Mosquitoes are an unfortunate fact of life, especially in Florida. They can quickly turn your backyard landscape oasis into a nightmare you’d rather forget.
Like many insects, mosquitoes are prolific breeders. A female mosquito needs a blood meal to lay eggs which is why they’re persistently looking to feed from you. A mosquito can lay anywhere from 50-300 eggs at once depending on species and the time of year – that’s a lot more mosquito bites coming your way!
It may not be possible to get rid of mosquitoes completely, but by making some changes to your property you can make your home and backyard much less inviting for these pests. Some smart Gainesville landscaping changes around your house can change your yard from a haven for mosquitoes to a place that offers them nothing beneficial and they’ll go terrorize someone else. Here are some things you need to do to prevent as many mosquitoes as possible from setting up camp around your home.
Unlike some pests, there’s a lot of landscaping changes you can make to minimize the mosquitoes you see. By understanding mosquito biology (where they prefer to live and lay eggs), we can make a big impact quickly.
#1 Eliminate Standing Water
Mosquitoes require calm water because it gives them a place to lay their eggs. Without standing water to live in, the mosquito larvae can't survive. This is the most important weakness of mosquito biology to exploit in your landscape plan. Getting rid of sources of standing water will have the greatest impact in reducing the local mosquito population. Here’s a few of the most common sources of standing water around your home that mosquitoes love -
- Backed up gutters. Keeping your gutters clean and clear of debris makes sure the water flows through them and drains away, rather than collecting and providing mosquitoes with a place to lay their eggs. Let us know if we can help with this.
- Ensure good Gainesville drainage. Eliminate wet spots in your yard that are prone to flooding or where stagnant water collects. You can eliminate these areas through the use of gravel, stone pavers, or more advanced landscape solutions like adjusting the pitch of your yard or installing a French drain.
- Clean up the clutter. Make sure to remove anything that can collect water such as buckets, tires, uncovered garbage cans, etc. Place covers on outdoor rain barrels so that mosquitoes can't get inside. Regularly empty drip trays from planters and make sure your planters aren't collecting too much water.
- Treat your outdoor water. It's not always possible to entirely eliminate all the water sources in your yard. For instance, if you have a pond or fountain, you may want to keep it. Luckily, there are some good solutions. You can install a water circulator to move water around enough that it won’t be a breeding site. You can also use a product called “mosquito dunks”. These contain Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, also known as Bti. These bacteria, though harmless to people and wildlife, kill mosquito larvae before they can hatch into adults.
#2 Use Scents to Repel Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes track us primarily through the smell of the CO2 we exhale with every breath. By using competing scents, it’s possible to repel mosquitoes.
Lavender, citrosa, basil, and geraniums are fragrant plants that some people swear by as deterring mosquitoes from hanging around. However, you should be aware that the science on this is not settled. While some gardeners swear by them, these plants have not been found in a lab to provide a repellent effect. Still, thanks to the pleasant smell they make for humans, they're not a bad thing to have in your Gainesville yard anyway.
Citronella oil on the other hand is studied and known to have a repellent effect on mosquitoes. This oil comes from lemongrass, and it produces a smell mosquitoes don't like. Burning citronella candles or tiki torches in your backyard can help to keep bugs away.
It’s also possible to use an active mosquito trap such as the Mosquito Magnet. The Mosquito Magnet burns propane which emits CO2 and traps mosquitoes that come nearby suctioning them into a net which they can’t escape from. A device like this may be a bit overkill for a small yard, but it’s one of the few ways to effectively control adult mosquitoes.
#3 Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Space
There are a few smart changes you can make to your outdoor living space to significantly reduce your chances of being bit. The first – a screened-in porch. If you're not ready to stop using your yard during high mosquito activity, consider a screened-in living area. Screening off your porch lets you take the fresh air and experience the outdoors while keeping mosquitoes at bay.
Another small change that can make a big impact is installing some outdoor fans. Mosquitoes are weak flyers. Their delicate bodies are easily blown around, so they tend not to fly in strong winds. Installing a ceiling fan or just running some larger fans in your backyard can prevent mosquitoes from getting near you.
#4 Start a Mosquito Perimeter Pest Treatment
When applied by a knowledgeable technician, a mosquito control can be provided that will keep your lawn safe from mosquitoes. Although The Master's offers Gainesville Perimeter Home Pest Control programs, we do not offer mosquito control services at the time of this blog post. A Mosquito pesticide treatment can help to greatly reduce the mosquitoes living directly around your house. Because of their high humidity requirement, mosquitoes like damp and shady areas to shelter in. Regularly treating these areas with an appropriately labeled pesticide can kill mosquitoes and make it impossible for them to breed.
A pesticide with a long-lasting residual effect that will continue to kill mosquitoes for weeks even after the chemical has dried. Multiple applications will probably be required throughout the summer season.
Areas such as trellises, shaded walls, the underside of bushes and trees, crawlspaces, sheds, underneath swimming pools, and anywhere else that doesn't get a lot of sun should be treated regularly. These are the areas where mosquitoes like to rest during the day when it’s hottest, so treating them with a pesticide will greatly reduce the number of bugs on your property.
You may not be able to rid the world of mosquitoes, but there’s a lot a quality Gainesville landscaping company can do to reduce the population on your property. With the right landscaping, you can have less bug bites and more peace of mind. Call us today at (352) 378-5296 if we can help you with your drainage, pest control, gutters, or landscaping in any way!