This year is going to be wicked for massive amounts of mosquitoes if we do not plan ahead. Because of so much rain, there will be puddles of water making for many breeding areas for mosquitoes. Here are tips to limit the breeding grounds and to keep the pests off your skin too.

The trick is to control the ability of mosquitoes to grow and hatch. Make sure there is no standing water anywhere. If you cannot prevent standing water, treat it. There are little doughnut-looking cakes that can be used to treat the water. They are available at most of our local retail stores.

Here are tips to control the hatching of mosquitoes from American Mosquito Control Association:

  • Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water. Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than 2 days.
  • Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or eliminate puddles that remain for several days.
  • Change the water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week and stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows. Known as mosquito fish, these minnows are about 1 - 1-1/2 inches in length and can be purchased or native fish can be seined from streams and creeks locally. Ornamental pools may be treated with biorational larvicides [Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) or S-methoprene (IGR) containing products] under certain circumstances. Commercial products "Mosquito Dunks" and "Mosquito Bits" containing Bti can be purchased at many hardware/garden stores for homeowner use. Wellmark International, a division of Central Life Sciences, has developed Pre-Strike Mosquito Torpedo that kills developing mosquitoes using insect growth regulator (IGR) technology. Like Mosquito Dunks, Pre-Strike can be found at many home/garden and pet specialty stores.
  • Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar. These areas may be treated with Bti or methoprene products also.
  • Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.
  • Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.
  • Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarp to drain the water.
  • Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems.
  • Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
  • If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes. Report such conditions to a Mosquito Control or Public Health Office. Do not attempt to clear these ditches because they may be protected by wetland regulations.

When you head outside to do anything, you can spray bug repellant or try one of the new repellant wrist bands. The little fan operating repellants that clip onto your clothes work pretty well too.

Unfortunately, citronella candles and bug spray can be smelly and packed with harmful chemicals. I hate feeling sticky from the sprays or breathing in the smoke from candles so here are some natural alternatives to keep the mosquitoes away, according to Natural Living Ideas.

  • Herbs - Basil, lemongrass and rosemary repels mosquitoes. Grow an herb garden or throw some rosemary or sage onto the grill the next time you grill.
  • Marigolds - Marigolds are easy to grow and their scent keeps mosquitoes away.
  • Tea Tree Oil - This summer's hottest fragrance!
  • Catnip - While cats go wild for catnip, mosquitoes hate the smell. Plant some around your house.
  • Garlic - Eating raw garlic or cooking with it can also repel mosquitoes for up to 6 hours. Odor-free garlic supplements also help.