How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes—and Keep Them From Coming Back
No one wants pesky mosquitoes lurking on their lawn. When you need to know how to get rid of mosquitoes, the following guide can help remove them from your yard for good.
No matter where you live, it’s likely you’ll encounter mosquitoes when the temperatures rise. Mosquitoes tend to flock to warm, wet conditions, and standing water offers a breeding ground for these pesky insects. And beyond their annoying buzzing and the itchy bites they leave behind, mosquitoes can pose serious health risks, so it’s essential to know how to get rid of mosquitoes when they won’t leave the property. Luckily, there is a range of tactics to apply to both prevent them from infesting the yard and keep them from returning. And for those wary of using commercial chemical prevention methods, they can opt for natural repellents and don’t even need mosquito spray for the house to eliminate the bugs. The following guide will provide step-by-step instructions for how to deter mosquitoes and suggest when it’s time to hire a professional if the infestation is out of control.
Time required: 1 to 2 hours
Estimated cost: $50 to $500
Before You Begin…
Although it may be tempting to start lighting citronella candles and planting lavender, it helps to properly identify the insects as mosquitoes and determine what level of mosquito infestation is present. This will not only help residents learn how to repel mosquitoes but also come up with a mosquito solution.
First, it’s important to identify mosquitoes from other similar-looking insects such as crane flies or non-biting midges. Adult mosquitoes have one pair of wings, a humped back, a long biting organ that protrudes from its head, and scales on the veins of its wings. In contrast, crane flies have straighter abdomens with wings that rest farther away from their bodies, while non-biting midges lack the mosquito’s distinctive long mouthpart.
Once it’s confirmed that mosquitoes are indeed present, the next step is to look for signs of a mosquito infestation, as the presence of an occasional mosquito doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a full-blown infestation that needs to be treated. Some common indicators that the bugs have infested the yard include a constant buzzing sound, spotting mosquitoes during the daytime and at night, frequent mosquito bites, and mosquitoes in shaded areas of the yard. If these signs are present and you’re still struggling to figure out how to get rid of mosquitoes outside, DIY methods may not be enough and you’ll want to reach out to one of the best mosquito control services.
- Mosquitoes can carry viruses like Zika and West Nile.
- Zika causes a relatively mild reaction in most people, but it is especially risky for pregnant women and can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, and stillbirths.
- There is no vaccine or treatment for West Nile virus, and, while rare, it can lead to neuro-invasive conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis.
- Mosquito bites can be prevented by applying the best mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves. The most effective EPA-approved ingredients to look for in an insect repellent are:
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
STEP 1: Eliminate any standing water outside the home.
Mosquitoes like to lay eggs in water with little to no flow, which is why standing water outside the home can lead to an infestation. Standing water can include anything from a small puddle to water inside a birdbath, trash container, inflatable pool, or outdoor toys. The first priority when figuring out how to get rid of mosquitoes in the backyard will be to eliminate any standing water on a regular basis. Not only will this lessen the presence of mosquitoes around the home, but it will also keep them from coming back.
About once a week, it’s recommended to do a walk-through of the yard and empty out any items holding water or cover containers without lids that could be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Any open vents or plumbing pipes can also be covered with wire mesh with holes small enough to keep adult mosquitoes from getting through. It also helps to repair any cracks or gaps in the septic tank.
STEP 2: Clean the gutters regularly.
Gutters that are cluttered with debris, leaves, or residual water from recent storms can attract mosquitoes and lead to an infestation. Cleaning the gutters regularly or hiring one of the best gutter cleaning services to do so lessens the risk of inviting mosquitoes near the property. In some cases, it can be what makes mosquitoes go away and not come back.
STEP 3: Maintain the lawn.
Mosquitoes are drawn to cool, dark, damp places, and overgrown lawns can provide all three. Regular lawn maintenance such as mowing and trimming keeps adult mosquitoes from nesting and allows any standing water to dry more quickly from sun exposure. The better the grass is maintained, the less likely it is to create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply their population easily.
It’s also wise to keep bushes trimmed and clean up any yard waste. Additionally, homeowners can consider using cedar mulch in their garden beds, as the cedar oils repel mosquitoes and the mulch can absorb excess moisture.
STEP 4: Try natural, DIY mosquito repellents.
There are plenty of home remedies to get rid of mosquitoes for those who are wary of applying harsh chemicals or solutions that are dangerous to children or pets but are trying to figure out how to control mosquitoes. The following options are natural, low-risk ways to keep these insects at bay.
- Plant herbs and flowers: From lemongrass to basil, lavender, and peppermint, several plants and herbs act as natural mosquito repellents due to their strong scents. Flowers such as marigolds or lantanas can also help deter mosquitoes. Planting these around the perimeter of the home can help control a mosquito population and keep the insects from coming inside.
- Welcome natural predators: Bats are one of mosquitoes’ most feared predators and can swallow up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour. Those that live in a temperate climate that attracts bats can make the yard more welcoming by building or buying a bat house, painting the interior dark, and placing it somewhere that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Ideally, bat houses are placed at a height of 12 to 20 feet off the ground, but the minimum is 10 feet. Bat houses should also be placed 20 to 25 feet away from any tree branches.
- Use fans: For those who need to know how to get rid of mosquitoes in the house, a steady stream of air can keep these weak fliers away. When faced with a strong force of wind, mosquitoes can’t effectively navigate and will likely steer clear of the area. Homeowners can also install outdoor fans if they have a mosquito problem in the yard.
- Light citronella candles: Once citronella candles are lit, the citronella oil evaporates into the air and masks the human scents (such as carbon dioxide) that attract mosquitoes. These candles are readily available at multiple price points and can often be found at grocery stores or the local hardware store.
- Use a bug zapper: The light from bug zappers as well as the chemicals they emit helps attract and kill mosquitoes around the home. These tools range in price from $20 for handheld versions to $50 for more high-tech options.
- Burn coffee grounds: A great way to reuse old coffee grounds is to burn them. Like citronella candles, burned coffee grounds produce a strong odor that masks the smell of humans and repels mosquitoes. You can place the grounds in a bowl outdoors and light them as you would with incense.
- Hang mosquito traps: These days, mosquito traps can come in the form of UV lights and wall-mount sconces. Some produce a high-voltage shock that kills mosquitoes on contact, while others are more compact and portable to use on the go or while camping.
STEP 5: Kill and repel mosquitoes with commercial products.
When natural methods just won’t cut it, residents can try to ward off mosquitoes with pesticides. Commercial products that contain ingredients such as prallethrin, etofenprox, pyrethrins, permethrin, resmethrin, and sumithrin can be found at a local home improvement store and are often dispensed as ultra-low volume (ULV) sprays. Once the liquid is dispensed into the air, it turns into tiny aerosol droplets that kill mosquitoes on contact. If a resident does use commercial pesticides, it’s best to read the warning labels beforehand, as some ingredients should be kept away from children, pets, or pregnant women.
STEP 6: Hire a mosquito control company to get the job done effectively and keep mosquitoes from returning.
If the above steps still don’t eliminate mosquitoes, it may be time to call a professional mosquito control company (some of the best pest control companies such as Orkin and Terminix may be able to help). These experts will be able to come up with a treatment plan that’s tailored to the property and ensures the pesky bugs don’t return. Professionals know how to most effectively apply treatments and fumigate for mosquitoes. Bringing in a pro is especially helpful for those who live in regions with high humidity where mosquitoes often run rampant and are harder to control. Plus, a company geared toward eliminating mosquitoes will likely be able to apply treatment multiple times throughout the season to ensure the yard is kept mosquito-free. Mosquito control costs range on average from $350 to $500. This can vary, however, depending on the size of the yard, the size of the infestation, and the type and frequency of the treatment.
The steps above can help residents not only identify the extent of a mosquito problem, but also help put measures in place to keep the nuisances away for good. Although most mosquito bites aren’t serious, some mosquitoes carry harmful viruses that lead to disease and illness in humans, so it’s wise to be cautious and handle a mosquito problem sooner rather than later.
Q. Do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?
Yes. Anything from blood type, sweat, beer consumption, and pregnancy can make some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Around 20 percent of humans are more attractive to mosquitoes than the rest.
Q. What blood type do mosquitoes like?
Mosquitoes seem to like Type O blood the most and Type A blood the least. Additionally, 85 percent of people secrete biochemical markers through their skin that identifies their blood type, while 15 percent do not. Mosquitoes will be more attracted to the secretors, regardless of their blood type.
Q. What smells do mosquitoes hate?
Mosquitoes hate the smells of lavender, tea tree oil, citronella, and lemon eucalyptus.
Q. What helps mosquito bites go away faster?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing the bite with soap and water, applying an ice pack, and applying a paste of baking soda and water can help mosquito bites go away faster.
Q. Can mosquitoes bite through clothes?
Yes, if the material is thin or tight-fitting enough, mosquitoes can bite through clothes.
Q. What time of day are mosquitoes most active?
Because direct sunlight can dehydrate them, mosquitoes are most active in the early morning hours before temperatures rise.
Q. How much does it cost to get rid of mosquitoes?
Professional mosquito control typically costs between $350 to $500 per season. DIY solutions, like homemade mosquito spray, can cost a few dollars.
Q. How do you get rid of mosquitoes at night?
You can follow the above steps to kill and repel mosquitoes. If mosquitoes are getting into the house at night while you sleep, a fan pointed at the bed can keep them from landing. Additionally, you can avoid strong-scented body products that may attract mosquitoes.
Q. How long do mosquitoes live?
The average adult mosquito lifespan is 2 to 3 weeks. Females typically live longer than males.
Q. What do mosquitoes eat?
Female mosquitoes bite humans and feed on blood. Male mosquitoes feed on flower nectar and do not bite humans.
Sources: Verywell Health, M and M Pest Control