Repelling Mosquitoes Without Pesticides

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on May 9, 2011

The picture I grew up with of mosquito control is of a slow moving vehicle spraying poison out while children ran along behind and played in the spray.  This does not exactly conform to best practices for mosquito control.  While pesticides may be necessary at some point for the control of mosquitoes, they should be used in a manner that does not expose people to them if at all possible.  However, there are many things you can do to prevent mosquito problems that do not involve pesticides.

Mosquitoes need still water to lay their eggs in and reproduce.  Making sure that you have no sources of stagnant water around your house is one of the easiest ways to combat mosquitoes.  Tires, empty flower pots, and toys that might hold water should be stored upside down or disposed of.

Some things, though, have to stay.  Birdbaths and watering troughs come to mind.  Here you have a couple of options.  You can use one of the little aerators that keeps the surface of the water rippling to keep the mosquito from laying her eggs.  In birdbaths and small water gardens, you can use a mosquito dunk, which is toxic to mosquito larvae and nothing else.  Mosquito dunks are considered organic.  Or you can use mosquito fish, little guppy size fish that live off mosquito larvae.  They go in the water troughs and keep them free of mosquitoes.  Some states regulate or ban these little fish, though, so check with your fish and game people before putting them in something.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk.  If you keep yourself and your animals inside during these times, you reduce the exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito borne diseases.  Make sure that horse stalls have good screen over their windows and other open spaces to prevent the mosquitoes from entering.  Make sure the screens on your windows and doors are in good repair and do not have holes in them.

Mosquitoes carry some nasty diseases.  Eliminating standing water, keeping your pets and yourself in during peak activity times, and making sure mosquitoes cannot come in where you are are some easy ways to protect yourself from them.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline Clemmons May 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

Don’t forget bats! One little bat can eat 5,000 mosquitoes a night. Yay, bats!


Stephanie Suesan Smith May 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Bats eat a significant amount of insects. Putting up a bat house is a very wise thing to do.


Haley | Girl About the World May 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Great tips — I am a mosquito magnet, so I’m always looking for ways to keep them away!


Stephanie Suesan Smith May 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Some people are bitten if there is only one mosquito in the area. I am a bee and wasp sting magnet. My Mother is a mosquito magnet.


Sawyer May 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Too funny – as I am reading this I am getting 3 bites on my ankles by one single mosquito that got into the house just now when someone came inside. Drats, I’m all out of bats right now…


Stephanie Suesan Smith May 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Glad to help. Screen doors make a huge difference. You can learn how to attract bats, too. And see my rather eccentric bat box installation.


Patricia May 11, 2011 at 12:00 am

Hi Stephanie

I am fortunate that mosquitoes don’t bother with me. But I have friends who get nasty lumps when the mosquitoes are around. Citronella seems to work outdoors if we are having a barbecue.

And I gave my friend a lavender spray I sourced from where I get my lavender products from. She took it on holidays with her and all the family used it. Worked for them so I can say the lovely lavender came up smelling sweet again 🙂

Patricia Perth Australia
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Stephanie Suesan Smith May 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

Those scents work for some people and not others. Research has shown that most scents will deter mosquitoes about 20 minutes, while DEET works for hours, but some people do not like using pesticides and prefer the scents.


Sawyer May 11, 2011 at 7:31 am

Deet should really be a non-issue by now. We don’t need it, and we haven’t for years. Citronella works like a charm, maybe not the candles, but the repellent you rub on your skin. Just go to your local Whole Foods or some similar store, and you’ll get to pick and choose your non-harmful mosquito repellent. It is completely safe including for children and works in environments like the Everglades.
The products are all there. We just need to get people to use them – probably an easier undertaking than convincing them to keep bats. 😉


Business Loans May 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

Electric wired Tennis racket, this works well for me. Just hit them with it and they will get toasted like a bbq! You would be just like doing an exercise and best thing of it is it’s fun.


Stephanie Suesan Smith May 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

Fun, but sprays bug parts all over. One study showed those big bug zappers were spraying little bug parts all over the BBQ, so I don’t use them. Pity, it was fun.


Business Loans May 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm

But actually here in our country we’re in a great battle of dengue fever cases, specially in squatter areas where stagnant water are everywhere. Preventing them from making new eggs is the most effective way than actually killing each one of them.


Stephanie Suesan Smith May 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

If you kill the wigglers, they can’t reproduce. Since it is much easier to treat the stagnant water than kill the flying insects, that is what we focus on.


Business Loans May 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

Exactly, that’s why they always say Prevention is better the Cure. Thanks for sharing this to us Steph!


Alexis October 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I really hate mosquitoes and I want to kick them out all over again! Here in our place we use Electric Wired Tennis racket to eliminate mosquitoes but it kills only few.


Bill Brikiatis June 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Mosquitoes are are real problem in my backyard. I use a mosquito magnet, but because my yard is surrounded by standing water, it only makes a small dent in the population. The only time we get a mosquito-free backyard is when there’s a drought.
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