Don’t become an unwilling blood donor to hungry mosquitoes when you’re relaxing outside this summer. Set out oscillating fans to keep the air moving, and when you’re barbecuing, toss a handful of sage, rosemary, or citrus peels on the coals. Both strategies will make mosquitoes keep their distance. But for long-term control, you need to eliminate the little devils’ breeding grounds. And that’s really not as hard as it may sound. Here’s your six-item to-do list:
- Get rid of any water-collecting debris, like old tires or discarded buckets.
- Fill in holes and any low-lying areas in your yard where rainwater collects.
- Change your pets’ water at least once a day, and refill birdbaths every couple of days.
- Empty portable wading pools as soon as the kids (or pets) are through using them. Then turn them upside down or take them indoors.
- Keep rain barrels covered.
- To make water gardens and other permanent water features off-limits, use either Laginex® or Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis). Both are available online and in many garden centers, and both kill mosquitoes without harming any other living things. Just one word of advice: If you go with Bti, make sure you look for slow-release tablets; some brands lose their effectiveness after about three days, so you’ll have to add more.