Best Yard Treatment for Mosquitoes

by | Sep 23, 2021

I don’t know what it’s like for some of you but for me, I’m a magnet for mosquitoes.

And when summer hits in SoCal, these little bastards are out with a vengeance.

Unless I’m covered with DEET spray or lotion, I’m a walking blood bank.

As if that weren’t enough, to add insult to injury, we now have the invasive Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus which come out at all hours of the day or night and don’t seem to be bothered by cold weather.

Mosquitoes are annoying, they’re vicious, and what’s worse, they can transmit diseases such as the West Nile Virus, Zika, SLE, and other pathogens.

So, after some considerable research, trials, self-administered tests, and thousands of bites later, I have created a short list of the best yard treatment for mosquitoes.

Here are some recommendations:

Chemical Free Mosquito Control Methods

Start Your Battle by Getting a Fan.

With any treatment you may choose to use, I always recommend using a fan.

Mosquitoes are weak fliers and fans are an excellent way to keep them at bay.

Some people use ceiling fans on patio covers but they need to be powerful enough to make a difference.

A slight breeze isn’t going to be enough.

I would recommend using an oscillating fan set to medium or high.

Let me assure you, the fans have been a blessing for me.

I like to enjoy the yard during the warm, summer evenings, especially when friends come over and we haven’t had a single issue with mosquitoes.

I have two set up in adjacent corners so we have a continuous breeze blowing through and the result?

No mosquitoes…

No bugs…

And we stay cool.

What’s even better is that you don’t need any treatments or repellents although I use them anyway because I always tend to wander away from the fans range.

So, get yourself an oscillating fan or two – they work.

Pros:

  • Very effective and will keep mosquitoes along with other insects at bay.
  • Simple solution that’s perfect for the warm, summer evenings.
  • No chemicals needed.

Cons:

  • Only effective within a certain radius.

Once you get your fan, you can use it independently or in combination with any of the following mosquito yard treatments:

BTI

Using BTI or (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), is an effective and eco-friendly way to control mosquitoes.

Commonly sold as Mosquito Bits or Mosquito Dunks, they come in granules or donut shaped “dunks” that dissolve in water and release a bacterium found in soils that act as a larvicide. The effects of the bacterium only take a few hours and are completely harmless to animals and humans.

Much of the information you may source will advise you to eliminate any body of stagnant water or to trim thick brush and/or rake leaves.

But if you’re not able to, you can simply sprinkle this treatment in any body of water or garden around your home and it will reduce your mosquito problems dramatically.

However, since it’s completely harmless to animals and you can’t control any mosquitoes coming from your neighbors, you can throw some over to their yard.

I have a fish pond that used to get infested with mosquito larvae and despite the waterfall and the fishes feeding on them, it wasn’t enough to stop the flow of mosquitoes laying their eggs and hatching.

After a single piece of donut was tossed in the pond, the larvae were all dead within a day and none of the aquatic life were harmed.

Pros:

  • Cheap solution for your garden and bodies of water around your home.
  • Extremely effective at killing larvae.
  • Non-toxic.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t kill adult mosquitoes.
  • Treatment only works for about a week to 2 weeks.

Mosquito Control Methods with Chemicals

Bifenthrin

Bifenthrin is one of the most effective insecticides.  It’s a type of pyrethroid insecticide that is used as a residual spray for both indoors and out.  

If you’ve ever contacted an exterminator for mosquitoes, It’s essentially the same chemical used by them.

Mosquitoes along with a range of other insects will die within hours of contact and it’s even effective against the new invasive species.  

If you intend on pursuing this route, select a brand with at least 7.9% Befenthrin mixed in – Most of which already do but better to check. 

Spray where there are stockpiles of debris and spray all over the vegetation including hedges, piles of dead leaves, grass, flower beds, etc..,

Once sprayed wait till it dries (at least an hour or two) before venturing around the sprayed areas and pray for no rain.

Make sure to wear gloves and a mask.

Pros:

  • Will kill all mosquitoes along with other pesky insects.
  • Insects will die within a few hours of contact.
  • Depending on your landscape, you’ll notice results within one day.

Cons:

  • It’s a chemical so you have to be cautious when spraying.
  • May end up killing beneficial insects.

Permethrin

Another insecticide that is pretty effective against mosquitoes is permethrin. It’s another type of pyrethroid that when used correctly, will kill a range of insects.

One of the downfalls with using Permethrin is the odor it leaves behind. It tends to stay within the sprayed area for a couple of hours.

Again, be sure to wear gloves and a mask.

Pros:

  • Will kill all mosquitoes along with other pesky insects.
  • Insects will die within a few hours of contact.
  • Depending on your landscape, you’ll notice results within one day.

Cons:

  • It’s a chemical so you have to be cautious when spraying.
  • May end up killing beneficial insects.
  • Strong smell.

Ecovia Products

Another effective option is the line of Ecovia products.

Although the labels indicate that their products are pet safe, it’s recommended that you use gloves and to keep children and pets away from the area while being applied and moistened.

The Ecovia G is my favorite in their lineup although their liquids and dusts are equally effective.

It’s a bit pricey at about $75 for a 12lb. Bag.

It’s a granular solution that is sprinkled in the yard.

Spread it around brushes, grass, and any moist areas and you’ll find a significant difference in the amount of insects flying around your garden.

What I love about this treatment is its fragrance.

Once applied, you’ll notice a very floral aroma surrounding your garden and although the scent doesn’t last very long, the effectiveness of the treatment will continue.

Pros:

  • Makes your garden very fragrant.
  • Extremely effective repellent.
  • Non-toxic.

Cons:

  • Very expensive.
  • Not very effective with the new species of mosquitoes.

Chlorine

There’s a reason why you never see mosquito larvae in pools.  Chlorine will kill any and all larvae and it will repel mosquitoes to a certain degree. 

You can mix water and bleach and test the concentration to see what’s most effective.

But it works. 

Careful where you spray it.  Bleach will discolor certain materials and make animals sick.

Pros:

  • Works with larvae and adult mosquitoes.
  • Kill other insects as well.

Cons:

  • Toxic respiratory irritant.
  • Harmful to vegetation and animals.
  • Can discolor and/or damage certain materials. 

Other Mosquito Treatment Methods

Change the Habitat

Get rid of standing water.  This should be a given when dealing with mosquitoes.

Get rid of piles of leaves and stockpiles of debris that can hold moisture and harbor insects.

Turn over anything that can potentially collect water.  Trim any brush or vegetation as much as you can.

The objective is to make the environment less inhabitable.

Use Repellents with DEET

This is really for yourself as opposed being a treatment for your yard.

DEET works.

There are other treatments that use Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535, or Picaridin that are also effective but I found DEET works best and for longer periods.

Of course the duration of its effectiveness depends on the concentration amount. The more DEET it has, the longer it lasts but overall DEET provides guaranteed protection.

And although DEET is a chemical, you’ll be safe as long as you follow the label, according to the CDC.

One thing to note,however, it will absorb into your skin if left for prolonged periods. Unless you intend on staying outdoors for extended periods of time, stick with concentration levels at 20% to 30%. And kids won’t need more than 10%.

Here’s a video of the USDA  testing various repellents within a controlled environment.  DEET and Lemon Eucalyptus sprays were among the most effective.

I’ve used both and they work equally well, however, Lemon Eucalyptus requires continuous reapplication after a short time whereas small concentrations of DEET last much longer.

Use Soap

Liquid soap is another solution you can try.  Mix a small solution into a body of water where you suspect mosquitoes.  The surface tension of the water is reduced because of the soap, so when mosquitoes make contact with the water, they’ll drown.

You can even try spraying soapy water on some plants (provided the plant can handle the soap), and insects will stick to the moisture and die.

Fish

If you have a pond, fish are a great way to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Fish feed on most insects including mosquito larvae but it would probably be a good idea to add BTI into the water and/or add a waterfall or fountain to keep the water circulating.  Stagnant water makes it easy for mosquitoes to lay eggs.  

In some cases, your local Vector Control District will have Mosquito Fish available to the public for free.

Solutions That Don’t Work

Are there other solutions?

In short, no and I’ve covered each faulty recommendation I’ve found on the internet.

Plants or Other Organics

The use of plants is debatable but frankly, I think it’s utter nonsense. Oils extracted from the plants like lemongrass are the source of their repellency and have to be in high concentrations in order for it to be somewhat effective.

Candles

Candles like Citronella candles are just as effective as a smoke screen, which is essentially the only part of the candle that repels mosquitoes. In other words, it’s virtually useless unless you surround yourself with candles and create a smoky barrier.

Dyna Trap

Great for everything but mosquitoes. I wasted my money on this, unfortunately. Everytime I look into the container to clean it out, all I see are various insects with a couple of mosquitoes. Don’t bother with this method unless you have issues with other insects.

Theracell

Deters some mosquitoes but you’ll still end up getting bitten despite its use.

Clip Ons

These devices use a fan to emit a repellent and are supposed to be attached to you. The problem with these devices is that the slightest wind or movement will blow the repellent away, rendering its protection useless.

Irish Spring Soap

As mentioned earlier, soap works but there’s information on the internet about Irish Spring soap that’ll certainly raise an eyebrow. The assumption that Irish Spring has some “special” ingredient or that the scent has some functioning role in killing or repelling mosquitoes is absurd and doesn’t work. ANY soap will kill mosquitoes provided it’s mixed with water.

Understanding Limitations to Controlling Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are one of those critters that you’ll never be rid of completely.

You may be able to clear them from your yard for a brief period but depending on the size of your space, your proximity to your neighbors, and/or amount of vegetation around your area, at some point they’ll just find their way into your yard.

It was once believed that mosquitoes only travel a few miles but it turns out these little bastards can travel far distances.

So, you’re always going to have mosquitoes. But you can significantly reduce their numbers in your yard with some of the methods listed.

I know sometimes it may seem fruitless but one thing I can’t recommend enough is the use of a fan.  It will make a significant difference.  You can thank me later.