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How to Deter Mosquitoes: 7 Mosquito Repellent Tips

Enjoy the outdoors a little more with these mosquito repellent tips.

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How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes: Remove Water Sources

Having accessible water sources around your home will draw in mosquitoes. Why? Because mosquitoes actually lay their eggs in standing or slow moving water. By cutting these water sources, you are cutting the number of mosquitoes laying eggs around your home—and in return, having fewer mosquitoes around the house in general. 

Now water can accumulate around your home easier than you think. Some of the biggest culprits of water sources include unused tires, cans, pools and pool covers. Any plastic containers or ceramic pots for planting that are empty and collect water should be removed. Make sure to clean out your gutters as much as possible, and always keep an eye out for water build up around the house. Bird baths are also an easy target for mosquitoes! Here’s how you can clean a bird bath to reduce mosquitoes.

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Prune Hedges and Mow the Yard to Reduce Shade & Get Rid of Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes like shade to escape the midday heat.

Hedges, bushes and tall grass provide shade that shelters mosquitoes. They need a place to get out of the heat and sun during the day, so the fewer shaded areas they find, the less they’ll congregate in your yard.

Keep the hedges and bushes trimmed, and mow the yard at least once a week. Mow or till weedy spots to minimize shade and to keep these marginal areas from becoming overgrown jungles. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Otherwise, you’ll just drive the mosquitoes next door—and they’ll come back often to visit.

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how to make a backyard fish pondFamily Handyman

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away: Treat Pools of Water

Treat pools of water you can’t drain to kill mosquito larvae.

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to get rid of standing water. And sometimes, like when you have a small pond, you just don’t want to. And we certainly love adding water features to the backyard.

Pour a tiny amount of Agnique MMF mosquito larvicide in the water so that a thin layer covers the surface. It’ll suffocate the larvae (and any other insects in the water) without harming fish. (Buy it online at myadapco.com.) Or put Mosquito Dunk into the water. These doughnut-shaped briquettes produce a toxic bacterial spore that kills mosquito larvae, but won’t harm fish or animals. One briquette lasts for 30 days. Large bodies of water may require more briquettes. The Mosquito Dunk doesn’t repel mosquitoes; it prevents breeding. Find it at home centers in six-pack quantities. It’s also available at lowes.com and other sites.

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How to Deter Mosquitoes: Stock Water Gardens with Fish and Chlorinate Swimming Pools

Goldfish or minnows will eat mosquito larvae in pools. Fun/scary fact: Did you know goldfish can grow to the size of a dinner plate if you release them into a lake?

When water is part of your landscaping or used for recreation, you don’t want to drain it. But that doesn’t mean you have to surrender it to mosquitoes. Buy a few goldfish or minnows from a pet store or bait store and add them to your water garden. They may only live for one season, but they’ll eat mosquito larvae.

Chlorinate water that remains standing for a long period, like water in swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the safe use of chlorine. Keep pools covered when not in use. For small fountains, birdbaths and wading pools that you don’t want to chlorinate, simply change the water once a week to dispose of mosquito larvae. Sweep surfaces with a brush to knock off eggs before refilling the container.

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Contact Your Local Mosquito Control District for Large Mosquito Infestations

Call your local mosquito control officials for advice and help with big infestations.

Large wooded areas, ponds and lakes are havens for mosquitoes. It’s almost impossible to treat these areas yourself, so call in the big guns—your local Mosquito Control District. Local policies vary and services are localized, but often, when the number of mosquitoes reaches a certain level, Mosquito Control will spray for them. This is also a good idea if mosquitoes are swarming your yard in unusually high numbers.

Make the call about two weeks before your party. It’ll take time for Mosquito Control to come out, conduct the test, and if needed, spray. Keep in mind that specific criteria must be met before Mosquito Control will spray private property. Your mosquito problem may not meet the threshold, but it’s worth a call. Do you know the 10 most pest-infested cities in the U.S.?

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Gardener applying an insecticide fertilizer to his fruit shrubs, using a sprayerFotokostic/Shutterstock

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes: Have your Foliage Professionally Sprayed

Professional exterminators will treat your yard with insecticide.

If Mosquito Control won’t spray your property, hire an exterminator to spray the foliage. This ensures a swat-free party by wiping out mosquitoes and other insects for at least a few days. Have this done one to three days before your party. Expect to pay $135 for a yard of less than half an acre and $225 for a yard up to an acre. For a (nearly) mosquito-free summer, have the foliage sprayed monthly (about $350 for the summer for a small yard).

Although you can buy sprays yourself, we recommend leaving the application of insecticides to the pros. They can buy more effective treatments that are restricted to licensed exterminators. They also know which to use and how much to apply to kill the mosquitoes without posing a hazard to other critters. When used according to the label, the insecticides pose minimal risk to humans and pets.

These pest control horror stories will make you squirm.

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Contemporary system of fans with pulverizes spraying water with air and cooling air outdoors in hot summertimeDemkat/Shutterstock

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away: Run Fans at Ground Level During the Party

Rapid air movement confuses the mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are particularly attracted to body odors and the carbon dioxide we exhale when breathing. They allow mosquitoes to home in on us—and that’s when the biting starts. Dissipating these telltale human signs makes us harder to find. So, right before the guests arrive for your party, set fans on the ground and turn them on to break up the scent patterns. This simple solution is surprisingly effective for spur-of-the-moment events, when you can’t use the measures listed above.

Because of their light weight, mosquitoes are weak flyers. The breeze from the fans makes it difficult for them to fly, keeping them out of your party zone. Entertain guests better with these outdoor entertaining space ideas.