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We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but Houston – with all of its heat and humidity – is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. But that doesn’t mean that you have to accept defeat and abandon your backyard BBQ dreams. You don’t have to be a prisoner trapped inside your own home anymore!
Here are some ways that you can take back your yard from these blood thirsty pests:
Regularly Check & Eliminate Standing Water in Your Yard
Mosquitoes breed extremely quickly, and a very small amount of water (Think bottlecap!) is all that they need to lay their eggs.
- Take a stroll around your yard, checking regularly for any amount of stagnant water.
- Empty saucers under planters, check gutters and downspouts, and empty outside toys, buckets, tires, trash bins, kiddie pools, or outdoor décor items that could collect water.
- Take care when watering your lawn and gardens not to oversaturate the ground and create puddles of standing water in low lying areas. These can quickly become mosquito breeding grounds.
- If your yard has a birdbath or pond, consider adding a small pump to keep the surface of the water constantly moving – mosquitoes won’t lay eggs in running water.
Add Mosquito Treatment to Your Existing Pest Control Service
Call a professional to check for hidden breeding areas in and around your home, such as crawl spaces or roof eaves and overhangs, and have them evaluate your yard and surrounding areas. A certified mosquito expert can develop a customized, highly-effective treatment and prevention plan to address your specific needs. Solutions range from installing a daily misting system, one-time or monthly treatment plans, to mosquito traps that are rated safe for pets and children.
Check Your Screens, Windows & Doors for Tears, Holes
Check the screens on your windows and doors to make sure that they are properly in place and do not have any rips or holes where mosquitoes could sneak into your home. Repair as needed. Examine the seals around your doors and windows and caulk if needed to close any gaps. Be sure to close doors securely behind you when entering / exiting your home. The only thing worse than having mosquitoes OUTSIDE your home – is having them INSIDE your home.
Citronella Can Help in Certain Close Proximity Situations
It’s true – mosquitoes don’t like citronella. They are repelled by its odor. However, both citronella candles and citronella plants have their limitations – especially in large, open spaces. In order for citronella candles to be effective, you must be sitting very close to the smoky candles in order to have any protection. In order for a citronella plant to release its scent into the air, the leaves of the plant must be rustled around or torn. While both forms of citronella are somewhat helpful for certain situations, neither is an effective, long-term solution for mosquito infestations on its own.
Apply & Re-Apply Mosquito Repellants
Are you comfortable with spraying mosquito repellant on yourself and your family? If so, a variety of lotions and spray containing DEET or Picaridin are available at stores that provide good protection. Be sure to reapply as directed or the spray will fade and you will then become more susceptible to bites.
For those looking for a more natural alternative, the oil of lemon eucalyptus has been proven to provide results similar to the protection of a repellant containing a low concentration of DEET. Other natural remedies and repellants derived from citronella, geranium, basil, garlic and peppermint generally provide much more limited protection against mosquitoes and require frequent reapplication to remain effective.
Cover Your Arms, Legs, Feet to Avoid Being Eaten Alive
Mosquitoes are drawn to dark colored clothing, so white and light colors are smarter choices for outdoor activities. Cover up if you can with long sleeves and long pants for added protection. Because mosquitoes are drawn to heat and sweat, be sure to protect your toes and feet with closed shoes instead of sandals.
The sad truth is that there is no way to stay 100% mosquito-free in Houston. Our warmer and more humid climate makes for a longer mosquito season than many other, colder parts of the country. The odds of staying bite-free all year simply isn’t in your favor. But following these steps can help you prevent a mosquito infestation in your own yard and allow you to make the most of your outdoor space this summer. So, go ahead, plan your next backyard BBQ!
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