Mosquitoes have been plentiful and particularly pesty this summer. Here are some ways to keep mosquitoes at bay to enjoy the last days of summer without the use of chemicals.
Mosquitoes have been plentiful and particularly pesty this summer. Here are some ways to keep mosquitos at bay to enjoy the last days of summer without the use of chemicals.
Plants: Rosemary, marigolds, and catnip repel mosquitoes with aromas that most humans enjoy but mosquitoes dislike. Growing these plants near your outdoor gathering areas will deter mosquitoes. Since rosemary is not hardy enough to withstand very cold temperatures, plant it in pots and place it on your deck or patio in summer and bring into a sunny window for winter. Plant the annual marigold in your beds around outdoor seating areas. It is also a great plant to grow in your vegetable garden because it deters aphids and other plant-eating bugs. Catnip is an herb known for its effect on cats, but its oil has been shown to be more effective than DEET at deterring mosquitoes. Plant it along with your marigolds and you will have a lovely garden bed that will be nicely aromatic to the human nose but will smell horrible to mosquitoes.
Birds: Most backyard birds enjoy dining on mosquitoes and can catch them flying mid-air. Invite birds to your yard by providing areas for them to nest and find shelter. Bushes, tall shrubs, trees and birdhouses will all draw birds. A clean birdbath will also entice them. Swallows and the eastern kingbird are reputed to be the best mosquito eaters of the bird world.
Bats: Some people find bats creepy, but they are a blessing to all who want to enjoy summer nights! Bats have the advantage of keeping the same hours as mosquitoes. During dusk, just as mosquitoes seem to be at their worst, bats wake to feast on all flying insects. The best thing we can do for bats is to install a bat house to invite bats to roost in your yard. Bat houses look like birdhouses and can be mounted on poles or structures. Having a bat house gives these helpful animals a safe place to roost and will ensure they choose that structure rather than your covered porch or attic. Make sure to have a water source near your bat house, such as a birdbath.
Prevent Standing Water: Standing water is a breeding place for mosquitoes. If you have an ornamental pond, consider introducing the gambusia fish, a native species and a mosquito specialist. It will devour mosquito larvae. Outside water areas, such as rain barrels and birdbaths should be cleaned and skimmed regularly to remove any accumulating larvae.
— Brought to you by the Rye Garden Club Conservation Committee