17 Replies Latest reply: Jul 7, 2012 11:43 AM by trace! RSS

    Mosquito  issues- your tips?

    msdebj Senior Contributor

      Our home is on Galveston Island, and we have mosquitos- often year round. I provide repellent type sprays (and spray sunscreen) in a small basket on our entry hall table for our guests' use. One of our "selling points" is our front porch and back yard patio, that many comment on.

       

      I've purchased several of the "repellent type" fireless candles/devices that claim they make areas bug free, but it can get coslty buying refills. I'm not sure if guests even use them.  When I'm at our home I have citronella candles that I place on the porch and patio, but I don't like that option for my guests (See LED candle conversation)

       

      What do you use?

       

      Thanks!

      Debj

       

      Any suggestions?

        • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
          Contributor

          I used to work in a program that does mosquito abatement  in Reno, NV and learned a few tricks from that experience.

           

          Getting rid of the breeding source is always worth trying, though I suspect in a place like Galveston that might be an unreasonable expectation.  On Cape Cod, one of  my property manager's weekly duties is to look for  puddles of standing water on our property. For example, rain water accumulation in the inflatable boats that are guests use, will sometimes start breeding mosquitoes, I've noticed.

           

          If it has rained and there is a large puddle of standing water that can't be drained, I ask rhe property manager to put just 1 drop of a surfactant such as Ivory soap (not detergent) to break the surface tension of the water. Any larval mosquitoes in the puddle will die as their breathing tube cannot breach the water surface.

           

          Since many people don't like to use DEET repellents (in spite of ample studies showing they are safe), I provide a brochure at our VR on "Choosing the Right Repellent" put out by the American Mosquito Control Association. It can be printed on legal size paper from this link at that organization's website: http://www.allenwayne.com/skeeter/samples/4420_Insect_RepellentBrochure.pdf  (I personally have tried picaridin and lemon eucalyptus and like them both. Picardin works best for the aggressive biters and I have stocked a spray bottle in our VR.)

           

          We also provide large citron candles for sitting on the deck, but so far none of our guests have used them.

            • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
              thaxterlane Senior Contributor

              Thank you for your advice; I was keeping an eye on msdebj's question.  I don't have answers and was hoping someone else would have them.

               

              I  routinely turn over receptacles or empty collected water.  Your tip for treating puddles is much appreciated - I could empty all the planter trays, tip the arm chairs over, etc and that humungous puddle in the drive has been going untreated.

               

              I'm printing the brochure - it's going in the binder next to the brochure about protecting yourself from tick bites!  Nature is beautiful, repeat after me . . . .

               

              I don't supply citronella candles for my guests but I do leave large decorative containers filled with sand in which they can place the candles on the deck.  So far, so good.  No charred deck boards. 

                • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                  msdebj Senior Contributor

                  Thanks for the tips. We have our caretaker do all the water drainage issues, but being on an island surrounded by bays, etc. I was kind of hoping someone could offer some insight into some systems that would work on areas like our porch, patio.

                   

                  Who knows? We'll see what else pops up here!

                  Debj 

                    • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                      Contributor

                      I hear that one of the things that DOESN'T work very well are the mosquito magnets They emit CO2 which does attract mosquitoes. But before they meet their death in that contraption, they are likely to grab a blood meal from any humans who get in the way.  We used to tell people jokingly that if they had a neighbor they didn't like, a mosquito magnet would make an excellent gift. It would attract the biters away from their own back yard to that of their neighbor's, in other words!

                • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                  Contributor

                  Build/Install some Bat Boxes.  They can be mounted on trees, side of the house, where ever.  And, they are wonderful for the environment and ecology of the area.    They love mosquitos and will happily eat them up for you. 

                   

                  Bats are awesome!

                   

                  Lara

                  www.alluringbend.com

                    • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                      mike-dfv Community All-Star

                      I'm into environmentally friendly solutions, so I like the bat idea. I just don't think my guests will.

                       

                      Mike

                        • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                          Contributor

                          Studies have been done on the stomach contents of dead bats and the results showed that contrary to popular perception, they do not consume very many mosquitoes at all. If larger prey are available, such as moths, that's what they will go for. It boils down to a matter of bioenergetics--bats, like all living things, will go after what gives them the most caloric pay back in relation to the energy expended to secure prey. My understanding is that bats will only go after mosquitoes if there is nothing out there larger for them to eat.

                           

                          Bat rabies is also an issue for me, although one that some bat experts try to minimize. In my work at the Health Department in Reno, I have picked up many a sick bat that tested positive for rabies (about 6-10 per year). While the percentage of bats infected with rabies is unquestionably very small, those that do become sick will often be seen flopping around on the ground. Children, unfortunately, are often attracted to these sick animals and pick them up wanting to take care of them and make them well.  During the few years that I did this work in Reno, we had several dozen kids that needed post-exposure prophylactic shots for rabies because they had picked up sick bats. Because bat bites are so tiny and painless, it's often impossible to determine if someone has been bitten or not, so shots are necessary to protect against this dreaded, fatal disease.

                           

                          Dogs and cats are often exposed to rabid bats in the same way. They will try to catch a bat that's flopping around on the ground thinking of it as prey. Because of the slow-growing nature of the rabies virus, most states, like Nevada, require that animals exposed to rabid bats have to be quaranteened for 45 days to 6 months, depending on their rabies vaccination status, or they must be euthanized.

                           

                          Bats are amazing and beautiful animals and supporting them by building bat boxes is a fine effort. However, I would not consider putting one close to my vacation rental or even next to my home for that matter. Not only are bats not very ineffective for mosquito control, the public health risk regarding rabies is not one that I would want to take on because of my work experience.

                           

                          Judith Saum, REHS

                            • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                              crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                              Well I am not sure if they are biting while they are also dying!   They really never bother me anyway but I have seen my wife jump in the pool once or twice just to avoid them.  I consider it a success just to see a handful the size of a tennis ball of mosquitos each time I empty the traps.

                               

                              I have also just installed 4 bat shelters and hope by next year that I will get air support!.

                        • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                          stjvilla Active Contributor

                          We just read an article about easy, non-pesticide things you can do on your porch, etc.  They said a saucer of beer will keep the mosquitos interested in that area and away from you, but if someone is drinking beer, they will go for them!  The cheapest thing that apparently works is a dish of liquid dish soap.  Worth a try in additional to prevention and repellents.

                          • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                            Contributor

                            I just went to the American Mosquito Control Association website to research this topic further. According to AMCA, the effectiveness of mosquito magnets depends on many variables--they may be effective is some places to reduce biting, females.

                             

                            The effectiveness of bats for mosquito control is also discussed and again the word "marginal" appears depending on a number of different variables.

                             

                            There are some other suggestions at the AMCA that might be helful. http://www.mosquito.org/faq  

                             

                            I, for one, find the new repellents to be a delightful alternative to DEET. Ones that contain the active ingredient called "picaridin" virtually have no odor, have a light feel on the skin and are safe for young children. That's that one I use for aggressive mosquitoes and also have some available at our VR for our renters.

                             

                            Judith

                            • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                              jan.stevens Community All-Star

                              Personally, I have been very successful with a very natural solution.........GARLIC.

                               

                              When I was little my nick name was Skeeter Bites as the mosquitos would eat me alive. I was a huge fruit and sugar eater. But now, as an adult, my consumption of high levels of garlic is a fantastic repellant!!! 

                              • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                                Contributor

                                In New Zealand we plant Pyrethrum daisies! If you can't find pyrethrum daisies, look for Crysanthemums! They're basically the same thing. Pyrethrum is extracted from the seeds of the daisy and used in commercial applications to boost the other insecticides they use when spraying. It is used widely in counties across America, who perform aerial mosquito control sprayings. You can even find recipes on the internet on how to make your own natural insect repellant spray.

                                 

                                Buy the plants or the seed and surround your decks and outdoor seating areas with them. In the garden, in pots, hanging baskets...whatever is most convenient for you. Plant those pretty daisey's everywhere. They are a fantastic repellent for flying insects. Mosquitos and flies...even lice, ants and fleas!

                                 

                                The pyrethron in the daisies is toxic to most flying insects...in concentrated form (like the sprays)  it affects their nervous system causing paralysis and sometimes death. In natural form (in the daisy prior to being extracted and concentrated) it is the best natural repellant around. Insects detect the pyrethrum in the air and move on quickly. And the daisies have the added bonus of being very pretty too! The more sunlight your daisies get, the more potent their levels of pyrentrum.

                                 

                                It really does work.

                                  • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                                    Contributor

                                    Hadn't heard of this one, but glad to know it's working for you in New Zealand. Indeed, the product used to fog adult mosquitoes is pyrethrum. either as a plant extract or chemical mimic  There were always a few people with severe allergies to chrysanthemums that we would call and warn to close their windows when we planned to fog  for mosquitoes in early AM.

                                     

                                    Wondering if planting daisies or chrysanthemums to repell mosquitoes works again alls species. Also wonder if  mosquitoes become resistant through exposure and time. I have lots of questions about the science of this. It would make a very interesting study. I'm thinking of planting daisies or mums around our Cape Cod VR deck to try it out for myself.  Thanks!

                                      • Re: Mosquito  issues- your tips?
                                        Contributor

                                        My mother planted these in NZ where I grew up. We were the only house on the block  that was bug free at night.

                                         

                                        I now live in Ca and have some cabins in the San Diego Moutains. Mosquito's galore up here in summer. About a year ago I remembered what my mother had done. I planted the daisies around all the decks and outdoor seating areas of half my cabins. HUGE difference. I can say the daisies (conservatively) dropped the bug population by 85 to 90 percent. I'll be planting the other cabins soon. Good luck with your experiement...I think you'll find they work amazingly well