Mosquito death trap
April 29, 2013 7:30 AM   Subscribe

What mosquito mitigation systems, products or curses work? We live near a pond and some marsh area, and the mosquitoes are already out. Our daughter is allergic, and gets golf ball sized bites, so we are very motivated to get rid of them. Having a fan on the deck is helpful, but we need a solution for the yard. We tried dragonfly larvae last year without any observable change. Thanks!
posted by Nickel Pickle to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Make and install a bat house.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:41 AM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

When I lived near a marshy area with terrible mosquitos, one thing we used were the OFF lanterns, we could set them out on the deck and they would give us a decent area that was mosquito-free.

We needed bug spray any time we left the house, and I eventually found avon's bug guard plus bug spray plus, it was the *best*. It smelled good, it didn't dry the skin or stain the clothes, and it really, really worked.
posted by lemniskate at 7:45 AM on April 29, 2013

The only thing that actually works at our northern Michigan cabin is a big screened in porch.

That said, eliminating standing water right in your vicinity can make a huge difference, as can reducing underbrush that they can hide in during the heat of the day and overnight.
posted by rockindata at 7:48 AM on April 29, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry! I failed to mention, we have several bat houses. We've had some trouble with insects in them, but they do help.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:48 AM on April 29, 2013

Some places will let you introduce Gambusia for mosquito control.
posted by jquinby at 7:49 AM on April 29, 2013

Can you install chickens? A quick search seems to say they help and I have noticed a difference since getting our girls two years ago? Also... Eggs..
posted by mrgroweler at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2013

Is the pond yours? I use mosquito dunks in the koi pond at my dad's place and they do seem to keep the numbers down. I'm also really militant about standing water so that they're not breeding nearer to the house in birdbaths or other little gutter drain areas.
posted by jessamyn at 7:53 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you also have bird houses? Attracting swifts and swallows will help reduce the mosquitoes, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:53 AM on April 29, 2013

...ah, nm. If the pond is on your property, gambusia might be worth a look. Probably not a good idea to toss them into someone else's water. Install a purple martin house?
posted by jquinby at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2013

Those propane-powered mosquito traps are expensive but work well.
posted by ook at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

We got a Skeeter Defeater last year and it seemed to work pretty well, though I do still feel a little skeevy about filling my yard with insecticide on a regular basis.
posted by LeeLanded at 8:18 AM on April 29, 2013

Here's a DIY option that seems interesting. I have not tried this yet.
posted by Katine at 8:18 AM on April 29, 2013

Taking a slightly different tack, you can get super-lightweight mesh jackets and pants, just to prevent mosquito bites. I tried the jacket in an infested area and found it effective and quite comfortable, even on the hottest days.
posted by PickeringPete at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2013

A friend in NC swears by an all natural mosquito yard spray. I'm not sure which one he uses--I think he buys it at the hardware store. It's a little pricey so it probably is a better solution for small urban yards, but it might be worth at least one try on your yard.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:12 AM on April 29, 2013

You could try looking into local government agencies that will treat areas to mitigate mosquito populations. I know in Oregon there's a 'vector control' agency that will come out and treat problem areas if they are made aware if it.
posted by efalk at 9:58 AM on April 29, 2013

The DIY technique shown in Katine's link originated as a school project in Taiwan; years ago I tried it in MA and it did not work at all (as in, a bottle I placed directly next to a pond swarming with bugs captured precisely zero mosquitos. I did manage to drown one housefly.)

CO2 on its own only attracts certain species of mosquito, apparently: see the last two paragraphs here. The commercially-available mosquito traps use different attractants varying by region.
posted by ook at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2013

A neighbor of mine has the sprinkler application system for Skeet-R-Gone and says it works. I'm in south Florida where the mosquitoes are thick and we are planning to install the system next month. We got quotes for the MosquitoNix system and they wanted $100 a nozzle for installation (60 nozzles for my acre lot!!) PLUS the quarterly fill of 'natural' pesticide.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2013

A friend once raved about Skeeterbags.

(or try lasers)
posted by spbmp at 7:07 PM on April 29, 2013

How big is your pond? Do you encourage fish and frogs which could eat mosquito larvae? If it's a large pond with reedy edges, I'd like to recommend bluegill which are fun to fish for and breed like crazy.
As per this site you definitely also want to consider koi and mosquitofish.

What about your marsh? Is it a protected habitat or more like some backwater lowland area?
Which ever one it is, could you contact your state Fish and Game folks to ask how you could encourage native fish and amphibians in your area (if you don't already have a night chorus of the latter)? Let them know about your mosquito problem as well and that you're already utilizing bats. They may have some other tips for you.
posted by DisreputableDog at 9:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are worried about covering a kid with insect repellent all the time, you could try coconut oil. On the island where I do my fieldwork there are a zillion mosquitoes and my high tech tropical strength DEET spray did nothing while all the locals swore by coconut oil. When I switched over, it really worked. Googling around shows a lot of other people find the same thing.

Of course, that might make her more susceptible to sunburn so maybe only use it when she's in the shade, or together with a good sunscreen.
posted by lollusc at 12:38 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

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