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How to kill January mosquitoes in Brooklyn?
January 11, 2007 4:37 AM   Subscribe

How do I rid my Brooklyn apartment of mosquitoes--in JANUARY?!

I live in Brooklyn. I've had mosquitoes in my apartment since the summer. I've had the windows closed since September, and I have screens on the windows that I've opened to try to freeze the place out.

I get bit by mosquitoes every night. And now, I'm so high-strung about it, I wake up to their buzzing 8-10 times a night, turn on the light, get out of bed and try to hunt the m-fs down. I spray myself with bug spray, but I can't bring myself to use the extra-toxic stuff b/c then it's difficult to sleep with that smell. The non-toxic stuff apparently doesn't keep them away from me.

I thought that going away for a week over Xmas would starve them to death. No such luck. Please help me. I need to sleep.

Also, I'm wondering if any other New Yorkers are experiencing the same thing. Two of my friends are, one in Manhattan, the other also in Brooklyn.
posted by tk to Home & Garden (26 answers total)
 
Just set off some bug bombs. Pain in the ass, but it beats not sleeping.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:40 AM on January 11, 2007


Can't you get one of those plug-in the wall socket thingy's that will kill them? They sell them on e-bay (can't link at the mo cos at work) Safer than the chemical gunk.
posted by Wilder at 4:48 AM on January 11, 2007


Get them where they breed: in water. Give your drains and toilet a good soak of bleach water and let soak for a while. Could they be laying eggs anywhere else wet like fish tanks, planters, places where water pools?
posted by roboto at 5:07 AM on January 11, 2007


They also sell those plug-in things at Home Depot, Lowe's, and your average neighborhood hardware store. I had skeeters in my Brooklyn apartment as well, and after bleaching out all my drains and installing a voodoo socket device, they seem to have disappeared. Hopefully the weather will help.
posted by sonofslim at 5:16 AM on January 11, 2007


Thanks for the advice. I'll try one of those zappers and bleach the drains and toilets first, and bomb as a last resort. No drips or random wet spots around the house. Dry as a bone, actually, with all the heat.
posted by tk at 5:17 AM on January 11, 2007


Teach the rats or cockroaches to seek out and eat their larvae?

The larvae should be easy to spot in any standing water. They are little squiggly things. Unless you never flush the toilet it is doubtful they live in the bowl or reservoir. They can breed in other very damp areas, so you should seek out those spots. A possible location would be rotten windowsills, the overflow drain on old sinks, or maybe soggy plaster/drywall. Check the entire apartment for potential areas. Cover overflow drains with duct tape for awhile. Isolate your bedroom by closing the door or just buy mosquito netting for your bed as a last resort.
posted by JJ86 at 5:30 AM on January 11, 2007


Yes, manhattan here, and up until a month ago I had the little shits buzzing around. Make sure you check over any exhaust points that lead outside the house. I have a vent that goes from the bathroom to the street and it was full of holes they could have entered through.
posted by lovejones at 6:11 AM on January 11, 2007


From personal experience in a mosquito-infested apartment, I can tell you that that green pro-409 stuff can kill mosquitos on contact. And that they're easier to hunt if you can let your eyes adjust so that you don't have to turn on the light. Do you have drop ceilings? That's where the buggers lived in my old place.

Bite Blocker and Repel Lemon Eucalypus work (Not as well as DEET, but better than anything else. NEJM) and are non-toxic.

Or you could just get a mosquito net.

(We're getting nibbled in Philly, too.)
posted by desuetude at 6:13 AM on January 11, 2007


I doubt they're breeding in your home-- it's probable that the unseasonbly warm weather has allowed them to do some winter breeding nearby, such as in your backyard. They are probably just riding in on gusts of air when doors and windows are opened. In which case murdering them one at a time is probably all you can do.
posted by hermitosis at 6:25 AM on January 11, 2007


Love the idea of green pro-409. I keep a magazine next to my bed, and there's nothing more depressing than smacking myself upside the head for a few seconds with my hands, turning on the light, seeing it sitting right above my bed probably already filled with my blood, swatting at and missing the mosquito, hunting all over my apt for it, and then having to turn out the light and wait in fear.

Good idea about the vents, too.

Thanks everyone!
posted by tk at 6:26 AM on January 11, 2007


How about one of these in the corner.
posted by miniape at 6:26 AM on January 11, 2007


Also, I'm wondering if any other New Yorkers are experiencing the same thing.

Yes. I'm in Queens and we've been getting them all winter. Good to know it's not some kind of fluke.
posted by jonmc at 6:27 AM on January 11, 2007


This is a long shot, but do you have a heat pump? If so, you may have some standing water in its pan. You can get tablets to put in there to quell nasty organisms.
posted by Morrigan at 6:36 AM on January 11, 2007


Mosquitoes don't fly well in moving air. If you can stand the breeze and slight noise, a simple room fan, or a HEPA room filter can vastly disrupt their attacks. A ceiling fan in every room, reversed to suck air up from the room, and blow it at the ceiling all winter, is de rigeur in most Florida homes, and does a great job of keeping mosquitoes at bay. In summer, we reverse the fans, to blow down on us, and keep the biting f**kers off base...
posted by paulsc at 6:46 AM on January 11, 2007


Also, I'm wondering if any other New Yorkers are experiencing the same thing.


Brooklyn here. Gowanus. I get them all winter long, although oddly enough this year I have not had any. Might be because I've started doing my dishes every night rather than once or twice a week. Given that I second the bleaching the drains idea.
posted by spicynuts at 6:50 AM on January 11, 2007


Park Slope- yes, I thought our place was the epicenter of some freakish mosquito vortex. Another thing to blame on Global Warming, I guess...
posted by mkultra at 6:52 AM on January 11, 2007


I second the mosquito net recommendation. Try here. It's a sure way to protect yourself while trying to eradicate the source. Plus, maybe it will help to starve them.
posted by chinston at 7:05 AM on January 11, 2007


Greenpoint here, we were seeing them right up until Christmas (it's definitely not a great NYC winter for killing thins off) -- we live in a basement apartment so drainage near our front door is sub-optimal. When they come back (and they will come back) I'll try bleaching the bastards... thanks, all.
posted by logovisual at 7:24 AM on January 11, 2007


They're inside your house because it's winter and you're the only source of heat they can find. Take a 2 day vacation during a cold snap, turn off your heat, wrap your pipes and open all the windows. Return and dispose of the frozen mosquito carcasses.
posted by datacenter refugee at 7:26 AM on January 11, 2007


This will not solve your problem completely, but is very satisfying to use.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:33 AM on January 11, 2007


I really like the guys over at U-Spray they have a great info page on your problem, see the link below. You maybe able to find some of the products in NY

http://www.bugspray.com/articles98/mosquito.html

No, i don't work for them, i just like them.

Twice a year, before i go to bed (or going to be out of the house for a while) I run 2 gallons of near boiling water in all my drains (NOT the toilets) then follow up by bleaching those drains. that solved my mosquito and fruit fly problem.

Best of luck!
posted by Wezzlee at 8:43 AM on January 11, 2007


We've had a few in Park Slope, although not in a couple of weeks; we're on the ground floor and have a doorway directly to the basement, so I'm pretty sure that's where they're coming from (the basement is not 100% sealed to the outside).

Now that it's actually winter temperature here on occasion, the problem may abate.
posted by staggernation at 9:23 AM on January 11, 2007


You have actually seen them, right? If not, you might want to check into whether you have bedbugs, not mosquitos.

Assuming that's not the case, have you checked places like under your sink, where there might be damp spots? Can you check with your neighbors? Maybe they're like roaches--breeding in one apartment but venturing to others to feed.
posted by min at 9:53 AM on January 11, 2007


Love the idea of green pro-409. I keep a magazine next to my bed, and there's nothing more depressing than smacking myself upside the head for a few seconds with my hands, turning on the light, seeing it sitting right above my bed probably already filled with my blood, swatting at and missing the mosquito, hunting all over my apt for it, and then having to turn out the light and wait in fear.

With practice, you can shoot the suckers right out of the air.
posted by desuetude at 10:37 AM on January 11, 2007


Flatbush reporting. We had mosquitos until mid-December (didn't start until September, oddly enough, maybe because the City stopped spraying?) and I feel your pain. These little bastards aren't like the big slow skeeters I remember as a kid - they're small, agile, quiet, and practice asymmetrical warfare: a 21st century bug.

In our case, it turned out they were coming in around the window screens, and generous use of saran wrap and duct tape pretty much shut them out. The few sneaky ones that got through met up with my girlfriend, who learned some deadly mosquito-squashing techniques while backpacking in Asia. Next year, though, we're just getting a mosquito net.

If I were you I'd go crazy blocking up every open crack between you and the outside world, above doors, around vents, etc. Doublecheck those screens: the dopey half-height screens you get in some apartments are useless unless you seal them up better. The mosquitos are definitely breeding in standing water nearby, but that's probably not something you can address (if there was a puddle of rank stagnant larvae-filled water in your apartment, I hope you'd be aware of it). Even so, follow Wezzlee's advice and boil-and-bleach your drains - it certainly can't hurt.

Good luck!
posted by a young man in spats at 11:54 AM on January 11, 2007


And if you do have standing water nearby your aparment that you cannot control, you can toss in a few of these Mosquito Dunks I have seen them being sold at at hardware stores and home centers too.
posted by Wezzlee at 12:29 PM on January 11, 2007


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