Now that the temperatures are warming up, the mosquitoes are coming out of hiding. We want to help you beat the itching and scratching before it takes over your entire spring and summer! These DIY remedies are a great place to start.
7 DIY Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away
1. Add Fish or Barley to Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes
Removing standing water is one of the best ways to eliminate mosquitoes, but if you have intentional water features like ponds or fountains in your backyard, this isn’t always possible. Thankfully, there are two tricks to keep bugs from breeding in standing water: a bundle of barley and mosquito fish. The barley (normally kept in what’s called a barley ball) prevents algae from growing in your pond without harming any other plants or critters. Mosquito larvae feed on algae, so the barley ball makes it difficult for the larvae to survive. Mosquito fish, or Gambusia, feed on mosquito larvae, as their name suggests.
2. Try the Dish Soap Trick
You may have heard that using dish soap is a great way to get rid of fruit flies, and it can also work for mosquitoes. The key here is the use of soap – add a few drops of it to water, soda, or juice in an open container of choice. Place the container in an area of the house where you don’t spend much time, and then wait for the soap to do its thing! A prettier and more entertaining option is using a bubble machine (sans soda or juice) to distribute the soap. It’s much quieter and more moth-friendly than a traditional bug zapper.
3. Use Repellent on Yourself
You may have a knee-jerk reaction against the word “repellent” because of commercial products that contain DEET, but there are plenty of safe, DEET-free repellent formulas you can try instead. You can even make them at home! There are hundreds of recipe variations, but most contain a base of castor or coconut oil and a blend of mosquito-repelling essential oils, such as: witch hazel, cinnamon, eucalyptus, citronella, clove, cedar-wood, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, rose geranium, cajeput, thyme, and even catnip. Here’s a homemade bug repellent recipe to get you started, but you should try different combinations of essential oils to see what works best for you. Also consider using a soy-based repellent, which has been shown to be as effective as DEET.
4. Use Repellent on Your Animals
If mosquitoes are buzzing around your pets or livestock, it’s only a matter of time before they get you! You can make natural repellent for animals using essential oils, but you’re going to need larger quantities, especially if you’re treating large animals like horses or cattle. It may be easier to pick up a small, pre-mixed bottle of oils (like TerraShield), which you can then mix with dish soap and water to mist on your animals. Often, the oil can be applied more directly to pets like dogs. Before you apply anything, do your research and be careful in choosing oils, because some are toxic to animals!
5. Make Anti-Mosquito Candles
If you’re not a fan of smelling that stereotypical (albeit nostalgic) citronella-torch aroma all summer long, making an essential oil candle is a great alternative. These type of candles are great for setting a festive, intimate, or even formal ambience for an outdoor event. Candles are also great for placing in open windows to keep the bugs at bay. Use a beeswax base, a blend of essential oils, metal dessert cups (for small candles), and tea-light wicks.
6. Screen Your Doors
Keeping your windows and doors closed all the time can get stuffy, to say the least. However, letting the fresh air into your home can mean letting in swarms of mosquitoes! It doesn’t have to be that way if you have screens over your windows and doors. Window screens are already fairly common, but screen doors are a lot harder to come by – and to keep shut. Try hanging sheets of screen in your doorways like you would hang curtains (tension rod and all). Be sure the edges are secured to the door frame, and utilize magnets for an automatic close.
7. Become a Fan of the Fly Trap
No, not the messy, unsightly, sticky kind of fly trap! There’s a new version that works just as well – although the end result can be considered a bit gross. Invented by Dan Rojas in Louisiana, this fly trap is a mesh screen attached to a box fan with magnets. Once the fan is turned on, it will suck in mosquitoes, trapping them in the mesh. Then, you can easily mist them with pesticide and kill tons in one go. Using regular fans when you are outside can also make a big difference. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so having a big fan pointed at you and your family will prevent them from invading your airspace.
If your mosquito problem is too big to be solved with DIY remedies, contact DC Mosquito Squad and we’ll help you take care of the biting pests once and for all!