LIFE

10 Tricks For Getting Rid of Mosquitoes

Christin Perry LitteThings writer by Christin Perry
Christin is a mom and editor specializing in lifestyle content. She also hides cookies like a boss.

All winter long, we dream of being able to spend time outside, soaking up the sunshine at the beach, spending a day on a lake, or just hanging out with a good book in our own backyard. But if mosquitoes have taken up residence in that yard, an idyllic al fresco experience can quickly turn miserable.

For the most part, mosquitos are an annoyance we’ve come to expect and live with in the summer months, like horse flies and sunburns. But if your outside space has become overrun with the nasty little pests to the point where you’re afraid to bare your skin after dark, it may be time to take some action. Moreover, mosquitoes can carry a variety of pretty nasty diseases—some that can have really harmful effects on you, your children, your pets, and even unborn babies (we’re looking at you, Zika).

Below, we’ll outline several different methods for getting rid of mosquitoes to try if your pest problem has gotten out of hand.

1. Pinpoint the Source of the Problem

1. Pinpoint the Source of the Problem
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If you have a severe mosquito problem, you can be sure that they’re breeding somewhere on your property. So you need to make it your mission to find their breeding ground and eliminate it. It goes without saying that this is best done before their eggs hatch and become mobile. Common mosquito breeding grounds include anything that can hold standing water, like buckets, trash can tops, kids toys like sandboxes and water tables, drains, old tires, and bird baths.

2. Use a Mosquito Bomb in Standing Water

2. Use a Mosquito Bomb in Standing Water
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Use a mosquito bomb (also called a mosquito dunk) in fish ponds, fountains, or other sources of standing water in your yard to kill existing larvae. Then, treat the water with a product made for mosquito control, like this. This is a simple way to ensure that mosquitoes don’t breed in your water in the future— and it’s safe for fish friends.

3. Hang A DIY Ovitrap

3. Hang A DIY Ovitrap
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A DIY mosquito trap that actually works? We’re totally here for it, and we’d like to thank Instructables.com for this amazing mosquito trap. It’s even been used on U.S. military bases abroad where malaria is a concern. The lethal traps work by luring mosquitoes inside to lay their eggs and then trapping the resulting mosquitoes beneath a screen from they can’t escape  (insert evil laughter, because you know you just did). These traps are said to work like gangbusters, and they only require a few simple materials that can easily be purchased at a hardware store. Get the how-to here.

4. Add Mosquito-Killing Plants to Your Garden

4. Add Mosquito-Killing Plants to Your Garden
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There are plenty of plants and herbs that serve as natural mosquito repellers. And while a plant or two alone won’t keep droves of mosquitoes away, incorporating them into your yard can be effective at deterring mosquitoes and keeping them somewhat at bay. Lavender, rosemary, basil, marigolds, citronella, and lemongrass all give off strong scents that deter mosquitoes. Consider also keeping these plants in pots near outdoor seating areas to discourage mosquitoes from trying to join the party.

5. Invest in Citronella Candles

5. Invest in Citronella Candles
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Just like the plants from which they are made, citronella candles can be very effective at keeping mosquitoes away from your outdoor gathering spaces. These are a great option to combine with other mosquito control techniques we’ve discussed in this article, like bug lights and bug-repelling plants. Plus, they can be kind of pretty.

6. Whip Up a Homemade Yard Spray from Beer, Epsom Salt and Mouthwash

6. Whip Up a Homemade Yard Spray from Beer, Epsom Salt and Mouthwash
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This is another excellent option if you’re looking for DIY mosquito control. Simply concoct a mixture of beer, epsom salt and minty mouthwash (try this recipe), and get spraying. Note that it’s best to spray in early to mid-spring, before you start seeing tons of mosquitoes.

7. Improve Drainage in your Yard

7. Improve Drainage in your Yard
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You can eliminate all objects in your yard that collect water, but if your yard itself is prone to flooding or has poor drainage, you guessed it—mosquitos will breed all the same. Fixing drainage issues in your yard can be an expensive undertaking, so you might have to get a little creative: Try creating a dry rock bed if there’s a certain area of your yard that collects water.

8. Switch Out Your Light Bulbs

8. Switch Out Your Light Bulbs
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Bugs are attracted to light, so why not install a lightbulb that they can’t see? Enter yellow light, a great way to keep mosquitoes from invading your patio space. Bugs are attracted to blue light (hence, bug zappers) but aren’t able to see the light emitted from a yellow light bulb. Consider replacing your regular white bulbs with yellow bulbs above any outdoor gathering areas to keep mosquitoes and other flies at bay

9. Burn Pinion Wood

9. Burn Pinion Wood
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Pinion wood comes from hardwood trees native to the mountains of the southwestern United States. When it burns, it gives off a strong (but amazing!) scent that’s super effective at repelling mosquitoes. Sure, it may not work to eliminate all mosquitoes from your yard, but they’ll definitely stay away from your campfire! Be aware that there are some imitation pinion wood varieties out there, so be sure to look for the real deal if you’re on the hunt for this wonder wood.

10. Spring for a CO2 Mosquito Trap

10. Spring for a CO2 Mosquito Trap
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Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that’s released when you breathe, which is the basis of this newfangled high-speed carbon dioxide mosquito trap. With prices starting around $300, depending on the model, these will cost you a pretty penny. However, they’re super effective—one trap can successfully eradicate mosquitoes for an entire acre (enough for most yards to be bug-free all summer). The promise of foolproof freedom from mosquito bites should ease the sting of the price tag a bit.