Natural mosquito control

Attention fellow Cliftonites: DO NOT BE FOOLED by mosquito-spraying companies that tell you they are using only "natural" substances to kill adult mosquitoes. It makes no difference whether a chemical is derived from a natural source such as a chyrsanthemum or a similar ingredient manufactured in a chemical factory. If it kills adult mosquitoes, it will also kill all the other insects, including the bees, butterflies, fireflies, katydids, ladybugs, etc, etc, thus depriving all the birds, frogs, salamanders, etc of their food source. Spraying for adult mosquitoes can even increase their numbers by decreasing their predators such as dragonflies.

Reducing mosquito numbers

Mosquito problems are always about standing water where the larvae breed. Even a spoonful of water is enough. It takes a week for the larvae to mature.

1. Eliminate standing water wherever possible. Places to look include

  • Plastic bags or other plastic items

  • Buckets

  • Drains at the ends of downspouts

  • Trashcans

  • Gutters not draining properly

  • English Ivy (which is invasive anyway and so should be removed)

  • Pool covers

  • Watering cans

  • Wheelbarrows

  • Old tires

  • Bird baths (change water at least weekly)

2. Create motion in the water

  • Waterfalls

  • Little fountains/bubblers

 

3. If 2 and 3 are not possible, kill the larvae with mosquito dunks or granules made of B.t.  These target mainly mosquitoes and related fly species and don't usually harm other insects. 

4. Create an easy "mosquito trap:" In a five gallon bucket (or equivalent) of water, throw in a handful of straw, hay, or other dried grass. As it ferments, it will attract female mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Finish them off with B.t. dunks or granules.

Protecting yourself from existing mosquitoes

 

We can adapt ourselves to fit into the eocysystem - we don't have to destroy it. But we do want to avoid contracting the rare case of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

  • Wear long sleeved shirts and pants

  • Apply DEET (not on infants), Picardin, or oil of Eucalyptus to all exposed skin (the mosquitoes will find any patches that you miss.)

  • Apply permethrin to clothes

  • Put a fan on your deck (mosquitoes are weak fliers)

  • Escape indoors if they get bad.