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You may very well have one of the peskiest animals in your yard right now. They may be minuscule, but they’re a huge nuisance. Mosquitoes are a homeowner’s nightmare. But don’t worry. There are ways to get them out of your yard — and keep them out.
Bug repellent spray works well, but it stinks, and you probably don’t want to douse yourself with it every time you have to step outside. We’ll present some ways to keep mosquitoes away, followed by some methods of preventing them from returning. Some of these methods are backed by scientific research, but others have only anecdotal evidence. However, all these methods are safe and inexpensive, so they’re worth a try.
In This Article:
- How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
- How to Prevent and Deter Mosquitoes
- Professional Mosquito Control
- Frequently Asked Questions
The most effective solution for getting rid of these insects is to hire a professional pest control company, and we recommend Orkin.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
If you’ve already got mosquitoes in your yard, here are some ways to keep them out of biting range when you need to go outside.
Apply chemical repellent
There’s no getting around the fact that if you know you’re going to be in a mosquito-infested environment for longer than a few minutes, you need to apply a bug repellent that contains DEET, the most common active ingredient in these repellents, to kill them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved DEET for use on the skin for everyone but the very youngest infants, and Dr. Amy Kassouf at the Cleveland Clinic endorses it as the most effective method of repelling mosquitoes. Even better, it breaks down quickly in the environment, so it won’t become a form of pollution.
Bug repellents will be labeled with the percentage of DEET they contain, but higher percentages don’t necessarily work better; they just last longer. Repellents that contain 10% DEET will work for two hours, and concentrations from 20% to 30% last about five hours. Use the product as directed, making sure to keep it away from open wounds and spray it in a well-ventilated area.
Alternatively, repellents containing the chemical picaridin have also been approved by the EPA as effective. Supposedly, these products won’t damage clothing or finishes the same way DEET spray can. However, it’s worth noting that DEET is still considered the gold standard for repelling mosquitoes.
Put out mosquito traps
In addition to keeping mosquitoes away, you also want to reduce their numbers however possible. One way to do this is to use mosquito traps around doorways or patios. These traps work by luring adult mosquitoes in and killing them, but they only work within a certain radius, so you’ll want to place them carefully. Most require power to run a fan that sucks the mosquitoes in, using either propane (more portable) or an AC outlet (less expensive) for power.
While the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has evaluated these traps and concluded that they do work, the organization recommends they be used as part of a larger pest control strategy that includes repellent and prevention activities. In other words, use them, but don’t expect them to give you a completely mosquito-free environment.
You can make your own small-scale traps out of plastic soda bottles or box fans. Some people even find that leaving a dish of soapy water out attracts and drowns mosquitoes. These DIY solutions are probably best to use if a few mosquitoes find their way indoors, rather than attempting to use them to control the entire outdoor mosquito population.
Burn citronella candles
Citronella oil is said to act as a natural mosquito repellent, and you’ll find plenty of citronella candles that claim to keep these insects away. However, the candles contain a low percentage of oil that disperses quickly, so many experts are skeptical about their actual effectiveness. Nonetheless, some people swear by them, and most have fairly good reviews on consumer websites. These candles may be worth a try if you like the look of candlelight, but keep the bug spray within reach, particularly if the wind kicks up.
Use essential oils
If you absolutely can’t stand the smell of bug spray with DEET or picaridin, there is growing evidence that products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus are effective at warding off mosquitoes. Note that the effective ingredient is oil of lemon eucalyptus, or OLE, not lemon eucalyptus oil, which is a different substance entirely. The CDC does not recommend it for children younger than three, but it is otherwise safe to apply to the skin as long as you keep it away from your eyes.
Some people spray or diffuse other essential oils like peppermint, citrus, or lavender to try to get rid of mosquitoes. The National Institute of Health has found limited evidence for their effectiveness, but they do smell nice, so they might be worth a shot as long as you have a backup repellent on hand.
Burn egg cartons
One mosquito-repelling method that’s popular in Canada is the burning of cardboard egg cartons or coffee cup sleeves. If you’re going to try this, make sure to burn the material on an outdoor grill or fire pit and, as with any fire, keep a close eye on it.
How to Prevent and Deter Mosquitoes
Don’t just kill the mosquitoes — actively work to keep them away from your yard. If you can disrupt their life cycle and prevent them from laying eggs on your property, you’ll have a much easier time remaining bite-free.
Get rid of standing water
This is the most important mosquito prevention technique. These insects lay their eggs in stagnant water, so drain any and all items in your yard that could collect moisture. Eggs can hatch in as little as 48 hours. Here are some of the AMCA’s recommendations for ridding your yard of mosquito breeding grounds:
- Keep gutters clean and unblocked.
- Change birdbath water at least once a week.
- Check and empty water from any tarps, children’s toys, or pool covers in your yard.
- Make sure there are holes in the bottom of recycling containers.
- If your pet’s water dish is outside, clean it regularly.
- Any canoes or boats should be stored upside-down.
- Repair leaky faucets or hoses as soon as possible.
- Dispose of tires, bottles, buckets, lids, or anything that might collect water.
Apply mosquito larvicide
If you do neglect to clear away standing water or you have a pond in your yard, hope is not lost. Larvicide products kill mosquito larvae before they can become reproducing adults, and you can buy them in liquid, tablet, granule, and briquette forms.
Keep grass mowed and shrubs trimmed
A well-kept yard prevents mosquitoes from finding places to hide during the dehydrating heat of the day, so do your best to keep up with regular mowing and trimming. Pull any tall weeds and mow your grass down to its shortest recommended height during the summer.
Plant natural mosquito deterrents
A number of plants act as natural mosquito deterrents while also looking and smelling good. Citrosa contains the same citronella oil found in bug repelling candles, as does lemon thyme. Here are some other plants that are said to repel mosquitoes:
The scent of cedar oil is also thought to drive mosquitoes away, so use cedar mulch, and replace it whenever it dries out and the scent diminishes.
Attract mosquito predators
Alternatively, you can install plants and other features that attract animals that eat mosquitoes. If you have a pond, include some water plants like eelgrass or lotus flowers to draw dragonflies. Better yet, stock Gambusia affinis, or the mosquito fish, right in the pond. Bats and birds eat a number of bothersome insects, so crafting a bat house or a bird feeder will help draw them in.
Use yellow LED bulbs in outdoor lights
Traditional incandescent light bulbs attract all kinds of insects, so try replacing any outdoor lights — particularly around a patio or other gathering space — with warm-hued LED bulbs.
Professional Mosquito Control
Repellent and prevention are both vital to keeping you bite-free, but if you have a severe infestation, the quickest and most effective way to get rid of mosquitoes is to hire a professional pest control service. The CDC recommends hiring a service approved by the National Pest Management Association, and we’ll offer our own choice from that list: Orkin. This national pest control provider gets our highest marks for its excellent reputation and customized services.
Our Recommended Provider: Orkin
Orkin is a NPMA QualityPro partner and a great option mosquito control. This company boasts over a century in business and offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee on all services. Be sure to read Orkin reviews to get a sense of their customer experience.
Orkin Mosquito Control
Orkin’s services begin with an inspection and identification of possible sources of the mosquito problem. The technician will then treat vegetation and water environments to kill adult mosquitoes and prevent eggs from hatching.
Orkin is available in 47 states, not including Alaska, North Dakota, or South Dakota.
Runner Up: Terminix
Terminix has been in the pest control business for 90 years, and is also an NPMA QualityPro company.
Terminix Mosquito Control
Terminix’s QuickGuard Mosquito Service is a four-step process:
- A pest control technician inspects your lawn.
- The treatment is applied and begins killing mosquitoes instantly.
- Once the treatment has dried, it continues to repel mosquitoes for several weeks.
- A technician returns to re-apply the treatment on a monthly basis.
Your treatment plan includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which includes coming back at no cost between treatments if the mosquitoes return.
Terminix is available in 45 U.S. states (not including Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Vermont). The company has over 300 locations and a strong online presence.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of mosquitoes in my yard?
Here are some steps you can take to make your yard less hospitable to mosquitoes:
- Drain standing water.
- Apply mosquito larvicide to any standing water you can’t drain.
- Place mosquito traps near doors and gathering places.
- Keep up with yard maintenance, including mowing grass and pulling weeds.
- Plant mosquito deterrents or attract predators that eat mosquitoes.
- Replace outdoor incandescent bulbs with yellow or orange LED lights.
- Hire a professional pest control company.
How do I keep mosquitoes away?
You can keep mosquitoes away from your person by:
- Using a personal repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- Sitting near a mosquito trap or a yellow LED light
- Burning a citronella candle in an outdoor space without wind
- Hiring a pest control professional to greatly reduce the mosquito population