Non-Chemical Mosquito Control

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Every year it seems we have our cycles of wet and dry. This year we started with the dry. Lately, it seems we have found a wet cycle where we get enough rain every day or three to accumulate water in roadside ditches, buckets and other items that hold water in the yard. This is good in that watering the garden, lawn and flowers doesn’t take as much time and effort; however, it can be looked at as a bad thing when the mosquito population starts to increase. I’ve heard several complaints this week about just this problem. “The mosquitoes are so bad, I can’t even get out in the yard to pull weeds or water plants.”

More good news, most of the people calling about this problem want to control the mosquitoes without killing the pollinators that visit their flowers and vegetables. Here are some non-chemical methods for reducing the mosquito population. First, empty any containers (plant saucers, buckets, toys, and birdbaths) that hold water for more than 2 or 3 days. Mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in just a few days in standing water.

Second, if there is a body of standing water that you can’t empty like a fish or lily pond, ditch on the roadside, or a low area in the yard where water will stand for several days, there are several products like Mosquito Dunks that contain Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, which is a biological control that targets fly larvae like mosquito and fungus gnat larvae and kills them before they can pupate and become adults. If you are using the biological control, be sure to read and follow the label instructions to get the most out of the product.

Third, get neighborhood involvement. Mosquitoes fly and depending on the species they may fly a few hundred feet from the larval site or they may fly up to a half a mile to find a food source. The larger the area that is being controlled with cultural methods the smaller the mosquito population will be. Even if we all do our part, there will be a few mosquitoes around, but maybe the numbers will allow some of us to get out in the yard to enjoy the flowers.