Mosquitoes can be controlled through a variety of methods:
Yard and woods clean up
Mosquitoes need water to lay their eggs and develop through larval and pupal stages. Make sure there is no standing water around your house, yard, or any surrounding woods. This is by far the best method to control types of mosquitoes that feed close to where they hatch.
Regularly empty bird baths, pet bowls, empty pails, buckets, and any other debris. Also look for places where water might be dammed up in the woods surrounding the house. Without stagnant water, they won’t breed. It is easier to reduce a mosquito population by never allowing it to take hold in your yard.
Control larvae in water that cannot be emptied
- In rain barrels and other water sources where animals won’t drink, there are several biological insecticides (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) that sit in the container and control the larvae. (Also Spinosad & Altosid based larvicides)
- Historically a light coating of oil with a spreader on the surface of standing water, that could not be drained stopped the larvae from coming to the surface to breathe, this can still be effective in certain instances. This is a good example video showing how it works.
- In ponds or pools of standing water, fish will often control the larvae/pupae-the most famous is the Gambusia spp. Or mosquito fish.
- There are other methods that can be found on the USDA or state mosquito control websites. To get you started, here are links for some of the largest associations: American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New England, Pacific North West, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, (and many more).
Adult control or yard repellents
This is the one that many people today want to have done because they don’t see the larvae. While this is an effective way to control mosquitoes for a while in your yard, it has limitations in overall control due to mosquitoes flying from one source of breeding to someone else’s house/yard. This is accomplished via several methods.
- Position several oscillating fans around where you are sitting. Here is a research paper that supports this idea. These will help in two ways –
- Disperse the collection of carbon dioxide that draws mosquitoes near you.
- Mosquitoes are weak flyers so they will naturally seek out food sources that require the least effort to access.
- Bonus feature is the fan keeps you (and your guests) cooler on hot summer nights.
- Insect black light traps (Bug-Zappers)-they attract all insects, and immediately kill them. It is a decent method, but it kills good insects (butterflies and moths, etc.) as well as mosquitoes.
- Birds and bats-many people put up Purple Martin or Bat houses in their yard to entice there voracious mosquito eaters to feed on the pests. This is helpful, but is not limited to your yard, they eat insects from miles around.
- Synthetic chemical treatments- Most professional applicators have synthetic chemicals they are happy with. Most of these products control mosquitoes locally for 2-3 weeks. Many are based around synthetic pyrethroids. Many people are not thrilled with using synthetic pesticides around their yards, families, and pets.
- Natural mosquito control, with Stop The Bites! -Using the power of essential oils, Stop The Bites! kills mosquitoes equally as well as synthetic sprays and lasts equally as long. Stop The Bites! is best applied with a gas powered blower mister backpack. The power of the fan in these packs improves the efficacy of the product by depositing product deep into dense vegetation where mosquitoes rest during the day.
The US Centers for Disease Control (US-CDC) reccomends 6 specific types of mosquito repellents for personal protection.
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
All 6 of these products have been evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
As we all know there are many more natural products on the market making claims that they prevent mosquito bites when applied to people or clothing. These products have not been evaluated by the EPA. They are not recommended by the U.S. CDC as a method of protecting people from diseases spread by mosquitoes such as Dengue or West Nile Virus. More information is available on the CDC Website.