliminating all mosquitoes is impossible, there are different methods to minimizing their existence in your yard and pond.  Removal or reduction of larval mosquito habitats typically is the most effective and economical long-term method of mosquito control. In ponds, making sure there is water movement is crucial as it inhibits environments where mosquitoes can lay eggs and grow.  Repellents do help reduce the incidence of bites, but it is far more efficient to eliminate mosquito populations before they hatch and launch their attack.

Make your yard less attractive to the buzzing bugs by taking away everything that attracts mosquitoes and facilitates their survival. Scout for breeding places where adult mosquitoes might nest and eliminate them.  Any place where there is still water or areas where water can collect can be a breeding ground like swampy soil, flowerpots, and tree holes.  Avoid over watering your lawn and where possible, drain or fill non-flowing ditches, soil depressions, and other soggy parts of the yard.  Tree stumps can be filled with sealant or mortar to prevent water gathering.  It also helps to remove old tires or buckets where rainwater can collect, and clean out clogged rain gutters.  Be sure to clear off brush and debris that hold moisture and provide shade from the sun.  Mosquitoes can lay low in dense vegetation such as trees and shrubs but also in weeds. Get rid of tall weeds and overgrowth to minimize their resting spots during the day.  Spraying foliage like shrubs, the lower limbs of shade trees, and other plants with an insecticide can also help.  

Installing a pond or water garden can actually help in the battle between man and fly being one of the best forms of mosquito control out there.  If you have built your backyard water garden pond the right way then your water conditions and environment will basically be the opposite of what mosquitoes like.  Since mosquitoes prefer standing, non-flowing water, aeration helps prevent egg laying and hatching. Movement of water is extremely important in keeping these pests away and also adds an aesthetic element to your pond.  Using an aeration pump, a fountain, spitters, or waterfall will not only enhance your pond’s beauty but will also increase water circulation and provide high oxygen levels that mosquitoes detest.  The treatments used to maintain quality ponds like pond cleaner tablets, algaecide, water clarifier, filtration systems, and aquatic plantings will lower nutrients that will deter these bugs from breeding.  Most important is the water movement from flowing systems like pumps, skimmers, and bottom drains that are the ultimate line of defense that make your pond the perfect weapon.  You can also use insecticides in your pond like Mosquito Dunks, Quick-Kill Mosquito Bits, and Mosquito Larvicide & Repellent Granules that will not harm plants or fish, but will help eradicate mosquito larvae.  These can also be used on all standing water containers including roof gutters, flower pots, and old tires.  

Other methods of preventing mosquitoes are to use yellow bug lights, which are less visible to insects.  You can use misting systems that dispense an odorless, ultra-fine insecticide mist lethal to the insects.  Misting is most efficient often around dusk. Similar to sprinklers they can be set up on a timing system. Mosquito traps emit a stream of CO2 to lure mosquitoes in. Once captured in the trapping bag they eventually dry out and die and are an effective remedy but can be costly.  A more affordable option is a portable, cordless butane powered lantern. These devices emit repellent into the air thus keeping mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and black flies away.   Using fans is a proven method to ward off these pests both indoor and outdoor.  A fan dilutes and disperses the carbon dioxide you exhale and keeps you cool. Carbon dioxide is one of the major chemicals that attract mosquitoes as well as sweat, lactic acid, and body heat and a fan minimizes these factors. Candles also work wonders.  Citronella candles and coils mask the CO2 we breathe out to keep mosquitoes away.  There are also Conceal candles that interfere with the smelling ability of mosquitoes in the proximity.  Once they have smelled these candles burning they are disoriented and aren’t able to find you anymore.  If you’re brave and can stomach bats then these creatures are a great natural predator to mosquitoes.  They are bats favorite meal and bats are reported to catching up to 600 mosquitoes per hour!  You can also stock up on mosquito-eating fish.  Mosquito fish can eat up to 100 to 500 larvae a day.  For small ponds, Koi, Sarasa Comets, or Shubunkins will do the trick.

Now that you are armed with all this mosquito prevention information, declare war on these pests and claim victory by sitting pond side and enjoying your mosquito free backyard.