Getting bitten by mosquitoes can quickly spoil your outdoor summer fun. Getting outside to enjoy a barbecue, tackle a summer project or simply take it easy is one of the great joys of this season. But, mosquitoes are looking forward to your presence and can go beyond bugging you to spreading dangerous diseases. However, if you know a bit about them, avoiding mosquitoes is not that difficult.
Mosquitoes need only two things to breed: standing water and time (as little as a few days). Most people think of mosquitoes as breeding in large, wet areas like swamps. But, if you're not careful managing much smaller bodies of water, infestations just as big can gather in your backyard. Here are a few ways to discourage their presence:
- Clean Gutters: Gutters clogged with debris allow stagnant water to form perfect landing zones for mosquito eggs. Avoiding mosquitoes requires you to clean your gutters at least four times a year or install leaf guards to keep gutters dry.
- Collect Containers: Survey your yard for anything that holds water. Look for empty flowerpots, buckets, jars, wheelbarrows and old tires. Drill holes in the bottom of trashcans and recycling buckets to allow them to drain. Check kids' stuff, like wading pools and sandboxes, and make sure any items covered by plastic tarps aren't becoming water-catchers. Also, make a point of regularly draining air conditioner drip pans and flush bird baths with clean water at least once a week.
- Prevent Puddles: Water puddles that last for even a few days can allow mosquitoes to hatch. Fill low areas in your yard where water tends to collect. Use clean fill dirt to build up these areas and then cover with topsoil and a layer of grass seed, sod or mulch.
Perhaps the simplest way to avoid mosquitoes is to stay inside at dusk and dawn. Those are the times when females have a biological drive to seek a host from whom to get blood to fertilize their eggs. By staying inside for the dawn and dusk hours, you'll be staying off the mosquitoes' menu.