Memorial Day is sometimes thought of as the jumping off point into the Summer season.  Pools open, schools close, parades abound, festivals celebrate, temperatures rise and mosquitos plague.  For the latter two reasons, I have come to somewhat detest summer.  I know I am one of the few and my attitude and views are a bit rogue, but let’s think about it for a moment.  You can’t sit outside and enjoy your beautiful landscaped yard because the humidity hovers around 137% and the mosquitos view you as their personal banquet.  Sweat drips down your face and back, yet you’re simply sitting – no energy expelled except for the constant swatting and fist wagging.  You eventually relent, take cover inside and promise revenge.  I certainly can’t control the weather, but I might be able to do something about the evil-winged vampires.  This year, I am hoping to take back my yard and shelve the cortisone.  Let’s see how we might accomplish this:

Limit Breeding

Mosquitoes require water to breed, so if you have stagnant water on your property due to heavy rains, consider better drainage methods.  If you live near a permanent body of water, top feeding fish should be introduced, like bait minnows, guppies or even the aptly named Gambusia (a.k.a Mosquito Fish).  They eat mosquito larvae before they are able to develop.  Additionally, drill holes in the bottom of any garbage or recycling containers, so water cannot pool.  Remember to keep your gutters clean and swimming pools chlorinated.

Limit Adult Habitats

Adult mosquitoes rest during the day on tall weeds or other vegetation.  Be sure to keep your lawn mowed and weeded.

Limit Exposure

Wear light-colored clothing and long sleeves and pants when possible.  Avoid wearing perfume.  Dusk seems to the busiest time for mosquitoes, so avoid this time if possible.

Personal Repellents

The most effective repellents contain DEET, like Cutters or Off.  Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.

Unorthodox Solutions

I’ve read a whole host of homemade, organic repellents, but I can’t find any scientific research to back them up.  Some include, lemon scent from either dish soap or lemon juice, lemongrass planted in the garden, garlic, Bounce dryer sheets, citronella plants, Listerine mouth wash and the list goes on and on.  What works for you?  We’d love to hear and learn how to make summer evenings a bit more tolerable.

“Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think.”

-Tom Wilson

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney