Mosquito Prevention Tips And Tricks

This is a brief description on some best practices to avoid Mosquitoes and prevent Mosquitoes from inhabiting your yard.  These should be integrated into your Pest Management Plan to ensure the best results possible. 

Mosquito Prevention Tips And Tricks

Mosquito Prevention Tips and Tricks

Texas has one of the longest Mosquito seasons within the US.  Typically, we start around the end of February when temperatures peak above 60 degrees and end around the end of October when they dip back down.  Some good things about Texas are that our late spring freezes do reduce the number of mosquitos and influences the population for a time overall due to the wet warm springs it doesn’t last long as populations of mosquitos rapidly recover as eggs are frost resistant.  But what we do know is mosquitos need water.  Water to reproduce and therefore the more rain and standing water typically the worse the mosquitoes are in any given year here in Texas.  This is also why mosquitos tend to have larger populations in areas around lakes creeks and homes with consistent standing water.

The best way to manage mosquito issues is to practice an integrated pest management plan that controls all aspects of the mosquito lifecycle and populations.

  • Clear out clutter and yard debris- mosquitos rest and are drawn to shady overgrown areas such as lawns that are not mowed.  Reducing debris such as wood piles, tall grass, leaf clutter, bagged yard clippings will aid in the reduction of mosquito populations.  A clean manicured lawn with minimal mulch trimmed hedges and low hanging trees with dry sunny areas are the best for deterring mosquitos.

Avoid standing water – mosquitos love standing water caused by the over watering of our yards and debris that may capture or hold water like flower pots and bucket.  One 5-gallon bucket with two inches of water can breed tens of thousands of mosquitos and significantly increase mosquito populations.  Removing these mosquito breeding areas is key to reducing mosquito numbers.  Old plastic leaves and clutter especially that in gutters that prevents drainage, French drains, improperly draining yards with standing water, water features, ponds, leaking pool equipment, tires, the container on the bottom of flower pots, kids’ toys, anything plastic that holds water. Yes, this also means those eco- friendly rain catchments for recycling run off water too. 

 If you must have water, use animal and or fish friendly treatments for mosquitos.  One of the most common preventative measures is ensure pools and hot tubs remain chlorinated year-round.  Mosquitos will thrive in an untreated hot tub or pool.  Natural mosquito predators such as dragonfly larvae devour mosquito populations in pools of water. Bats will consume a large portion of their bodyweight in mosquitoes each night.

Change the management strategy of mosquitos – mosquitos and mosquito larvae can become resistant to certain types of management plans.  It is important to use multiple strategies for managing mosquito populations in your home. 

Natural deterrent controls – There are several plant species that will help deter mosquitoes and many of them do quite well here in Texas.  Here are a few

Rosemary – not just for cooking the lovely oils used in rosemary are proven to deter mosquitos

Marigolds – a proven showy annual plant that loves the Texas sun and prevents an array of insects including mosquitos

Lavender – Lavender loves hot dry summers of Texas and comes in many varieties that do quite well in Texas.  Lavender is pest and animal resistance.  Filled with essential oils used for perfumes and soaps this showy blue plant is not just for winning the neighborhood garden club it is a known mosquito deterrent

Citronella Plants and Lemon Grass– everyone knows the smell of citronella candles which derive their essential oil from the leaves of plants, but did you know the lemon grass used to flavor many Asian dishes will also deter mosquitos due to the high concentrations of essential oils such as limonene.  Unfortunately, these plants do not hold up for the winter when temperatures fall below 50 degrees and will need to be brought into a greenhouse or inside.  But they are prolific growers and can be propagated very easily.  You can have a hedge of lemongrass in a few months with a small tray of plants.

Other Herbs – bee Balm, Mint, Basil, Sage, Allium, and yes Garlic all act as natural deterrents for mosquitos.  Many cultivars of these are readily available from seed and nurseries as annuals and perennial plants. 

It is important to remember when planting to prevent mosquitos more is better.  A wall of rosemary not only is a showy garden but creates a border for the mosquitos. Lining fences and front flower beds with these plants can create a bubble that helps reduce mosquitos in high traffic areas.