It’s mosquito season!! Our low-lying property in Florida floods during the rainy season and becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Over the years, we have come up with some clever ways to drastically reduce the mosquito population without damaging our ecosystem.
Here are ways we get rid of mosquitoes in our house, keep them from entering the house, and keep the population down in our yard.
Getting rid of mosquitoes and other pesky insects in our house
We have a habit of leaving the doors open…and when you live in Florida, mosquitoes, flies, and gnats are coming into the house.
I got the Fly Web Trap on Amazon 5 years ago and it works so well that I bought 2 more. Although it’s advertised to trap flies, it catches so much more.
The unit contains a UV light that attracts critters who get stuck on the sticky pad. The replacement bulbs are about $12 (replaced every 2 years) and the sticky pads are a little over $1 a piece (replace every 1-2 months).
We have found so many interesting bugs stuck to this thing. If we go to bed with a fly in the house, it’ll be on the trap the next morning. This is what it looks like right now after being in there for most of summer…
A few days after accidentally aiming my sprinkler into the soffits of the house for several hours, this trap was the first thing to alert me that carpenter ants were swarming. I had seen a few in the house but I didn’t know how bad it was until I saw this.
So, for a @$40 investment and a recurring cost ($2-3 a month), you can get rid of lots of bugs indoors without spraying chemicals, and they serve as a nice nightlight.
How we keep mosquitoes out of our house
Now that you’ve trapped the gnats, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects from inside your home, it’s time to keep them from coming in in the first place.
Mosquitoes would congregate by the front door and hover around our shoes, so I put a box fan there to blow them away. (I bought my fan at Lowes, but found them cheaper at Target)…then ingeniously thought to put a screen over the front to catch them so they can’t come back.
The fan sucks the mosquitoes in through the back, then they get caught in the screen. I was amazed at all the mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and other insects it caught – before they had the chance to fly in my house!
For the plastic fans, I just wrap bungee cords around them to keep the screen on, and metal fans are nice because you can simply use magnets.
Ta-da! Another piece of junk sitting on my patio.
Get rid of mosquitoes on your property
Our low-lying property had been sitting vacant for years prior to us buying it, and it was swarming with mosquitoes when we moved in.
The Mosquito Magnet
We found something called a Mosquito Magnet on Amazon. It didn’t have great reviews, it is pricey and there are several recurring purchases you must make. But, we were desperate and we got it…
The unit we have covers up to 1 acre and, luckily, our neighbor has one too. Between the two of us, we have killed a lot of mosquitoes.
The main con is that it is really expensive, and has recurring costs and maintenance:
- a CO2 cartridge to clean the line every few months
- octenol to attract the mosquitoes to the machine’s vacuum
- the propane tank needs to be replaced every 2 months. The propane is converted to CO2 which also attracts the mosquitoes. The machine won’t run with an empty tank.
- you HAVE to maintain the machine. Many of the reviews said they break, and if you don’t take care of yours, it will clog or break.
Since we got it, it seems to catch fewer and fewer mosquitoes every year. I am not sure if the machine is failing or we have knocked out a lot of the mosquito population.
Check out this video to see how many mosquitoes our mosquito magnet caught the first week!
Bonus: Other ways we get rid of mosquitoes
• Leave buckets out.
I have kids, so we always have buckets, toys, and junk around the yard. After it rains, they hold water, and eventually, we would see little mosquito larvae swimming in it.
Everyone says RULE 1 to get rid of mosquitoes is to get rid of standing water, but that never made sense to me.
Mosquitoes have to lay eggs somewhere, so it may as well be in my standing water. This way, I can get rid of the mosquitoes instead of letting them hatch somewhere else and continue to breed.
To reduce mosquitoes, we just continue to leave our standing water everywhere, but I monitor it regularly. When I start seeing mosquito larvae swimming around, I either dump them into our fish tank for our minnows, goldfish, and turtle to eat them up, or I just dump them in the driveway.
• Use Mosquito Dunks.
There are all kinds of dunks you can buy to kill mosquito larvae before they grow big enough to bite you. I bought these during the hurricane season when our field was full of large puddles of mosquito-infested water. We also catch tadpoles in these puddles, so I didn’t want to harm the frogs but the mosquitoes had to go.
The packaging said it contains a naturally occurring bacterium that is safe enough to use in birdbaths, rain barrels, ponds, and even watering troughs for animals…so I put them to the test. I dropped one in my fishtank with some minnows and all the minnows were still alive a few weeks later, so it doesn’t seem to be too toxic.
I use these when we have really heavy rains that leave standing water in the ditches and field.
They have the big dunks as well as little Mosquito Bits. These are nice because they can be sprinkled in your plant beds and even in your container gardens and planted pots. They will dry out but they remain viable once hydrated again.
These bits can also control the annoying fungus gnats you get in house plants. Just sprinkle a few in the soil and you’ll be good to go.
• Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants
There are several plants that people claim have mosquito-repelling properties. It is not the plant, but the oils inside the plants that repel mosquitoes, so simply planting them won’t do much for your mosquito problem.
You have to extract the oils so the mosquitoes smell that, rather than your breath. I have herbs planted all over my property, and I just remove the leaves, crush them in my fingers and rub it on my arms, legs, and neck. You can also cook the leaves on a grill, burn them like incense, or throw them on the ground so they release the scent when you step on them.
Prepare a small spot in your yard with a bag of nice soil, and throw a bunch of herb seeds on it and see what happens. I always have rosemary, mint, and lemon balm growing in my yard, so I use that.
• Mosquito Bite Relief
I have about 5 of these sticks: one in my purse, the kitchen drawer, the car, the garage…As soon as anyone in my household gets bit by an ant or mosquito, we say “get the stick”.
I’ve tried other brands, but this is the one. It numbs the bite so you can’t feel it, which prevents my kids from going crazy itching at it.
History: Mosquitoes in Florida
Mosquitoes love Florida for its standing water, rainfall, and warm temperatures. In 1827, early Florida settlers appropriately named our county “Musquito County”.
It was later renamed Brevard County, so as to not discourage potential tourists. Although the name has changed, the mosquitoes still remain.
In the 1800s, the brave Floridian settlers used palmetto leaves to fan the mosquitoes away from their faces…they were top sellers at the hardware stores. They also screened their doors, planted citronella plants, and burned palmetto stumps outside their homes in hopes the dense smoke would keep the mosquitoes out.
People lined their pant legs with newspapers to avoid getting bit through their pants and they’d wear handkerchiefs over their faces.
Fortunately, we have more resources than our ancestors from 100 years ago. There are several ways to decrease your exposure to mosquito bites, the West Nile Virus, and whatever other diseases they may carry.
During the 1900s, the county experimented by digging hundreds of miles of ditches along the Banana River (impounding) to change the water levels, giving the mosquitoes a much smaller territory to claim as breeding grounds.
Digging trenches was hard work and a lot of maintenance, so in the 1940s, chemicals were introduced to control mosquitoes in Florida, including DDT and pesticides. It was stopped almost 15 years later when environmental concerns began to arise.
We went back to impounding and still continue to do so today.