Tips for eliminating backyard pests
(Family Features) As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes can prevent homeowners from reaping the benefits of living life outside.
According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of TruGreen, 85 percent of Americans say that mosquitoes limit their family’s outdoor activities during the months they’re most active. The same survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about protecting themselves and their family from Zika or other mosquito-borne illnesses.
A majority of respondents reported using bug spray on themselves and their family members to combat mosquitoes outdoors at home. Although it’s the leading preventative measure, still only half say it is most effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting.
Depending on where you live, the mosquito biting season lasts 5-7 months. If spray isn’t adequate to combat the mosquitoes at your home, it may be necessary to take additional measures.
These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the pest control experts at TruGreen can help combat mosquitoes outside of the home:
Remove standing water. Mosquitoes generally lay eggs near water, so once a week take time to dump anything that may hold water in the yard. This includes buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Don’t overlook items like toys, planters and flowerpot saucers. For containers intended to hold water, like cisterns or rain barrels, regularly check that the lid is secure so mosquitoes can’t gain access. A finely woven mesh is a good alternative if there is no lid. If you can’t cover the container and won’t be drinking from it, use a larvicide to treat the water.
Be wary of unexpected reservoirs. Natural features such as shrubbery and tree stumps can also collect water, and they may be more difficult to remedy. Keep dense shrubs thinned and pruned. Increasing the air flow can make these areas less attractive. If removing a tree stump is impractical, a professional can guide you in proper treatment.
Apply a broad-application pest eliminator. Use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest all over the yard. A professionally applied treatment such as TruGreen Mosquito Defense targets pests where they live, and the company’s professionally trained specialists use an innovative mosquito control formula to treat all areas of the yard where mosquitoes hide, including trees, shrubs, mulched areas and all types of ground cover.
“Mosquitoes are a nuisance for many of our customers, inhibiting the time they can spend enjoying outdoor activities,” said John Bell, board certified entomologist and TruGreen regional technical manager. “Most people protect against mosquitoes by using a repellant or citronella candles, but these methods do not target the places mosquitoes hide including low-hanging limbs, ornamental foliage, potted plants and ground cover. The TruGreen Mosquito Defense treatment program targets these places, eradicating the mosquito population in homeowners’ yards and allowing people to spend more time living life outside.”
Make regular rounds to spot trouble. Humans are creatures of habit, and that can mean certain areas of the yard receive much less traffic than other spots. Take time each week to tour the entire yard and keep an eye out for potential pest problems, including standing water in containers or low spots in the ground.
Mosquitoes’ favorite Habitats
Because mosquitoes typically lay their eggs near water, places in the yard where water can pool up are often desired breeding grounds. These areas of stagnating water allow the mosquitoes a favorite spot, but there are some other areas around the house to be wary of as potential habitats:
- Ornamental foliage. Keeping foliage like bushes and brush trimmed properly can help them maintain shape while also exposing them to more sunlight, helping to keep them dry.
- Low-hanging limbs. Trim limbs to a proper height so that they aren’t so close to the ground, which is more welcoming for mosquitoes.
- Ground covers. Certain plants, especially those with wide leaves, can sometimes hold water either on the leaf itself or in the axil, which is where the leaf meets the stem.
- Wood piles. Consider covering your wood pile tightly with a tarp to help block mosquitoes and other pests from invading.
- Mulched areas. Frequently disturbing mulch with a rake or other garden tool, especially when it’s wet after a rain, can deter mosquitoes from moving in by helping to dry out the underlying mulch.
- Hanging and potted plants. Just like other objects that can hold standing water, be sure to empty saucers underneath plants that could provide a water source.
For more year-round lawn care tips, visit TruGreen.com/mosquito.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family dining outdoors)
Illustration courtesy of Getty Images (infographic)