Eco-Friendly Green Mosquito Control: How to Take Back Your Outdoor Carolina Living Area
Hear that sound, that whiney buzz near the back of your ear. It’s a buzzing that triggers thoughts of rapid-fire flapping of tiny wings. It’s the whine you may hear right before feeling the prick of a female mosquito.
That’s part of summer in Charlotte, part of outdoor cookouts, nighttime fireworks, and a dip in the family pool. It is also an outdoor Carolina hazard that can be reduced if not fully eliminated – at least in your own yard. In a moment, we will discuss the methods and repellants best suited for “green” or eco-friendly mosquito control. But first, the answer to a simple question:
Why do mosquitoes whine?
First off, it is not the sound of rapid-fire flying. In fact, scientific studies have proven that the buzz of female mosquitoes plays an important role in the mosquito-mating plan. Being larger than their male counterparts, female mosquitoes do not flap their wings as quickly as the males. This creates a distinctive whine that male suitors easily identify as female. In fact, nearly a hundred years ago Dr. Christopher Johnston out of Baltimore, Maryland discovered that mosquito antennae come equipped with an organ specifically evolved for the purpose of recognizing other mosquitoes.
The whine actually comes from a toothed organ at the base of the mosquito’s wings. It’s not a flapping in the wind that makes the buzz. Rather it is the sound of scraping produced by the toothed organ as the wings move. More recent research has even concluded the whine as singing. When females and males get near to one another, they actually alter the pitch of the buzz.
Why Worry About Mosquito Control?
Mosquitoes are more than just a warm weather annoyance. Mosquito bites are uncomfortable and cause itching and swelling. In some cases, mosquitoes can even transmit viruses to both humans and pets. According to the Mother Nature Network, on a worldwide scale mosquito-borne diseases account for the yearly death of nearly one million people.
Mosquitoes are much more than nuisance pests. Mosquitoes are such a serious threat that the Centers for Disease Control has a dedicated department researching and treating mosquito-borne diseases. Diseases that have been associated with transmission through mosquito bites include:
- Zika virus
- West Nile virus
In the majority of cases, a mosquito bite will only cause slight discomfort. Common symptoms include itching, redness, and swelling at the bite site. Some individuals will become ill after a bite if the mosquito was infected. Anyone who has been bitten by a mosquito should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:
So, we see that mosquito control is not merely about taking back your Carolina yard. It’s primarily about keeping your family and pets safe.
Do-It-Yourself Mosquito Management
While mosquitos are common pests, there are things you can do to less their impact on you and your family. The following steps will help you remain bite-free during the height of mosquito season.
1. Use Bug Repellent
Insect repellent products are an effective way to keep mosquitoes from biting you. Although a short-term solution, insect repellents are useful when outdoors in areas with an active mosquito population. Although there are “natural” repellent products available, the EPA recommends using products with the following active ingredients:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus
Chemical repellents provide one of the most effective methods for avoiding bites. Products that contain DEET at a concentration of 30 to 50 percent work for several hours for adults and children over the age of 2 months. For younger infants, drape a carrier with mosquito netting.
Natural repellents include cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus, castor, lavender, tea tree and citronella oils. Natural products must be applied more frequently.
The EPA also recommends carefully reading product labels before choosing an insect repellent. The repellent may only work against mosquitoes or use a combination of ingredients to prevent tick bites as well.
To apply bug spray properly, aim the nozzle from at least four inches away and spray directly onto the skin or clothes. Sunscreen should be applied first before bug repellent. Reapply after swimming or once you notice the mosquitoes are biting again. Spray and lotion bug repellents are the best when it comes to protecting against mosquitoes. Independent testing conducted by Consumer Reports found that repellent wristbands and clip-on fans were ineffective at warding off mosquitoes.
2. Watch What You Wear
Your clothing choices will also determine your likelihood to suffer from mosquito bites. Long-sleeve shirts and pants offer full body protection. Choose fabrics carefully; thick cotton clothing works best since mosquitoes can bite through thin materials like spandex. Always remember to wear socks and closed-toe shoes—especially when walking outdoors in the grass. The color of your clothing will also influence whether mosquitoes are drawn to you. Research has proven that mosquitoes are attracted to dark-colored clothing. Areas that are left uncovered- such as your neck, hands and face- can be protected through the application of insect repellent. Be mindful to not spray bug repellent directly on your face. Instead, apply to your hands and rub onto the skin—being careful to avoid the eyes and mouth.
3. Stay Indoors
Mosquito activity is at its height in the early morning and early evening hours. If possible, stay indoors during these times of day. You should also avoid exercising outdoors since mosquitoes are drawn to the chemicals released when you are perspiring or breathing heavily. While indoors, use screens to keep mosquitoes from coming into the house. If that option is not available, you should sleep under a bed covered with mosquito netting. There are also netting products sold to protect children from mosquito exposure. Purchase nets that cover cribs, baby carriers and strollers. This is very important to do, especially if you have a newborn since bug repellents are not recommended for children younger than two months old. Repellents containing the oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-methane-diol should not be applied to children under three years of age.
4. Remove Standing Water
Want to avoid making your home a hotspot for mosquitoes? Just look around your yard to locate and remove areas of standing water. Containers such as barrels, buckets, pet bowls, planters and trashcans can collect rainwater. Mosquitoes will then breed in the standing water and the population within your yard will grow tremendously. Kiddie pools can become problematic as well, but other types of swimming pools should be fine. The chemicals used to make swimming pools safe for swimming will also ward off mosquitoes. Remember to check your gutters too since clogged gutters can become a breeding site for mosquitoes. While removing standing water won’t make a yard completely mosquito free, it will certainly help reduce exposure.
5. Yard Maintenance
A common misconception is that mosquitoes require blood to survive. In fact, mosquitoes will also feed on nectar, so they are drawn to certain tall grasses and shrubs. Trim back vegetation in your yard to prevent mosquitoes from gathering too close to your home or deck. You could also plan out your landscaping to include plants that act as a natural repellent to mosquitoes. The following plants repel mosquitoes:
Keep in mind that some of these plants and grasses can only be grown in certain climates and may not survive during the freezing winter. Piles of leaves and twigs should be removed from the yard since they are an alternative breeding ground when standing water isn’t available.
Other ways to make your yard less attractive to mosquitos include:
- Choose lighting sources that won’t attract mosquitoes, such as yellow LED or bug-repelling lights.
- Get rid of mosquitoes by burning citronella torches or candles; the smoke will help keep mosquitoes away. In addition, consider planting some citronella in the backyard so you can simply break off a twig and rub it on skin.
- Create a mosquito free haven for guests with mosquito netting or another clear covering designed for outdoor use. You can craft your own outdoor room in which guests can stay comfortable and bite-free.
- Sprinkle garlic powder around your yard or plant garlic to repel mosquitoes. Studies have not proven the efficacy of this method, but anecdotal evidence indicates that it may work for some people. Eating garlic every day is another method some people use to keep mosquitoes away.
- Install a trapping machine that uses carbon dioxide and heat to attract and trap or kill pests. Many people report that the systems are effective, but they won’t create a completely mosquito free yard. Avoid electric bug zappers, which often kill non-harmful insects.
- If you’re hosting a gathering and are grilling, toss a few rosemary stalks over your hot coals. The rosemary will give your food a luscious flavor as it naturally repels mosquitoes from the immediate area.
- You also can take steps to make your garden friendly to nature’s most-efficient mosquito predator: bats. One bat can eat as many as 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour!
6. Seek Out Professional Help
Pest control companies will help you reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property. Treatments offered not only kill adult mosquitoes, but also target mosquitoes still in the larval stage. Any treatments used will be safe for both pets and children who are frequently in the backyard. Spray treatments used by professionals don’t break down as quickly as DIY products and typically only require re-application monthly.
Many professional pest control companies also offer green mosquito control, which effectively manages mosquito populations, but with less risk to your family.
Why do you Need Green Mosquito Control?
Green mosquito control offers the chance to get rid of the pesky insects without exposing you or your family members to harsh chemical treatments. Eco-friendly mosquito control methods not only remove current swarms of mosquitoes, but also prevent future infestations. Homes in the Carolinas often experience mosquito issues throughout the summer months and without addressing the problem, you are at risk for having the bugs take over your yard. The good news is the professionals at Carolina Pest Management are here to help. Our expert technicians use pest control methods that not only effectively get rid of mosquitoes, but also are safe for environment.
Strategies for Green Mosquito Control
Carolina Pest Management works with each client to develop effective strategies to eliminate mosquito populations. Citronella candles, bug sprays and repellent bracelets may prevent mosquito bites, but won’t remove the insects from your property. Instead, focus on getting rid of mosquito attractants and using eco-friendly mosquito control methods.
- Assess your property to eliminate any mosquito breeding sites. Remove any sources of standing water such as kiddie pools, gardening pots, buckets, and pet bowls. Since each female mosquito can lay up to 400 eggs, getting rid of spots for them to breed is a key part of all-natural mosquito control.
- Improve your yard’s water drainage. Drainage systems help rainwater run off of the lawn instead of causing puddles.
- Place birdhouses and bat houses in your yard. Swallows and bats are natural predators of mosquitoes.
- Start a garden with mosquito repellent plants. Plants that have been known to repel mosquitoes are lemon balm, lavender, basil, floss flower and bee balm.
Despite your best efforts, it’s not unusual to find it difficult to get rid of mosquitoes for good. Schedule a consultation with Carolina Pest Management to assess your property’s needs. For 80 years, we have helped customers throughout the Carolinas get rid of mosquitoes using green and all-natural mosquito control solutions.
Reliable Charlotte Mosquito Control
If home remedies aren’t doing enough to keep mosquitoes at bay, consider calling on professionals. Carolina Pest Management offers mosquito-control methods that fit your needs and lifestyle using traditional or botanical-based products.
We’ve served homes and businesses located in the Carolinas for over 75 years and continuously makes customer satisfaction our top priority. Contact us to discuss how we can help with your home’s mosquito control.