Nine Ways to Mosquito-proof Your Backyard this Summer
Dr. Drainage offers ways for homeowners to prevent mosquitos from ruining outdoor spaces
Ryan Larsen is a civil engineer at NDS, Inc., which manufactures a wide range of stormwater and drainage products—such as catch basins, pop-up emitters, channel drains and French drains—for both residential and commercial markets. Ryan is also known as “Dr. Drainage” as host of NDS’s YouTube video series about how to correctly use drainage and stormwater management products.
1. Eliminate standing water wherever it occurs
Getting rid of standing water in your yard and garden is one of the most important things you can do to prevent mosquitoes. From watering your yard and plants to those sporadic summer downpours, your property can quickly accumulate a good amount of still, stagnant water, which makes it the perfect environment for insects. This is why it’s important to keep gutters clear of debris; check at least once a week for any discarded cans, buckets, pots, overturned children’s toys and anything that can hold water; cover trash containers; change water in outdoor pet dishes daily; and change water in birdbaths several times a week.
2. Move potted plants indoors
Potted plants tend to fill up with excess water, which can make them the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. So, be sure to remove potted plants from your yard and keep them indoors during the muggy summer months.
3. Place herbs and scented oils around your backyard
Certain plant herbs and essential oils can naturally repel mosquitoes. For instance, the scents of citronella, lemongrass, and chrysanthemum are non-toxic and keep mosquitoes at bay. Scented oils and candles placed on your outdoor tables will keep any bugs away from food, not to mention provide some evening ambiance. These products can be found at many home improvement or outdoor furniture and garden stores.
4. Scatter coffee grounds
A simple at-home solution for mosquito repellent is coffee grounds. All you need to do is sprinkle coffee grounds wherever you discover standing water in your yard, which will kill any mosquitoes before they hatch and prevent them from breeding further.
5. Grow insect-repellent plants
Discourage pesky flies with plants like lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and more. Luckily, these herbs and plants are loathed by mosquitoes!
6. Install a drain in planter boxes
If you want to keep your beautiful flowers outside for all to see, consider using a drainage solution in planter boxes like a catch basin connected to a drainage pipe. Excess water enters the basin through a raised atrium grate, which prevents leaves, mulch and other debris from entering the system, and connects to a drain pipe where the water can drain to a safe location.
7. Install insect-repelling lights around your yard
Consider installing mosquito repelling lights, such as yellow bug lights or LED lights, in your backyard to deter those irritating bugs away from your barbeque. All-in-one outdoor lighting and mosquito repellent fixtures can be purchased at several home goods stores and large retailers.
8. Hire a professional to spray your yard with an organic treatment
Using an insect-controlling yard spray is an effective way to get rid of mosquitoes. However, many sprays contain toxic chemicals that can harm your health and the health of the environment. Nontoxic bug control solutions can work wonders and will kill off fleas, ticks and other insects, while not harming the family pet! Choose products labeled natural or organic and pet-friendly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely.
9. Install a French drain
Another common solution for eliminating standing water around your home is with drainage solutions that can be purchased at your local home improvement or hardware store. A French drain is a popular choice, which consists of a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel surrounding a perforated pipe. It provides an easy channel for water to flow through, collecting water over the entire length of the drain instead of one particular spot and redirecting the surface and ground water away from your home.
For more information about how to spot and fix the 8 most common homeowner drainage problems, visit NDS’s Home Drainage Center.