You have to admire a mosquito’s persistence. No matter how many times you shoo her away, she refuses to leave until she has enough food to incubate her babies. Unfortunately, that food is your blood. While only 50 percent of the mosquitoes flying around will actually bite you (the females who have to develop their young), that’s enough to turn an otherwise pleasant summer evening into an exercise in itching. But if you think you’ve tried everything to get rid of them, think again.
Here are six mosquito controls you may not know about:
#1. Fans. According to entomologists, mosquitoes aren’t active when wind gusts exceed 10 miles per hour. Create your own windstorm with a rotating fan, which, set on “high,” should provide enough of a gust to keep bugs away. Plus, fans help dissipate the carbon dioxide you exhale, and reduce body heat, both of which have been found to attract mosquitoes.
# 2. Pigs. Speaking of body heat, an old Italian folktale claims that if you sleep with a pig in the room, you’re less likely to get bitten. Stick close to Babe and Wilbur, whose body temperatures run a few degrees higher than yours, and a mosquito is more likely to bite them than you. Perhaps not the most practical of strategies, but worth a try, if only to convince your landlord to put better screens in the windows.
#3. Bats. Pigs not your thing? Try installing a bat house. While some scientists question the ability of bats to have a serious impact on mosquito populations, some species like the little brown bat can eat anywhere from 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour. Which can be satisfying to watch as you sip some iced tea on the back porch on a summer night. Plus, bats are important pollinators.
#4. Marigolds. It has been scientifically proven that thiophenes, insecticidal compounds found in different species of marigolds, can kill mosquitoes. It’s hard to say if planting a bunch of marigolds around your backyard will expose the nasty critters to levels high enough to actually kill or deter them. Plant marigolds anyway, along with a variety of other native plants, herbs, and flowers; a biodiverse backyard will attract toads, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and other mosquito predators. And be sure to weed your garden and cut your grass frequently, so mosquitoes have less cover to hide in or rest on.
#5. Bacteria. The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to kill them before they have a chance to grow into bloodsucking adults. The most effective way to do that is to target their breeding grounds. "Mosquito dunks," sold at most home and garden stores, contain a specific type of bacteria that’s harmless to humans but toxic to mosquito larvae, and can be used in birdbaths and decorative ponds. Eliminating sources of standing water will help, as well, since mosquitoes can’t breed without water. Empty kiddie pools when not in use, keep trashcans upside down during rainstorms, and keep rain barrels covered.
#6. McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
According to Joey Green, author of Magic Health Remedies: 1,363 Quick-and-Easy Cures Using Everyday Brand-Name Products, you should turn to a tried-and-true baking ingredient to keep mosquitoes at bay. To repel mosquitoes, mix two teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract and one cup of water in a trigger-spray bottle and mist yourself with the fragrant solution. (Check out these other home remedies for bug bites and poison ivy!)
Filed Under: MOSQUITOES
Published on: May 22, 2009