But you cant fault the mosquitoes. They are just doing what theyve done for millions of years. Humans, mammals, birds, amphibians and others all donate to the cause and the skeeters dont just single out us humans.
So if you are plagued by these pesky insects, there are some precautionary measures homeowners can take, and there are a number of plants that will help ward off the mosquitoes you can add to your garden.
Mosquitoes need water in which to lay their eggs, so patrolling your yard for pools of water is critical in mosquito abatement. Rain gutters, dog bowls, old tires, bird baths, and any areas in the garden where standing water lasts should be emptied. Often youll notice larvae swimming around, but some spots are hard to find. Small ponds can be treated with a bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis which is harmless to everything except mosquito larvae. Added in granular form or pressed cakes to ponds, the bacteria wont totally eliminate the larvae, but will help to reduce the numbers.
Eliminate overhead watering that might pool up in tree bark or holes in the tree. Mosquitoes barely need a puddle in which to lay their eggs. Some floodwater mosquitoes lay their eggs on damp ground. After the area floods, the eggs hatch and race through their larval stage to become adults.
Mosquito Repellent Plants
There are a number of plants that produce oils or odors that deter mosquitoes. Check with your local extension service to see if any of these plants will grow in your zone.
Lemon balm or horsemint is a fast-growing perennial that is drought resistant and tolerant of poor soils. It may become invasive if left alone, so consider potting some and pulling starts. The plants strong aromatic scent repels mosquitoes.
Marigolds are easy to grow annuals that brighten any garden with their yellow-orange blossoms. Often used to deter other garden pests, these flowers are known to keep mosquitoes at bay. Some gardeners object to the plants strong aroma, but such is the price one pays.
Lavender is a multi-purpose plant that grows in gardens and has beautiful blue blooms. Used in potpourris, the strong scent also deters mosquitoes.
Lemon thyme, basil and rosemary may be in your garden for culinary reasons, but these plants perform double-duty as mosquito repellants. Their aromatic scents drive away mosquitoes; some gardeners include these herbs in homemade mosquito repellants.
In chemical-free bug sprays, citronella is a commonly used ingredient. The scent masks clues that mosquitoes follow to locate a person. Often included in citronella candles or mosquito coils, just be aware of the other ingredients in these products. Growing grass-like citronella plants is a better choice than the candles or torches. The clumping perennials can grow up to 5 feet tall, but needs a frost-free location to survive the winter. In colder or northern climates, the plants can be grown in large pots, preferably ones on rollers to move when the weather turns chilly.
In addition to the list above, here are some other plants that can also be grown to ward off the bugs: bee balm, catmint, catnip, lemon verbena, tansy and vanilla leaf to name a few. Of course, there are also sprays and salves that range from natural to 100% DEET. With a variety of options, from source control to plants to sprays, there are many ways to reduce those unwanted party-crashers and enjoy a summer night outside.