It's no secret that mosquitoes can carry a host of diseases that can cause illness and death to both humans and animals. In fact, the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) says that more human suffering comes from mosquitoes than from any other organism in the world. And they aren't talking about the annoying buzz and itchy bites. AMAC reports that over one million people worldwide are killed as a result of a mosquito bite each year. Most of those deaths occur outside of the United States and are due to malaria, but even those in the United States may face health risks due to uncontrolled mosquitoes. Finding ways to control mosquitoes in your backyard will reduce their risk to your health and make life more enjoyable too. Try these natural mosquito-control products this year.
Bacillus thuringiensis (BT)
BT is a naturally occurring bacterium that is toxic to insects. According to the University of California, San Diego, it is found all over the world and can be found in the soil at beaches, in the tundra, and even in the desert. This bacterium is safe for humans and does not pose a risk to wildlife or aquatic life. It is safe to use around pets and small children and does not harm groundwater. BT decomposes naturally in the soil.
To use BT for mosquito control, add BT to birdbaths, water fountains, rain barrels, and any other area where there is standing water. Because mosquitoes breed in water, the BT will kill off the larvae and interrupt the breeding cycle. You can purchase BT at garden supply stores. It is available as dunks that are tossed into the water as well as in liquid form. Follow the instructions for using and replenishing BT in your yard to keep mosquitoes under control.
Neem oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree, an evergreen species native to South India. The oil works as both a repellent and to slow the reproduction of mosquitoes and other insects. This natural pesticide is considered safe for humans, pets, and wildlife but may pose some risk to aquatic life. Because it breaks down quickly in the soil, spraying the foliage in your garden does not typically pose a risk of the oil entering the groundwater.
To use neem oil, mix the concentrated solution with water and add it to a sprayer. Shake the mixture frequently to keep the neem oil suspended in the solution, and spray both sides of the foliage on plants around the perimeter of your yard. The oil can also be sprayed on ornamental plants, hanging baskets, and container gardens. Neem oil comes in different strengths. Always follow the directions for mixing neem oil with water. You can buy neem oil in the gardening section of your local home-improvement center. Sometimes, neem oil is already mixed with insecticidal soap to help it adhere to the foliage.
Citronella oil comes from an Asian grass (Cymbopogon) often referred to as lemongrass. This oil has a strong lemony scent that is reported to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects. While citronella oil will not kill mosquitoes, it may keep them away from sitting areas.
To use citronella oil to deter or repel mosquitoes, purchase citronella candles, oil burners, or other fragrance burners and place them near the sitting area. You can purchase citronella candles and repellents at your gardening center and in department stores.
Many people find that combining natural mosquito-control methods provides good control of mosquitoes in the backyard. If you find that you cannot gain adequate control with these methods, call a pest-control company such as Bug Busters Inc to discuss your needs.