Maximize Enjoyment of the Landscape This Season with Eco Friendly Mosquito Control

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Gardening expert Melinda Myers shares strategies for keeping the mosquitoes at bay using eight eco friendly pest control and mosquito control tactics.

Keeping the garden weeded, adding some birdhouses and eliminating standing water are just a few eco-friendly ways to keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.

“Don’t let mosquitoes prevent you or your guests from enjoying your yard, gardens and outdoor parties this year,” says Melinda Myers, author and host of The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series. Myers suggests trying these environmentally sound mosquito control strategies throughout the growing season.

  •     Start by eliminating standing water in the yard. Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. “Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed,” explained Myers.
  •     Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep the water moving and prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control product like Mosquito Dunks and Bits in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.
  •     Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing to help with mosquito control. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.
  •     Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. Then enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including mosquitoes and other garden pests.
  •     Keep the garden weeded. Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make the landscape less inviting to these pests.
  •     Consider using a personal repellent to protect against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellent as the sunscreen will need to be applied more often than the repellent.
  •     Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors. Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden while weeding to assist with mosquito control.
  •     Create a bit of ambience by lighting a few citronella candles for evening parties and events. Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties and thus can help with mosquito control. Scatter lots of candles throughout the entertainment space. Be sure to position the candles within a few feet of guests. This will provide some short-term relief from these pests and increase enjoyment all around.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening for Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site,, offers gardening videos and tips.

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Diana Paul
Melinda Myers LLC
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