I don’t know about you all, but the last week or so has been very “buggy” for me, compared to most of this year’s growing season. I’m sure it is due to all the rain creating standing water combined with recent increase in temperatures. To an extent, getting bit by mosquitoes is part of gardening. I seldom notice being bit anymore only later to realize I have acquired more itchy bites.
Mosquitos are most active when the sun is not baring down on us in full force, which makes overcast days, shady spots, and dusky/twilight periods their prime time to feed on us. This is unfortunately, because during the heat of the summer, these times are more comfortable for working outside.
Though covering oneself with DEET is effective, there are some other tactics that can be used to limit the nuisance of these pests.
Mosquitos can travel from miles away, but its important to try and manage standing water nearby. Most of us live in river bottoms, so there is little we can do to prevent water from collecting around us. However, every little bit helps, so here are some tips from the University of Kentucky to minimize breeding ground:
- Dispose of old tires, buckets, aluminum cans, plastic sheeting or other refuse that can hold water. Empty accumulated water from trash cans, boats, wheel barrows, pet dishes, and flower pot bottoms. If possible, turn these items over when they are not in use.
- Clean debris from rain gutters and unclog obstructed downspouts. Clogged rain gutters are one of the most overlooked breeding sites for mosquitoes around homes. Remove any standing water on flat roofs or around structures. Repair leaking faucets and air conditioners that produce puddles for several days.
- Change water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week and keep swimming pools cleaned and chlorinated. Ornamental pools can be aerated or stocked with mosquito-eating fish. Aeration / water movement helps because mosquitoes prefer quiet, non-flowing water for egg-laying and development.
- Fill or drain ditches and swampy areas, and other soil depressions and remove, drain, or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar or sealant to prevent accumulation of water. Eliminate standing water and seepage around animal watering troughs, cisterns, and septic tanks. Be sure that cistern screens are intact and that access covers fit tightly.
- Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
- Full Article from University of Kentucky’s Entomology Department Here
Often very fragrant plants (culinary/tea herbs, plants in the onion family) have a repellent effect on pests. While researching that information, I came across a decent list of pest-repelling plants which gives the name of the plant and what pests it repels which you may also find useful for companion planting in your garden.