How to Control Mosquitoes

Last updated : 23 October 2014
How to Control Mosquitoes

Standing water provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can not only be a pest, but can be treacherous to your health with the diseases they can transmit to humans.

West Nile virus has been a threat to many homeowners, especially near wooded areas. There are steps you can take to protect your home, family, and guests from mosquitoes by keeping them at bay.

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Thankfully Mother Nature has some plants that can naturally help you control mosquitoes. If you are looking for help on how to control mosquitoes, you have come to the right place!

The first line of defense is prevention. Stop mosquitoes from making your yard an ideal place for breeding and thriving by controlling access to standing water.

If you are keeping a rain bucket, keep it covered after a rain fall. Mosquitoes love standing pools of water, and can even lay eggs in water a quarter of an inch deep!

Dump out any water that is standing, whether it’s collected in buckets, outdoor plant pots, or lawn ornaments. Clean your gutters and other areas of your home and yard of debris regularly, but especially after a heavy rain fall.

Make sure to maintain bird baths, swimming pools, or ponds.

There are chemicals available on the market that you can add to standing water elements in your yard that deter mosquitoes, but won’t harm wildlife or pets.

Consider using decorative rocks, mulch, wood chips, and other natural items to absorb and control water from standing in depressed areas of your yard after rain.

Don’t leave items in your yard or surrounding your home that can collect pools of fetid water. Tires, wheelbarrows, and other items can be neglected and collect water, making a perfect breeding ground for unwanted mosquitoes.

For those of you who are okay with chemicals, in addition to spraying yourself and family with repellent, there are chemical lawn treatments. You can install a misting system that will regularly deploy a layer of chemical mist over your lawn area to keep mosquitoes away.

You can contact a local pest control agent to regularly fog your lawn with insecticide, or install a misting system. Regular consistent chemical treatment is one way on how to control mosquitoes effectively.

When treating your yard, do not forget to address areas that are shady, under decks and porches, and to even treat low hanging branches and tree trunks.

There are a few natural ways you can deter mosquitoes. Opt for mosquito netting to cover outdoor seating areas. Utilize screens on your porch to enjoy the outdoor air and your garden scenery, but keep bugs out.

Choose citronella candles to light your outdoor barbeques, and keep mosquitoes from wanting to hang around with their scent.

There are citronella torches you can also stake around your property, which also give off light and repel mosquitoes from coming near. Bug zappers, albeit not the most attractive lawn addition, are fairly effective at getting rid of mosquitoes too.

Plants like marigold, catnip, rosemary, and citronella are natural mosquito deterrents. You can create a sanctuary for mosquito eating birds and bats, by creating homes and offering food that they like.

Some birds and bats eat mosquitoes and other pests as part of their diet. They act as natural mosquito repellants and add and attractive quality to your home’s garden and lawn area.

Prevention and using multiple forms of mosquito repellants is the best way on how to control mosquitoes. There is no excuse or reason to put you and your family’s health and happiness at risk. West Nile virus and other transmittable diseases are a real threat.

Infected mosquitoes can harm humans, family pets, and pass stuff on to local birds and mammals in your are. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you are bitten, and later experience labored breathing, headaches, feeling drowsy, or convulsions.

Check your home’s windows for loose or holey screens. Window screens should fit snug in your window’s frame to work effectively. Consider installing yellow lights that make mosquitoes not want to hang around your property.

Don’t leave items in your yard or surrounding your home that can collect pools of fetid water. Tires, wheelbarrows, and other items can be neglected and collect water, making a perfect breeding ground for unwanted mosquitoes. Fill in depressed areas that don’t drain water well after a heavy rain.

When having a barbeque or event in your lawn, wear long sleeves and pant legs if necessary. Avoid wearing darker colors as that attracts bugs.

Choose a natural or chemical agent to repel mosquitoes, and make sure to apply as needed throughout the time you are exposed to outside. Some chemical treatments can be applied to your clothing and last for several washes.

Do not fall for overly expensive devices that claim that emitting an electronic pulse or sound will keep mosquitoes away. These do not work. The best methods to keep mosquitoes away are a combination of chemical treatment, maintaining a debris-free yard, controlling water sources that can be used for breeding, and natural mosquito repelling plants.

Keep exposed skin at a minimum, look out for signs of mosquito-based disease symptoms in family members and pets.

Dryer sheets and Vick’s vapor rub are said to be mosquito repellants, but DEET based products have been shown to be the best repellant on the market. Lemon Joy and Listerine do not kill mosquitoes.

Citronella plants do repel mosquitoes at a low level, but what makes citronella effective is the oil. Do not rely solely on attracting bats and birds to your yard to eat mosquitoes, as they only make up a small percentage of their diet. Ultrasonic devices do not work and are genuinely ineffective at repelling mosquitoes.

Avoid exposing yourself during the early morning and evening hours, as this is when mosquitoes are the most active. Pesticides can be applied to areas where mosquitoes might breed, to kill eggs and larvae before they develop into adults.

Eat foods that may help repel mosquitoes from wanting to bite you, such as garlic. The best way to control mosquitoes is prevention, insecticides, and keeping window screens in good repair. Maintain a yard and home that does not make it attractive to these pests, and make enjoying outdoors the most important focus, not mosquitoes.


  1. says

    The past four years, I have used Dryer sheets (brand name not significant) to keep mosquitos at bay. My summer outfits usually have a fan-folded dryer sheet pinned to the hem of my shirt and another about knee high or near the ankles. When children come to visit, we paperclip one to the back of their shirts, where they are unseen and undisturbed, but effective! Sometimes, I forget and have worn them to the grocery, and even backyard parties. They usually produce smiles, and some laughter, which is fine with me. I rarely have mosquito bites,, and more people are smiling!
    For several summers, I have relied on plastic ziploc bags filled with water, with 5 shiny pennies to keep flies away. I thumbtack two or three to the deck railing and have few flies to disturb the picnic! I’ve been told their many eyes see the reflection as a wasp nest.
    Not sure when I began watching Mike’s videos, but they often make me smile, and I have learned a great deal about plants, which I also enjoy! Thanks, Mike, for sharing your story!
    My mantra has been, ‘Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you.’

      • sarah says

        i sent a reply but dont see the posting. Any shoot I said use pure turpentine on that bottom of the hill where the property stays wet. It may kill the grass, but should do the trick for the bugs as well

        My Dad said that before they had NIX and lice over the counter med’s. they would use that in the Platoons when the entire mix would catch lice etc.

        be careful any of you who may think about using it on your body parts. it will burn your skin up.

        If you feel the need that bad you could shower with it, but be very careful and wash off right away!!!!! It dose NOT need to sit for any amount of time.

        It you have pets and children and want to go light. USE Cedar Oil. This is a product used in Chicken coops an is used to repel, not kill bugs.

        Hope this helps, and I didn’t waste my time typing all this again.

  2. Theresa says

    Heard one time mosquitoes can’t fly in wind more than 3 mph. Is this true? If so putting a fan in your area might help?

  3. lola josey says

    You can buy lemongrass in most grocery stores. Just be sure it still has the roots, though it may grow if you make a fresh cut 1 to 2 inches from bottom and put in soil. I was surprised to learn you are not supposed to use rooting hormone on edibles, which I have unknowingly done in the past. One day I decided to read the full instructions insert and decided it is a good idea to do so in the future!

    • Valeria says

      I looked into that and the reason it’s not allowed on edibles is not because of danger to the individual but because of industrial use wasteage. If allowed to be used in large quantities and allowed to wash into natural water areas, it could harm natural balance, so it was easier to just discourage it’s use from large farm type operations that uses fields and restrict it to nursery type use where things will be in pots and runoff easier to control. So it’s kinda like a tomato being called a fruit for commerce purposes, not exactly the truth.

  4. Sheila Handley says

    L bottle and spray around wooden door frames – Listerine is brilliant for keeping insects away especially gnats. Put some in a spray bottle and spray around any wood in the house – brilliant!!

  5. says

    Thanks for this information. I have read several places that Lemon Grass planted in big pots and placed around outside decks, patios, etc. will repel mosquitoes. Would appreciate your take on this.

    • Valeria says

      I bought a huge citronella plant then learned that just having the plant around doesn’t deter mosquitoes, in fact in a study with the plant, mosquitoes actually landed on the plant itself, which makes sense since they are pollinators. Anyway, the plant leaf has to be damaged to release the oil which the mosquitoes don’t like the smell of. So just planting pots of the stuff won’t help unless you are brushing up against it enough to release oil or directly crushing the leaves.

      Also about the lemon scented Joy/ammonia remedy that you mentioned…. It was never claimed to “kill mosquitoes” it only claimed to repel them from the area for a while. That is a Jerry Baker old fashioned remedy and he specifically mentioned that, if you were going to have company, you should spray this in the area around where you’d be lounging and the lemon scent would deter the bugs for the evening since they don’t like lemon scent. just like lemon grass and citronella would. Now I think the logic of soap an ammonia was just added bonus since he recommended soap for adhesion and ammonia adds something to the plants and the soil, I can’t recall the exact details, but he often used soap and/or ammonia in his plant and soil remedies, but he did NOT have one that killed mosquitoes only repelled them.

      What I’d like to know is that if Bt attacks mosquitoes in standing water , then why couldn’t it be applied to a soggy lawn with a hose end spray to attack the mosquito larva that are happily thriving in the lawn and other natural wet spots? I have a property that was bad with mosquitoes before I moved in and there were no buckets of water around, but a very soggy bottom of the hill lawn is more than enough for them to breed, so what to do about that,hmm?

  6. says

    have been trying to copy some of your wonderful information, but lately am only getting pictures and very large print but no information.have had two people look at my computer[in case its just me]and feel its at your end .is that true, i dont know, thats why im asking. my memory isnt that great anymore so i copy to reread what i have apparently forgot. any suggestions on my problem. i hope to hear from you mary

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