Natural Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitos and Other Summer Pests
July 21st, 2022
Summer is the best time to kick back and enjoy the outdoors. Soaking up the sun, grilling with friends, and fresh summer fruits evoke feelings of relaxation.
One of the other signs of summer is the annoying buzz of insects. Mosquitos, gnats, and other backyard pests can make a relaxing day miserable. Unfortunately, the common ways to combat these unwanted guests often consist of sprays, zappers, or chemical repellents.
If you're looking for a few natural ways to beat back the summer invaders, you're in the right place.
Attract Natural Predators
Mosquitos, gnats, and other small insects have a lot of natural predators. Luring some of the more non-invasive predators to your yard is an excellent way to discourage insects from stopping by.
Hummingbirds eat thousands of insects daily, and mosquitos are one of their favorite snacks. Similarly, dragonflies love small insects, including mosquitos, gnats, and termites. Luckily, attracting these predators to your yard is pretty easy.
A bee-proof hummingbird feeder or pollinator-friendly plants are easy to add and maintain. You can place them on or near your backyard seating area to make the space more comfortable to enjoy. In addition to flowering plants, you can place a few flat rocks in the sun to attract dragonflies.
Insect Repelling Plants
Cultivating the perfect garden is another way to repel insects naturally. If you head to your local garden store, you'll have your pick of plants that keep the pests away.
The most common natural repellents are:
Each of these plants provides an attractive way to rid your patio of certain insects. Even better, lavender and basil flowers will attract hummingbirds. Typically it's best to wait until the end of the season to let your basil go to seed. However, if you're not concerned about extending your basil's life, you can let the flowers bloom early.
Remove Any Standing Water
Standing water provides the perfect breeding grid for mosquitoes. Some species barely need more than a bottle cap full of water to thrive. So, check your property regularly for areas of standing water. This includes tables or chairs that might collect water, as well as children's toys or any trash that lands in your yard.
Also, avoid any fixtures that collect standing water. Birdbaths might attract pretty birds to watch, but they can be home to a bed of mosquito eggs if they don't see much action. Instead, consider switching to a fountain where the water is constantly recirculating.
Citronella is a lovely-smelling plant that keeps insects away. But the candles also allow you to avoid the commitment of caring for a plant. You can use clean-burning citronella candles if you can't find a plant or don't have space for it.
To avoid soot or any harmful byproducts of burning, choose soy candles made with citronella oil. The all-natural ingredients will provide a citrusy scent without the chemicals, petroleum, or soot. Place them around your patio or deck away from anything flammable, then light them as needed. If you're crafty, you can even make your candles.
Homemade Insect Spray
Bug sprays are often filled with chemicals you don't want on your skin or in your lungs. Even worse, you don't want them all over your plants. Fortunately, there's an easy and natural alternative to DEET and other chemical sprays.
Take a look at the list of essential oils listed above. Choose one or a combination of a few and add to water. Then, you'll have your natural bug spray. You may need to test out a few before finding one that works. Your best options are lemon, eucalyptus, or lavender.
Depending on your location and yard style, you could consider adding mosquito netting to your common areas. You can hang it from a pergola or awning if you have one. Or, if you don't have a proper seating area, purchase a pop-up awning with netting attached.
Also, if you have a sliding door, consider a magnetic screen instead of a sliding one. Magnetic screens snap shut behind you to minimize how long your door is open. This will help dramatically decrease the number of bugs inside your home.
Bug-Proof Your Yard
Finally, take some time to bug-proof your yard. Insects are drawn to certain places for a variety of reasons. Walk your property regularly and remove any dead animals, food, or trash that could attract insects. You’ll want to take a stroll every couple of days, but keeping your yard free of debris will go a long way in avoiding biting or stinging bugs.
Also, avoid killing spiders. It might be tempting to knock down those webs on your deck, especially if you’re not a fan of eight-legged critters. But spiders are one of the most efficient predators of small insects. If the spiders aren’t poisonous and the webs aren’t in an area that’ll directly impact your living space, consider leaving them be.
There's nothing worse than biting and stinging insects invading your backyard space. Chemical sprays bring an unpleasant smell and are bad for your skin and plants. Give any of the natural methods listed here a try in your yard today. You'll be shocked just how well they work compared with the old standard spray.