Minimizing Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes may be faster and bite more, but you’re smarter. Use IPM to cut down on mosquito problems.

Cultural or mechanical controls are the first approach of integrated pest management (IPM) used to combat mosquitoes. Cultural controls are environmental. Mosquitoes need water for their life cycle. Get rid of standing water anywhere it tends to stay for more than a week to cut down the number of adult mosquitoes. Drain pools and puddles and empty or refresh water in pot saucers, old tires, clogged drain pipes, wading pools, bird baths, fountains, garden ponds, cans and buckets. Mechanical controls include using screening and devices such as bug lights that lure and kill the mosquitoes.

Biological controls, the second aspect of IPM, include using natural things both to control population and to repel mosquitoes. Mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis) eat mosquito larvae floating on ponds, as do koi. The crushed leaves of certain plants, including lemon balm and citrosa, are somewhat effective as repellents. A derivative of China grass, citronella, when added to various products such as candles and wrist bands, helps repel mosquitoes.

Chemical controls, the third leg of IPM, involve using substances that are man-made, such as DEET, to keep mosquitoes from biting. There are chemical creams and sprays for your body, home and property readily available.

Use IPM and most of your mosquito problems may be DOA.

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