Mosquito season has arrived in New England, marked by an incessant buzzing from dusk until dawn. A common carrier of both EEE and West Nile, these insects can become more than a garden nuisance.
There are many ways to shield and protect the body from these summer pests that include insect repellants, foggers, mosquito traps, protective clothing and more, but there are many surprisingly organic remedies many gardeners may not realize are right at their fingertips that can also help prevent and reduce mosquitoes.
Reduce any standing water. Mosquitoes breed in standing water. A female mosquito can lay up to 400 eggs at a time but needs a water source to lay them in. When the larva hatch, they live in water for 7-14 days before transforming (through multiple moltings) into an adult fly. By actively attending to standing water at least once per week, that will help reduce the mosquito population around the home. Common places for water to accumulate include puddles and birdbaths.
In The Garden
Another clever way to deter mosquitoes is to add plants and flowers to the landscape that act as a natural repellent. Marigolds are not only brightly colored accents with rich shades of yellow and orange, but they give off a strong smell that tends to repel mosquitoes. Citronella is another plant whose natural odor is a ready-made deterrent. Citronella is so effective that the essential oils of the plant are often used in repellents and candles to keep bugs at bay. Mostly known for its ability to attract and entertain feline friends, catnip can also be planted to ward off mosquitoes.
Finally, another option is to add bat houses to the property. These small, bat-friendly confines may take a while before they are inhabited, but when they are there should be a noticeable decline in local mosquito populations. The colonial bat, which is the most common in the greater Boston area, can eat up to 500 mosquitoes in an hour. Wow!
Mosquitoes are considered a significant nuisance in the summer, but they also pose great health risks. These helpful tips can assist in driving them off of personal property, but every precaution should still be taken to repel them from physical contact as well.