Mosquitoes in yards and gardens are more than just a nuisance, they can carry diseases such as the West Nile virus (found in the U.S.). Of the approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide, over 170 can be found in the U.S. Only female mosquitoes bite as they require the protein in blood to produce their eggs.
There are all sorts of sprays and chemicals used to control their numbers, but there are also natural ways to combat these voracious bloodsuckers. This article offers natural ways to oust mosquitoes from your garden.
Herbal and Plant Remedies: Garlic is the main component in many herbal remedies. Organic gardeners use garlic sprays, powders, and plantings to keep pests at bay. It may not reduce their numbers dramatically, but when coupled with other natural combatants, you may notice a difference.
Researchers have found that catnip will repel all varieties of mosquitoes. They believe an essential oil found in catnip, the one that gives it its characteristic odor, is actually more effective at repelling these pests than Deet (the chemical used in most commercial insect repellants). Scientists aren't yet certain if it's simply the smell mosquitoes don't like, or if the odor is actually an irritant for them.
Rosemary is prized in herbal gardens for its savory flavor. This wonderful, and rather lovely, herb will also oust mosquitoes from your garden. You can simply break off a branch and rub it over the exposed areas of your skin to protect yourself outdoors.
Citronella oil is a safe and effective way to keep mosquitoes away during backyard barbecues. Your online garden store or local garden center will have everything from citronella table candles to citronella torches you can mount around the pool. For personal use, try mixing a few drops of citronella oil with a few drops of olive oil and apply at your pulse points like you would perfume.
Vanilla mixed with some olive oil and applied to the skin can also keep mosquitoes away. Vanilla also has a pleasant scent, which can make it a more appealing option.
Planting marigolds in your flowerbeds is another way to oust the pesky critters from your garden. Not only are their bright orange and yellow blooms cheery, but they produce a pungent odor that is unattractive for mosquitoes.
Add Animals That Prey on Them
Gardeners and landscapers who have water elements in their yards should be especially mindful of mosquito control since they use water sources for breeding. Luckily, there are a number of animals that would like to have a mosquito for supper. Try stocking your pond with guppies or goldfish since they will also eat the larvae. Toads can eat between 50 and 100 mosquitoes and slugs per night, so having them in your yard is a wonderfully natural way to get rid of them. Bats also like to munch mosquitoes, but you probably don’t want them hanging around your garden parties.
Remember, eliminating stagnant water from your yard will also help reduce mosquito numbers. Even removing piles of moisture-retaining leaves will help with this pesky problem. While none of these safe and organic methods may conquer the troublesome insect alone, together, they may prove the dramatic means necessary to protect you and your family.