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I am already looking for natural ways to kill mosquitoes in the yard and it is only February! Of course, our new home (which is in the Big Bend area of FL) is adjacent to 90 acres of untouched forest and barring the street in front of the house we are surrounded on all sides by wilderness. This makes it fun and challenging at the same time.
The spider population here is quite intimidating. I have finally managed to adjust in the six months we have been here to the colony of Daddy Long Legs that are size of my hand e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e I look – including on my basil, doorknobs going into the house, greenhouse, etc.
Also, the lizard population is alive and well. Frogs too. Now, any of these I find in the house (and I do), I capture them and put them back outside. We see no reason to kill beneficial animals such as these.
Now the mosquitoes. That’s another story! I am happy to eliminate them! However, I do not want to spray a bunch of chemicals. I am afraid it will kill the other animals. Per the instructions of the National Wildlife Federation, we did not rake our leaves this winter. The cool part of this is the birds root around in them all day long searching for food. Right now, we have approx. a dozen robins happily feeding every morning. I would like them to stick around!
So I need to figure out how to get rid of mosquitoes in the yard naturally in order to keep the rest of the ecosystem alive.
Reclaiming Your Backyard: Reviewing the Efficacy of 20 Popular Natural Mosquito Repellents
Natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard
Mulch or rake organic material
Of course, organic material like my maple and oak leaves are the perfect breeding ground for them so now that our winter is almost over, I need to mulch up all that nature and compost it! It also is a good idea to trim back the bushes, etc. This will also help in eliminating even the smallest amount of standing water (I.e. a bunch of leaves piled up can hold water).
Interestingly, the CDC found that some female mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in water that is in a man-made container. So, keep an eye out everywhere for standing water! Some areas I did not think of: flower pot saucers, birdbaths, crevices of plastic toys, tree stumps, clogged gutters and yard debris. Once a week, we need to empty all the water out of anything like these and scrub and wash them. This will kill the larvae.
I went on a standing water hunt today! Found some culprits.
Do you have rain barrels? Then put Mosquito Dunks in them. They are labeled for organic gardening.
You will need to put a fresh one in every 30 days or so. Or, cover the top of these large water containers tightly with mosquito netting.
University of Florida also recommends you put a tablespoon of olive oil on the water’s surface of your rain barrel. Given all the coverage on the problem with standing water, being diligent about watching out for it is probably the best way to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard.
Invite natural mosquito predators to your yard
There are many animals in the wild kingdom that like to feast on mosquitoes and mosquito larvae. For example, bats eat 1,200 mosquitoes an hour! Due to this very handy tidbit of knowledge, I put a bat house up on a pine tree toward the back of our yard.
If you know of any bats who are looking for a new home, give them my number and let them know there is a perpetual buffet going on here! Of course, I mentioned earlier the plethora of spiders and frogs around me. They eat mosquitoes as well.
Dragonflies are another one of those very beneficial insects to have around as they eat mosquito larvae. Do you already have a pond or pool? Then, you have the beginnings of what you need to attract them.
One of the better known mosquito predators for a pond are the mosquitofish. Be careful with them though as they are known to be quite aggressive and will also eat other fish and amphibian eggs and larvae. Due to this, I am not going to introduce them to my pond. We have a lot of frogs (another mosquito predator!) which I think are a lot of fun to have around. I prefer them over the fish! Lower maintenance.
For those with a pond or body of water
In reality, this subject could be an entirely separate blog post. (hmmm. Will work on that.) You can put the mosquito dunks in your pond.
Also, put something in your pond to keep the water circulating. We bought a super affordable pond pump with a fun fountain feature and have that going currently too.
Watering lawn and garden
Be careful about over watering your lawn and garden. The standing water is a quick attractant to egg laying females.
Turn a fan on while you are outside
The circulation of the air makes it difficult for the mosquitoes to circle and land on you. We put a box fan in the greenhouse that we turn on when out there. It is incredibly lightweight yet puts out quite the power.
Stale beer/Epsom salt/mouthwash mix
I read on Farmer’s Almanac website that a mix of stale beer, Epsom salt and mouthwash with alcohol (equal parts of all three) combined and run through a garden feeder will kill the mosquitoes. I tried it! However, the mixture was too thick for my feeder. I even took the screen off the sprayer hose and turned the nozzle up to max potency but the mix never left the sprayer. <Sigh> I plan on trying again-after I find a different feeder.
Lemon Joy Dish Soap
Tractor Supply also mentioned putting a few drops of Lemon Joy dish soap on a paper plate where we will be sitting outside. The mosquitoes are attracted to the lemony scent so leave the human prey sitting nearby alone. From what I understand, it works really well. My Lemon Joy arrived today so I am going to give it a try. Update coming soon!
Another one of the home remedies for mosquitoes in yard is to take that Lemon Joy you already purchased, mix it with lemon-scented ammonia and spray on your lawn with a clean hose-end sprayer. The sprayer needs to be set to 20 gallons. This is promoted by the University of Florida. If a university says it’s true, it is, right?!? PS. They recommend you do this three times a week.
I have every confidence one of these natural ways to kill mosquitoes in the yard will be of benefit to you. If you have any tried and true methods for ridding your own yard of mosquitoes, let me know and I will add it to the list!
when using joy on paper plates…… does it have to be paper plates or just anything plate like (pickle jar lid??? maybe)
I should update the blog on this actually. The joy soaked right through the paper plate. A pickle jar lid is pretty narrow though-unless you have a couple lids you could put out…