Mega-Catch™ Mosquito Control Strategies for the Constant Gardener
How the Beat the Bite!
It’s summer and time to get out into the garden and deal to those pests that are attacking your prized plants and crops. But what about the pests that attack you? Yes, that’s right mosquitoes! Unfortunately along with summer comes the buzz AND bite of mosquitoes – and usually in large numbers. While male mosquitoes are actually sensitive vegetarians, living on nectar and plant juices; beware the female mosquito – she’s after your blood.
Female mosquitoes need the protein found in blood to develop their eggs, and they love to feed on warm blooded creatures, especially humans. Selecting their next meal is relatively easy for these bloodthirsty biters who use receptors to spot movement, and can detect the smell of CO2 in a person’s breath from as far away as 50 meters. Activities like gardening that make us sweat and breathe more heavily also make us prime targets.
Repel the Invaders – Spray it On!
Savvy gardeners have been planting geraniums in their gardens and window boxes for centuries, using the natural properties of the flowers to repel bugs. Data now exists that proves the use of geraniums is more than a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Geraniol, a powerful ingredient extracted from geranium oil through a unique refining process, does indeed provide a natural – and extremely effective – insect repellent.
According to laboratory and field studies by the University of Florida in Gainesville, Geraniol has been proven effective in repelling a wide variety of insects, including mosquitoes, house flies, stable flies, horn flies, cockroaches, fire ants, fleas, gnats, dog ticks, lone star ticks, and no-see-ums. A range of products including sprays, wristbands and wipes is now available and sold under the BugBand brand.
Citronella is another well-known natural mosquito repellent and in addition to lotions and sprays, the oils from the plant are extracted and used to make candles. Unlike a number of mosquito devices which are placed around the perimeter of a yard to attract and kill mosquitoes, candles keep them away from you. Place candles surrounding the area you want to protect; on your patio, balcony or deck….just make sure to put the citronella candle upwind of you. And a simple rule of thumb – if you can smell the candle it’s doing its job, if you can’t, light another. One of the newest mosquito repelling candles on the market from Bite-Lite™ contains citronella together with the pleasant aroma of lemongrass and spearmint.
Foggers and Sprays
Yard foggers and sprays are another way to rid your yard of mosquitoes; however the use of insecticides in agriculture has often been implicated as contributing to resistance in mosquito populations (CDC) Plus they only create a temporary fix and typically they’re not mosquito-specific; killing everything including bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
In fact a lot of our summer bugs are actually good for the garden, because they form part of the food chain. For instance many are pollinators, and pollinate our flowers and crops. So if you do spray insecticides, you may end up killing a lot of the beneficial bugs you actually want (and need) out there.
Spraying garlic to keep insects away is not something new; farmers have been doing it for generations. Mosquito Barrier is a strong liquid garlic spray made from very potent or ‘super garlic’ cloves. Since mosquitoes are soft-bodied insects, the garlic juice can be very toxic to them in increased concentrations. However the juice is not harmful to humans, pets or plants – but to mosquitoes it can be deadly.
Attract and Kill
Mosquito traps are quickly becoming a gardener’s best friend. It’s possible to trap literally thousands of mosquitoes in these mosquito machines without harming the environment, your children, or your pets. Mega-Catch™ make some of best mosquito traps on the market, they’re eco-friendly and don’t require the use of harmful chemicals, fogs or sprays to kill mosquitoes. They work by mimicking the smell and characteristics of prey, fooling mosquitoes into sensing a blood meal close at hand. When mosquitoes get near, a powerful fan sweeps them into the trap’s catch container where they die. These remarkable traps are an affordable and effective solution for getting rid of mosquitoes on a large scale, for a long period of time. Because one thing that makes a pest a pest is that they’re really good at re-invading an area; so to get rid of mosquitoes you need to think long term solutions.
Another way to control mosquitoes is to stop them in the larval stage. Mosquito dunks have proven their worth in eliminating mosquitoes by killing mosquito larvae before they can mature into biting adults. Float a dunk in the water garden, pond or rain barrel, and every other place water accumulates around your home.
Choose a mosquito dunk that contains natural Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (B.t.i.). This is a bacterium toxic to mosquito and black and psychodid fly larvae but completely non-toxic and safe for pets and family.
Don’t Be a Blood Bank
Mosquitoes have well documented color preferences, so gardening gear should comprise of light colors as opposed to dark. And cover up as much skin as possible; wear long sleeves and pants, shoes and socks instead of sandals and wear a hat to keep mosquito bites off the warm, top part of your head.
Combining these tips with other sensible mosquito control strategies around your home, plus a mosquito trap or two should make for a family-friendly backyard and provide the best overall protection for the constant gardener amongst you.