Is it just my imagination, or are mosquitos getting more plentiful and vicious every summer? The other day I swatted one feasting on my arm that was nearly the size of a parakeet. That thing could drink Count Dracula under the table.
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Eliminating standing water around your yard and neighborhood can go a long ways towards controlling mosquitos in the immediate area by denying the thirsty blood-suckers a place to breed. Empty standing water that might collect in trash cans and other containers, barbeque grills, low spots in your yard, the eves of your house, and elsewhere. Be sure to change the water in birdbaths and kiddie pools frequently during mosquito season.
Mowing your lawn and cutting down any tall weeds will help deter mosquitos by eliminating some of their favorite hiding places.
Here are some other inexpensive techniques for controlling mosquitos which you may not have heard before:
- Repurpose your spent coffee grounds by letting them dry and age for about a month in an open container, then sprinkle them in puddles and other standing water to kill mosquito larva. (NOTE: Do not use in fish ponds or elsewhere when other aquatic life is present.) Leftover brewed coffee can also be applied as a spray to weeds and outdoor surfaces, since mosquitos hate its aroma.
- Marigolds planted in the garden or yard not only look pretty and are easy to grow, but their scent deters a wide range of outdoor pests, including mosquitos.
- Hang strips of fabric softener sheets adjacent to outdoor lights, but not in direct contact with the bulb or fixture; the heat from the light will slowly diffuse chemicals in the sheets that repel mosquitos and other nighttime flying insects.
- When barbequing outdoors, throw a handful of sage, rosemary, or - once again - spent coffee ground (dry) on the fire to keep mosquitos away.
- Lemongrass is an attractive annual to plant in the yard or in a container during the summer, and the stalks can be used in cooking as well as crushed and rubbed on the skin to chase away mosquitos. You can also infuse crushed lemongrass stalks in rubbing alcohol to make a skin-safe tincture spray that mosquitos hate.
- Did you know that a single bat can eat up to 1,000 mosquitos in an hour if he's really hungry? Invite more bats into your neighborhood by building a bat house. It's a perfect way to use up scrap lumber.
- And finally, crush a dozen cloves of garlic and simmer them in two cups of water on the stove for 30 minutes. The resulting tonic can safely be safely sprayed on outdoor surfaces, including picnic tables, as well as on the skin in order to keep mosquitos at bay. (It's also great for warding off vampires and other garlic-haters.)