For city-folk, it’s probably the dreaded bed bug. For my New England friends, it’s Lyme disease carrying ticks. But for most of the world, South Carolina included, it’s definitely the mosquito.
Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal family in the world. They spread disease and discomfort wherever they go, and there is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s flourishing on the world’s justified fear and loathing of this tiny creature. So let’s discuss 5 easy ways to utterly and completely rid your backyard homestead of this vampiric scourge. I’m serious – zero mosquitos.
A bat-friendly backyard is a mosquito free backyard.
The Little Brown Bat is, in short, your new best friend. A single brown bat can eat up to 600 mosquitoes per hour. Hosting a colony of these unique and fascinating hunters is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to ensure a mosquito free backyard. Best of all, brown bats are fairly easy to attract. All you need is a quality bat house and some planning. Brown bats are particular about where they roost, so going out of your way to cater to their likes and dislikes will definitely speed up the colony attracting process. We will write more about bats in the future, but bookmark these links to get started:
- Build a Bat House: National Wildlife Federation
- Bat Conservation International
- Choosing a Bat House Location & Placement
Don’t let water stand in your yard.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, and something as innocuous as a bucket left out in the rain can become a major source of mosquitoes in your yard. Make it a habit to keep a tidy homestead, and always keep anything that might retain water out of the rain (or turned upside down).
Another good idea is to tour your property after a big rain and search for places where water collects – large puddles, buckets, clogged gutters, etc. – and take steps to correct any drainage issues.
Protect your rain barrels, troughs, and other water storage units
Sometimes, however, we need to collect water, but that doesn’t mean we also need to give mosquitoes an ideal breeding ground. Here are three excellent ways to keep your water storage and still have a mosquito free backyard:
- Install mosquito netting over rain barrels.
- Add 1 tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar for every gallon of water to your rain barrels, water troughs, and other water storage units. As a bonus, this will also help prevent the growth of algae and green slime!
- Add a few tablespoons of regular cooking oil to any rain barrel or water storage unit to create a mosquito-proof barrier on the water’s surface.
Plant mosquito repelling plants
There are many plants that do a great job of repelling mosquitoes. Here are five excellent choices for any garden or landscape:
- Citronella Grass
Use safe and natural bug sprays and repellents.
When all else fails, it’s nice to have a natural bug repellent with you. Rather than spraying yourself down with the chemicals found in most commercial bug sprays, look for sprays and repellents that advertise “DEET FREE” or “CHEMICAL FREE”. The best natural bug sprays will take advantage of the repellent nature of plants rather than chemicals – lavender, mint, cedar, citrus, geranium, and lemongrass. These sprays can be extremely effective at keeping the bugs away without causing you worry over the ingredients you’re rubbing into your skin.
We hope this gives you some ideas about how to eradicate the awful mosquito from your homestead. Any one of these five suggestions on its own might be enough to significantly decrease the mosquito population in your yard, but all of them taken together can ensure a completely mosquito free backyard for you and your family.