It goes without saying that mosquitoes suck. Not only are they annoying, but they can carry diseases that pose health risks. Unfortunately, due to climate change, mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses are likely to become a more serious problem. But there are plenty of practical ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes whenever you’re hiking or near bodies of water.
Mosquito repellents that contain DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus can protect your skin when directly applied to the body. These solutions are great for hiking and camping, but they can be kind of annoying when you’re just hanging out in your backyard. Whether you’re just lounging and reading on a warm summer evening or you’re gathering a few friends together for a cookout, you might want a way of keeping mosquitoes out of your yard. After all, while the pungent odor of DEET keeps mosquitoes away, it might also keep people away, too. That’s why we’ve taken a look at some of the best ways to keep mosquitoes out of your yard.
Unsurprisingly, some methods are more effective than others, and some popular solutions that might seem like they should be effective don’t actually work all that well (or at all). One common approach is to use a spray for your yard. That can work, but according to the National Wildlife Federation, sprays can have a damaging effect on bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Another common solution is to use citronella candles. Studies have shown that these candles don’t really work. That’s why we’ve taken a look at some DIY solutions and gear you can buy to protect you from mosquitoes when you’re in your yard in a way that will minimize the environmental impact.
Thermacell’s mosquito repellers are designed to create a zone of protection that helps keep mosquitoes away from you. These repellers use a fuel source and an allethrin or metofluthrin repellent-coated mat to propel the repellent into the area around you. This essentially creates a dome to keep mosquitoes away. Thermacell’s mosquito repellers are also odor-free, and they’re less messy than yard sprays or skin sprays. It’s recommended that you place these out 15 to 20 minutes in advance. Thermacell’s repellers are affordable, too. The upfront costs are low, although you will need to replace the repellent mats and the fuel cartridges, depending on the model used.
There are some drawbacks. Thermacell’s repeller uses the same chemicals as sprays, so there may be some risk posed to insects and wildlife. However, since it’s not a spray, you don’t have to saturate a wide area of your yard with pesticides. Instead, you can simply use it when you’re in the yard and turn it off when you’re not. This will ideally reduce the damage to other wildlife. There are other limitations to be aware of, which you should check out on their FAQ page.
1. Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
This option from Thermacell is designed as an option for your patio or backyard area. It’s about the size of a portable Bluetooth speaker, so it won’t be an obstruction when in use. The Thermacell Patio Repeller also comes in a range of different colors.
Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
2. E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
BEST FOR CAMPING
Unlike other Thermacell repellers, this option uses a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery, rather than a disposable fuel cartridge. This can help reduce inconvenience and the cost of replacing the cartridges. It creates up to 20 feet of protection. It’s less than 5″ tall and has a weight of 12 oz, so it’s easy to take camping.
Thermacell Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
3. Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern LED Light
This multifunctional option is both a lantern and a mosquito repellent. It includes three repellent mats and a fuel cartridge. It has a classic lantern design that’ll be great on a patio table or a camping trip.
Thermacell Patio Shield Lantern
Summit Mosquito Control
One way to control mosquitoes is to control moisture sources; removing standing water eliminates the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Since a female mosquito can lay 50-500 larvae in her first brood, killing larvae can go a long way. Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as BTI, is one way of killing larvae in the water. According to the EPA, BTI is effective for mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats, but does not negatively affect other wildlife like bees (or humans, for that matter). Summit makes two popular products called Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits. Both of these products use BTI to kill mosquito larvae.
1. Mosquito Dunks 102-12 Mosquito Killer
Mosquito dunks are incredibly easy to use. Simply take the disc, which is the shape and approximate size of a lifesaver candy, and drop it into a standing body of water. You can also anchor them with a string tied through the loop. Or, you can break them apart for use in smaller water sources. They’re designed to work for 30 days, making it easy to remember to replace the discs. Plus, Mosquito Dunks are listed as being safe for fish habitats and animal watering troughs.
Summit Mosquito Dunks
2. Mosquito Bits
An alternative to Mosquito Dunks is Mosquito Bits. They’re both made by Summit and feature the same ingredient, so there shouldn’t be a difference in performance; the difference is simply convenience. Rather than being a solid puck, Mosquito Bits are small granules, so you can decide how much to use depending on the size of the water source.
DIY and Preventative Solutions
Standing water attracts mosquitoes, so a good way to deal with mosquitoes is to rid your yard of standing water. Sources like buckets or birdbaths can be easily cleaned, but some sources of standing water can be trickier to deal with. If your lawn regularly has water pooled on top, you may want to take some steps to improve drainage and protect your yard. Other solutions like using a fan can be surprisingly effective.
1. AMES Adjustable Self-Cleaning Thatch Rake
For the health of your lawn, it’s a good idea to dethatch. Thatch is a mix of living and dead organic matter that can accumulate between the grass and the soil. Thick thatch can prevent water from being absorbed, which can not only damage the growth of your lawn but can also attract mosquitoes and other nasty creatures. This rake from trusted tool brand AMES is a good option for dethatching your lawn.
Ames Self-Cleaning Thatch Rake
2. Honeywell Table Air Circulator Fan
MOST SURPRISING SOLUTION
Believe it or not, mosquitoes are actually not very skilled at flying. Research suggests that something as simple as a fan can actually effectively keep mosquitoes away from you. If you’re trying to enjoy some time in your yard, a fan can not only keep you cool on a hot summer day, but it can also potentially keep mosquitoes away. This fan from Honeywell is small, inexpensive, quiet and durable. It has three-speed settings and is easy to adjust and store.