How To Get Rid Of Mosquitoes In Your Yard, According To An Expert

With warm weather just around the corner, you can start to prepare for backyard barbeques, plenty of sunshine, and, unfortunately, the onslaught of pests. Nothing puts a damper on an enjoyable summer evening like having to spend the time swatting away bloodthirsty mosquitoes. However, these aggravating creatures actually benefit our greater ecosystem as their eggs provide food for fish and frogs, and, in their mature state, they are a source of sustenance for bats and birds. However, this doesn't mean you should suffer the itchy aftermath in silence just to please your backyard wildlife. Instead, there are plenty of ways to prepare your yard so that you can send those mosquitoes packing.

With so many bug deterrent sprays on the market and citronella candles galore, you may want to do more than simply mask your problem. Although planting mosquito-repellant plants such as sage, lavender, citronella grass, and peppermint may provide some protection in your yard, you may be searching for a more permanent solution to your buggy woes. For some advice from those in the know, we went right to the source. In an exclusive interview with House Blog, we asked Mosquito Squad entomologist Emma Grace Crumbley about the best ways to rid your yard of mosquitoes. Here are her suggestions.

The main culprit: Standing water

One of the main reasons why mosquitoes are keen to stay in your area could be right in your backyard. "The most important thing to prevent mosquitoes is to identify breeding grounds that they are attracted to," Crumbley says. "Damp, flooded areas in your yard, such as under your garden hose or planters that collect water serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, as do areas near faucets or waterspouts, leaking irrigation systems, and clogged gutters." Keeping these stagnant areas of water around the outside of your home will only continue the lifecycle of the mosquitoes. Instead, you need ways to disrupt and discourage the breeding process.

Thankfully, making your yard a less mosquito-friendly environment isn't hard. Just take a walk around the property, and you're sure to identify problem areas. "Identify items around your yard that hold standing water and get rid of it. Tip over anything that holds water, including children's sandboxes and toys, plant saucers, bird baths, and dog bowls," Crumbley says. A single mosquito can lay many eggs in only a small amount of standing water. However, the resulting mosquitoes quickly mature, so it is essential to eliminate their ideal breeding grounds to stop the problem before it starts.

The importance of proper maintenance

Maintaining your home can be the ideal way of keeping out pests. Just like blocking off spaces under your deck will prevent backyard critters such as squirrels, skunks, mice, and rabbits from crawling under your patio, there are ways to clean up your property so mosquitoes won't be enticed to stay in your backyard. "Take care of home maintenance needs that can contribute to standing water," Crumbley advises. "Ensure that you are regularly cleaning out gutters, make sure your downspouts are adequately attached, and keep your grass cut low." She also stresses that you should "remove excess grass clippings, leaves, firewood, and yard clippings."

A thorough inspection of your property might also reveal some not-so-obvious places that may unwittingly provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. "If you have tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats, or sports equipment, and they aren't taut – they might be holding water which will attract mosquitoes," Crumbley says. "Be sure to remove the standing water that has collected and readjust the tarps to make them taut."

When to call in the professionals

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for homeowners to face issues that demand professional intervention. Mosquitoes offer no exception. "If the infestation gets to the point where these basic remedies won't work, it's time to call a professional to get to the root of the problem and clear your home of these unwanted pests," Crumbley says. A professional will have the tools, tricks, and experience needed to accurately assess what strategy to implement in your particular case. 

"Using a mosquito elimination barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET bug spray on your body," Crumbley suggests. DEET is a chemical found in most common bug sprays meant to repel mosquitoes instead of killing them. Although the sprays are effective, some people may not appreciate constantly applying the spray or lotion to their exposed skin. Instead, treatments can be done around your home to prevent mosquitoes from bothering you. "Mosquito Squad's mosquito control barrier protection eliminates up to 85% to 90% of mosquitoes on a property," Crumbley says. This technique works for up to 21 days, giving you plenty of time to throw your mosquito-free garden party.