Summer is here and warm weather beckons people into backyards across the country. Unfortunately, unwelcome guests like pesky mosquitoes often want to join the festivities. Not only can mosquitoes be a biting nuisance, but they can also cause allergic reactions in some people and pets. Certain species can spread dangerous illnesses such as dengue fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus.
Minimizing mosquito threats in your yard is of primary importance during summer months, but your outdoor decor and landscaping actually may be attracting mosquitoes. Dr. Mark Beavers, Orkin entomologist, recommends these tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay this summer.
3. Minimize Standing Water
Mosquitoes only need a thimble-sized amount of stagnant water to reproduce. To reduce mosquito breeding areas, Beavers recommends checking backyards for stagnant water in bird baths, under potted plants and even in your pet's water bowls. “By refreshing water often or eliminating standing water sources, you can reduce the number of places mosquitoes can reproduce,” according to Beavers. “If a backyard pond is part of your decor, make sure the water is circulating properly.”
2. Plant Smart
Backyards are often filled with places a mosquito can hide, reproduce or feed. Planting smart and keeping vegetation growth in check can cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. Be sure to trim, prune, weed and mow often to keep vegetation under control because mosquitoes love to hide in damp, dark places.
Think carefully about where you place flowers and plants in your backyard so they don't attract mosquitoes to the places you sit or entertain. Flowering plants can offer a delicious meal for female mosquitoes that need to feed on flower nectar between blood meals. Plants like Bromeliads that trap water in their leaves can also be a prime place for mosquitoes to breed.
1. Turn on the Fans
According to Beavers, “another trick is to use mosquitoes' weaknesses against them. Most mosquitoes are poor flyers, so a simple deterrent is to make it difficult for them to fly. Consider installing a fan on your deck or patio, or even bring a portable fan outdoors.”
Also remember your backyard basics: clothing and repellents. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so keep your summer wardrobe light and breezy. Loose-fitting shirts and long pants are typically your best bet. Mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes made of materials like spandex, so your yoga pants might have to wait until fall to come back out. Keep your scented body sprays and perfumes to a minimum, as mosquitoes can be attracted to strong smells as well. When you're heading outdoors, don't forget to apply a topical repellent spray approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
By taking these simple steps this summer, you can minimize mosquito populations in your backyard and stop mosquitoes from meddling in your summer fun.
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