Mosquitoes are a part of spring, summer and fall but that doesn’t mean you have to resort to staying inside. For many years now, we have been experimenting with various ways to control the mosquito populations on our 1-acre property. Some years were more successful than others.

Reduce Habitat, including standing water, tall and dense weeds

The #1 differentiator is the amount of habitat we provide for mosquitoes. Any kind of standing water, or even moist areas, becomes a breeding ground. One year, the gutter on our chicken coop became a bit clogged with leaves and the mosquitos were loving it as it stayed just moist enough in there. Once, we realized where they were coming from, it was easy to eliminate. Another culprit was Japanese stilt grass. We used to have so much of it and it created a dense area, once again perfect for breeding. When we finally removed (almost) all the stilt grass, the mosquitoes disappeared as well.

Be proactive and interrupt the life cycle

For our rain barrels, we use mosquito dunks, which contain a bacteria that kills the mosquitos at the larval stage but doesn’t harm any other insects or mammals.

These two methods alone, eliminating standing water and using mosquito dunks, have drastically reduced the number of mosquitos. But we knew that it probably wouldn’t be too hard for them to find another moist area that we overlooked and it was time to be pro-active. After a bit of research, I learned about mosquito buckets. At first it almost seemed too simple: a bucket, some straw, water and a mosquito dunk. But it worked like a charm. The wet straw created the perfect environment for the mosquitos and they no longer needed to search for another hidden away breeding area.

What about mosquito sprays?

While more and more people are discovering the magical powers of mosquito buckets, the mosquito control companies are touting the ease, safety and effectiveness of their spray services. And I understand how that is very appealing, especially if you are someone that gets eaten alive or the number of mosquitos make it impossible for your children to play outside. However, the reality is that the sprays are not as safe and effective as they seem.

Learn more and try it out

I put together a page that highlights the downsides of mosquito sprays (e.g. they also kill honeybees and other insects that birds feed to their young) as well as how to easily set up a mosquito bucket on your property. You can download the page here and feel free to share it with friends and neighbors. The more people in your neighborhood use this method, the more effective it becomes.

And when the occasional mosquito does find you, you can apply some plantain salve and the itch will quickly disappear.