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Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Keeping Mosquitoes Away

There are natural options instead of potentially dangerous chemicals

Some insects, like pollinators, are welcomed in any backyard or garden. But others are most certainly not — including pesky mosquitoes that seem to appear out of nowhere as temperatures rise each year. Here’s how to fight back, the natural way.

Inside The Numbers

Disease-carrying mosquitoes are actually a huge problem globally, killing hundreds of thousands of people each year. That’s more than any other animal or insect. They feed on blood from unwitting host animals, then transfer sometimes deadly pathogens as they move from bite victim to bite victim. Among the most serious diseases associated with mosquitoes are malaria, West Nile virus and dengue fever, but there are many others.

Studies show that mosquitoes are more attracted to people with Type O blood, as well as pregnant women and people who are breathing heavily. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of timing. You’re most vulnerable to a bite around dusk and dawn, as mosquitoes virtually disappear during other parts of the day.

Keeping Them Away

Sprays, candles and bracelets are popular repellents, but often rely on chemicals to do the job. Zappers can be loud and unsightly. That’s why planting certain plants to keep mosquitoes away has become a growing trend. Marigolds and lavender, for instance, emit a smell that drives away these flying pests. Place these hardy plants in pots around your outdoor living space, and they will also produce gorgeous blooms.

Rosemary, sage and basil are typically only thought of as herbs used for in our kitchens, but they also keep mosquitos away. Allium likewise have a strong smell that they don’t like — but, unfortunately, you and your guests might not either, since this plant is part of the garlic and onion family. Citronella and bee balm are other commonly used natural alternatives. Lemon-scented plants have also proven to be useful for many.

Other Options

Sometimes using plants to make your outdoor space inhospitable to mosquitoes simply isn’t enough, in particular for those who live in humid climates. If you’re still being hounded, be on the lookout for standing water in nearby places. They’re breeding grounds for more mosquitoes. Wear light, breathable, longsleeved clothing, and cover your legs. Use overhead fans, if possible, to move the air around. Treat pools and water features to reduce the number of mosquito eggs, as well.


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