Bug zappers attract and kill thousands of insects, but most of them aren’t mosquitoes. They kill only a small number of mosquitoes in the area. (Ironically, they zap a lot of insects that prey on mosquitoes.)
Citronella candles are no more effective than other candles at keeping mosquitoes away. Candle smoke in general may have a limited effect. Likewise, planting Citrosa geraniums won’t repel mosquitoes.
Outdoor Foggers and Misting Systems
Outdoor foggers and misting systems will temporarily reduce mosquito numbers, but they rise again as soon as the system turns off and the spray dissipates.
Spraying garlic will make your yard smell like an Italian dinner, but does little else.
Propane Gas Traps
Placing propane gas traps in your yard will effectively capture many mosquitoes, but again, only a small fraction of those in your yard.
Ultrasonic devices have no repellency value at all, according to studies.
Bat Towers and Purple Martin Houses
Building bat towers and purple martin houses to attract potential mosquito predators has been proven useless. Bats and purple martins rarely feed on mosquitoes.
Instead, try THESE!
Tip 1: Prune hedges and mow the yard to reduce shade
Reduce shady cover. Mosquitoes like shade to escape the midday heat. Hedges, bushes and tall grass provide shade that shelters mosquitoes. They need a place to get out of the heat and sun during the day, so the fewer shaded areas they find, the less they’ll congregate in your yard. They may make trouble for your neighbors, but you'll be better off.
Tip 2: Eliminate standing water
It’s no surprise that mosquitoes are attracted to water, but it is surprising how little water it takes for mosquitoes to breed and multiply. Mosquitoes can lay eggs in just a thimbleful of water, which means that anything that holds even a tiny bit of water can be home to mosquito larvae. Find and empty these water sources. Dispose of or drain water from old tires, buckets, unused kids’ pools, bases of flowerpots, furniture, toys, boats and trailers left outside.
Tip 3: Treat pools of water you cannot drain
Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to get rid of standing water in a pond. Pour a tiny amount of Agnique MMF mosquito larvicide in the water so that a thin layer covers the surface. It’ll suffocate the larvae (and any other insects in the water) without harming fish. Or put Mosquito Dunk into the water. These doughnut-shaped briquettes produce a toxic bacterial spore that kills mosquito larvae, but won’t harm fish or animals. One briquette lasts for 30 days.
Tip 4: Stock water gardens with fish and chlorinate swimming pools
Goldfish or minnows will eat mosquito larvae in pools. Buy a few goldfish or minnows from a pet store or bait store and add them to your water garden. They may only live for one season, but they’ll eat mosquito larvae.
Chlorinate water that remains standing for a long period, like water in swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the safe use of chlorine. Keep pools covered when not in use. For small fountains, birdbaths and wading pools that you don’t want to chlorinate, simply change the water once a week to dispose of mosquito larvae. Sweep surfaces with a brush to knock off eggs before refilling the container.
Tip 5: Contact your local Mosquito Control District for large infestations
Large wooded areas, ponds and lakes are havens for mosquitoes. It’s almost impossible to treat these areas yourself, so call in the big spraying guns. Local Mosquito Control District policies vary and services are localized, but often, when the number of mosquitoes reaches a certain level, Mosquito Control will spray for them. This is also a good idea if mosquitoes are swarming your yard in unusually high numbers.Make the call about two weeks before your party. It’ll take time for Mosquito Control to come out, conduct the test, and if needed, spray.
Tip 6: Have your foliage professionally sprayed
If Mosquito Control won’t spray your property, hire an exterminator to spray the foliage. This ensures a swat-free party by wiping out mosquitoes and other insects for at least a few days. Have this done one to three days before your party. For a (nearly) mosquito-free summer, have the foliage sprayed monthly.
Although you can buy sprays yourself, we recommend leaving the application of insecticides to the pros. They can buy more effective treatments that are restricted to licensed exterminators. They also know which to use and how much to apply to kill the mosquitoes without posing a hazard to other critters. When used according to the label, the insecticides pose minimal risk to humans and pets.
Tip 7: Run fans at ground level during the party
Rapid air movement confuses the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are particularly attracted to body odors and the carbon dioxide we exhale when breathing. They allow mosquitoes to hone in on us—and that’s when the biting starts. Dissipating these telltale human signs makes us harder to find. Because of their light weight, mosquitoes are weak flyers. The breeze from the fans makes it difficult for them to fly, keeping them out of your party zone.