6 Mistakes That Are Attracting Mosquitoes To Your Yard

Summertime often goes hand-in-hand with mosquito infestations. While technically important for the ecosystem as food sources for predators such as birds, amphibians, and spiders, having too many mosquitoes in your yard can be annoying and can disrupt some of your favorite outdoor activities. Even worse, these pesky flying insects also have the potential to spread diseases. Some of the most dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. More commonly, mosquito bites can cause irritation and allergic reactions.

Before you buy more commercial bug sprays and mosquito repellants, it may be worth looking around your yard to see if there are any objects that might be attracting these insects to your area. Sometimes, by remedying these mistakes, you could have fewer mosquitoes flying around your home and enjoy your yard again without worrying about bites and mosquito-borne illnesses. Here are a few reasons mosquitoes may be hanging around your home and yard.

Standing water is a prime place for mosquitoes to lay eggs

If there are any vessels filled with water in your yard, chances are that any nearby mosquitoes will call your property home. Stagnant water is the perfect place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Any source of stagnant water will help them achieve this goal, including unused birdbaths, children's toys, buckets, gutters, furniture, and any other place that can collect water. Once mosquito eggs hatch (usually in about a week), you will then have many more of these annoying insects inhabiting your yard spaces, which can then create a vicious cycle. 

To prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs around your yard and multiplying their numbers, it's important to regularly empty water from outdoor containers. This is especially important after a rainstorm, which can cause small spaces around your yard to collect water and quickly be taken over by egg-laying mosquitoes. Make sure you clean out the bird bath at least once a week and add new water. You can also install a device that stirs the water to deter mosquitoes from taking a chance and laying their eggs. 

Mosquitoes find a home in your tall grass and weeds

It's not just water that mosquitoes tend to hang around. If you have a lawn, chances are that mosquitoes will likely thrive in these spaces, too. These annoying insects also are not picky about the types of lawns they hang out in. They love a variety of lawns, and they particularly favor tall grasses and weeds. In other words, the more overgrown your lawn is, the more likely you'll have mosquitoes living in your grass. This can become an especially annoying problem when the temperatures are warm enough for your family and friends to partake in outdoor activities, only to be bitten by mosquitoes in your yard.

The best way to deter mosquitoes from setting up their homes in your lawn is to make sure it's maintained throughout the year. It's also important to keep your lawn cut short and regularly mow it during the cooler months (if your grass doesn't go dormant). You don't want to wait until mosquitoes have already turned into a problem in your yard before you attempt to cut the grass. While there are a lot of factors to consider when determining how often you should mow your lawn, once a week should usually suffice. On top of this, make sure you get rid of weeds in your garden to help deter mosquitoes from living among them. 

There's debris in your yard

It goes without saying that you shouldn't leave old tires and other items in your yard that don't belong there. Yet, even the most attentive homeowner can end up with unintentional debris in their yard. This includes seemingly harmless piles of logs or leaves as well as branches, sticks, and fruit that fall from nearby trees. Unfortunately, when left in your yard, these can become attractants for mosquitoes. Decaying organic matter creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes to congregate and breed. 

The best course of action is to clean up around your yard daily. Pick up any branches or fruits that have fallen from trees. If you're raking up leaves or trimming bushes, it's crucial to clean the resulting piles of debris as soon as you can, rather than keeping them in a pile for more than a day. This is among some of the common lawn care mistakes that can attract pests to your yard, including mosquitoes.

Leaving food outside attracts mosquitoes

Warmer temperatures often translate to more food outdoors in your yard. You may be grilling and having barbecues or picnics in the garden or around the pool, and you may even bring out bowls of food for your pets who long to spend more time with you outdoors. However, these items can also attract more mosquitoes to your yard, due to their keen sense of smell. A study from the journal Insects indicates that mosquitoes are particularly attracted to bananas. 

While you don't have to abandon al fresco dining entirely, you should try to ensure that food isn't kept outside for very long after your meal. This includes leftovers from a barbecue or picnic, as well as any beverages such as punches, sodas, and beer. Since it's also possible for pet food to attract insects, you can help deter infestations by cleaning your pet food bowls regularly. Better yet, it may be best to feed your furry friends indoors only, and if you have water bowls outside for them, be sure to bring these inside at the end of the day.

Open garbage cans attract mosquitoes

Some weeks, you may have more garbage than normal and find that the lid cannot fit over top of the can. Or, in some cases, you may not have a lid for your garbage can altogether. Both scenarios can be problematic because garbage can attract a number of pests. These can include mosquitoes as well as rodents. Additionally, open garbage cans may collect water and become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. 

The best solution to this mosquito-attracting mistake is to keep your garbage cans covered at all times. Aside from keeping lids shut, you can also drill small holes in the bottom of the cans to prevent rainwater from collecting inside and drawing mosquitoes to them. If you find that you're constantly running out of room in your trash can, consider buying a larger one or acquiring an additional bin from your town or garbage collector.

You have mosquito-attracting plants and flowers

If you have a green thumb, then you likely have a variety of plants around your yard. However, be aware that there are certain plants that mosquitoes tend to favor. In particular, mosquitoes like nectar-producing plants, such as lavender and other flowering plants as well as plants that hold water such as taro, hyacinths, and water lilies. 

You don't necessarily have to remove these types of plants in your yard if you're trying to prevent mosquitoes. You have a few options. First, you can consider planting more wind-pollinated plants, as these don't contain nectar like flowers do. But, you can also offset your garden with plants that repel mosquitoes. These include lavender, citronella, peppermint, basil, and many more. Also, keep in mind that mosquitoes may be attracted to larger plants to hide in, such as bushes. You can help cut down on these mosquito havens by making sure you prune these regularly.