Today is the first day of summer and here in middle Tennessee, we’ve had a fairly cool start to the season. Believe me, no one is complaining. By late July, we’ll be wilting and our lawns will be dry and crispy, but today, everything is lush and green and evening strolls are perfectly delightful with mild temperatures and bearable humidity. The only drawback to all this rain has been a mosquito baby boom… those nasty creatures thrive in shallow pools and puddles and they can turn a perfect picnic into an itchy, irritating exercise in futility. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn and home free of mosquitos:
1. Get rid of standing water anywhere around your home. Make sure that your landscaped areas drain well and if you discover stagnant water after heavy rain fall, make a plan to add a drainage system. Not only will your plants thank you, but you’ll stop those mama bloodsuckers in their tracks and force them to search for other places (hopefully far from your home) to lay their eggs. Other common sources of mosquito sanctuaries: potted plants, container gardens and plant trays; bird baths and outdoor water dishes for your four legged friends.
2. Thick weeds are also a haven for mosquitos. Make sure you remove them from all landscaping, gardens and even the farthest corners of your property.
3. Surround your patio or any commonly used outdoor area with the following plants which all release naturally offensive volatile oils: pennyroyal, marigolds, lavender, basil, tansy, catnip and citronella. You can also buy citronella candles and lamps to burn during outdoor get-togethers, but they are not as effective as nature’s own deterrents.
4. Bats are your friends and they eat mosquitos by the boatload. Consider hanging a bat-house on a tree at the edge of your property. They’re basically camouflage, so you won’t even see this habitat, but the bats will know where to set up house and they’ll help keep your property bug free.
5. When you do venture out, consider using some natural repellants on yourself. Throw some garlic on the grill next to your burgers. Mosquitos are not a fan of this pungent veggie. They also dislike vanilla, so dabbing vanilla extract on your pulse points will not only make you smell sweet, but keep you bite free!
Happy summer, friends! Let’s keep it pest free!