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As the sun begins to make more of a prolonged appearance and the ground begins to get warm, we start to see the emergence of one of the most hated insects on the planet – mosquitoes. There are over 3000 different species of mosquito worldwide and 200 of them live in the US alone, causing the transmission of deadly diseases and causing painful, itchy bites. As the ground temperature begins to remain steady above 50 degrees, mosquitos begin to emerge from hibernation and to hatch from eggs that were laid in last year’s breeding seasons, with their population numbers culminating in the hottest summer months. So what can you do to avoid a swarm of mosquitoes in your garden?
Prepare your property before the mosquito season arrives
The key to mosquito control is preparation, and so it is vital that you prepare for the mosquito season in the months before it arrives. If you wait until you start to see mosquito numbers rising before you take action, then this will be too late, as the mosquitoes breeding activity will already be underway and this makes it much harder for you to get on top of their numbers. Remember that the mosquito breeding cycle also shortens significantly during the warmer months and so for best results, you will want to start your preparations in the colder months leading up to the end of spring.
Here are some things you can do to prepare your property before the mosquito season arrives:
- Remove any standing water
All mosquitos rely on standing water in which to lay their eggs, and they don’t need a lot of it to complete their breeding cycle, just a shallow pool on the top of some scrap metal or a damp patch in your garden will suffice. Eliminating sources of standing water is the first step to removing mosquitoes from your property – dump out any objects that hold water such as wheelbarrows, trailers, plant pots or dishes, regularly and try to clear away any items of junk such as old tires, scrap metal or buckets that water can also collect in. To reduce the amount of water dumping you need to do, always store items in a position that allows water to naturally drain away. If you have an outdoor dog bowl or birdbath, then this will need to be drained and refilled daily to stop mosquito eggs from hatching.
- Unblock and clean your gutters
The gutters on your home are designed to control the removal of wastewater from your property but if they become blocked then they may become mosquito breeding grounds instead. Especially in the winter months, twigs, leaves and other debris often finds its way into gutters, causing blockages that make the perfect moist home for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Grab a ladder or contact a local gutter cleaning company to come and clean your gutters, removing any eggs that have already been laid and ensuring that your gutters are no longer a good environment for mosquitos to make their home.
- Fix up your lawn
You may have removed all of the standing water from objects in your yard, but your grass itself could also be the perfect breeding ground and habitat for mosquitoes. Take a look at your garden and try to see if you have any areas that often become waterlogged, this may be an area below your gutter or simply a low lying area with poor drainage. If you find that you have standing water collecting in your garden then it’s time to do some landscaping. Try to improve the drainage of boggy, wet areas and ensure that water run-off has somewhere to go.
- Treat pools and ponds
If you have a swimming pool or pond in your garden then they can also become mosquito breeding grounds if not treated properly. Ensure that swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs are sufficiently chlorinated and maintain their filters to stop mosquitos from being able to lay their eggs in them. For natural ponds or pools, fish will eat a proportion of the mosquito larvae but you may also want to consider using a mosquito dunk, which is an object infused with a mosquito-killing pesticide, designed to only kill mosquito larvae and to be safe for fish, birds and other aquatic life. Mosquito dunks can be found at most home centers and generally kill mosquito larvae for up to 30 days.
What to do if you already have a mosquito problem?
If you’ve not been quick enough to remove all sources of water from your garden prior to the mosquito season arriving, then you may already be seeing a rise in the number of pests visiting your home. It’s never too late to begin removing or treating water sources as this will disrupt the breeding cycle and will give you some relief in a few day’s time. In the meantime, you may also want to invest in screening for your windows and doors which will stop mosquitoes from getting in, and you may also want to stock up on bug spray which will deter them from biting you. If the problem is significant and you have not been able to reduce their numbers by removing their breeding grounds then you may also want to consider a mosquito trap, which works by luring mosquitoes inside it and then using a vacuum to keep them trapped, ultimately killing them. Mosquito traps are most effective when used as early in the season as possible and can reduce mosquito numbers significantly over the course of a season.
So there you have it, that’s how you can get rid of mosquitoes in your garden. Remember, standing water is the mosquitoes number one breeding ground and it only takes them a few days to lay and hatch new eggs. Therefore, for best results try to remove all standing water at your property prior to the start of the mosquito season and keep it drained or treated with chlorine or mosquito killer throughout the summer months to keep their numbers under control.