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Spraying yards, parks and neighborhoods with pesticides is not the answer. Here are some environmentally friendly alternatives to consider.
Some years, they appear by the tens of thousands, attacking us in our gardens, porches and decks. Tiring of spraying every inch of our skin with repellants, we give up and retire indoors until October.
Maybe it’s time to stop conceding summer to the mosquito. Being outdoors is too nice to give up!
Spraying yards, parks and neighborhoods with pesticides is not the answer, since this kills the bees, butterflies, wasps and beetles that pollinate our fruits and vegetables as beneficial insects, and chemicals build up in the environment. Here are some environmentally friendly alternatives to consider.
Preventing them from taking to the air in the first place
Don’t let them lay their eggs in standing water. Conduct a sweep operation to remove trash, containers and other places where water collects. Make sure water is not collecting in your gutters. Refresh the water in your bird bath.
Create mosquito death traps. Mosquito eggs hatch into larvae which swim around in standing water for a while – the perfect lunch for “Bti” bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis), fish (such as minnows, goldfish and the mosquitofish), frogs and other small creatures. You can soup up your ornamental pool so that it includes these natural mosquito control agents. Or buy Bti “dunks” and activate the water in a bucket so that mosquitoes lay their eggs in vain. As a community, we can also think about constructing mosquito abatement ponds in naturally wet areas of Lansdowne to make homes for mosquito predators.
Aerial mosquito control
Hungry swallows and chimney swifts spend their days hunting mosquitos. In the evening, you can sometimes look up and see nighthawks and (especially) bats flying through the air, consuming mosquitoes like movie popcorn. Attaching bat houses (similar to bird houses) to trees is a good strategy for increasing the local bat population. (Mounting bat houses so that the bats actually want to take up residence takes special care.) As a community, we can also think about making a good home for the trees and native plants that sustain local bird populations.
Dragonflies and assassin bugs also eat mosquitoes. Plant native plants and stop using toxic pesticides and herbicides to boost the populations of beneficial insects in your yard.
Repelling the mosquitoes in our gardens
Mosquitoes that survive all these hungry predators may still find their way to your yard. Avoiding dark clothing will reduce the number that make their way to you. Catnip, mint, marigolds and lavender are among the many plants that repel mosquitoes.
For further information on natural mosquito control, email the Lansdowne Environmental Advisory Council at firstname.lastname@example.org