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5 tips for Eliminating Mosquitoes from your Yard

Updated on September 7, 2013

Tip #1: Eliminate Flower pots around your home.

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Mosquito spraying season.

What is West Niles Virus?

According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 40,000 people have contracted West Nile Virus from mosquitoes since 1999. Over 15,000 of those people have become seriously ill. Over 1,000 people have perished.

Along with flu-like symptoms, more severe problems can develop such as encephalitis or meningitis.

Our neighboring towns have mosquito elimination programs through spraying insecticides from aircraft to rid of adult mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are a big concern.

Despite their small size, mosquitoes are a big problem. Many homeowners and public officials alike grasp at ideas trying to minimize the diseases spread by mosquitoes most often during summer months.

This year mosquitoes weren't a problem at all in our yard. What secrets had I discovered to eliminate the pesky flying biting machines that in previous years endangered humans and birds alike with their West Nile filled poisons?

Here in Northeast USA in Connecticut, despite summer being shortened to a few months due to cold climates seasons in our area, the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Connecticut joined forces to protect the safety and wellbeing of the state's residents against mosquito spread illnesses.

The foregoing agencies monitor and manage Connecticut's mosquito levels to reduce potential public health threats from the diseases mosquitoes carry.

This effort was created in 1997 by a legislative act to minimize, monitor and control the spread of encephalitis that was cycling in the wild bird population. Ironically, encephalitis does not harm birds at all. But it is possibly fatal to humans, horses, and commercial exotic fowls such as pheasants.

Encephalitis has occurred here since 1938.

In 1999, there were outbreaks of West Nile Virus in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several humans, horses, and hundreds of birds perished within just those three states. This was the first documented outbreak in this part of the world.

West Nile Virus has been around since 1937 in other countries including Africa.

West Nile Virus has the potential to cause greater and larger outbreaks than encephalitis, which is the reason for such large interest in the matter of mosquitoes in a small state with very little summer weather.


Be sure to store unused flower pots upside down to prevent water accumulation.

Flower pots near your home may harbor excess rain water, especially empty ones.

Hanging flower pots with flowers in them most likely absorb the water in the soil within the pot. However, empty planters and flower pots hanging around the outside perimeter of your home may likely collect water from summer rains. It's within the confines of these plastic buckets that mosquitoes find refuge for sparing their young.

Keep empty flower pots in a garage, shed or under a porch upside down to prevent stagnant water from aiding breeding mosquitoes.

Tip #2: Let the bats out!

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A note about bat houses...

If you plan on buying or building a bat house out of raw wood, prepare to paint it with waterproof black paint to survive the elements and offer bats a place to hide from tree climbers such as the common raccoon.

Bats are natural predators of mosquitoes.

Those creepy flying fanged tooth impressions from vampire movies of old leave us with a chilling feeling after encountering one at dusk on a summer evening.

Needless to say, bats have a purpose too. They quickly eat up mosquitoes flying around.

Living on an old home farm affords luxuries such as old barns nearby. Bats love to climb up in the tallest points of attics and hang around. They wait for dusk and then fly with quick movement through the air. Often times bats are mistaken for barn swallows. Barn swallows fly in packs and move similarly with quick speed and turns.

If you don't live where the cows once roamed, bat houses can be built or bought very cheaply.

While most birds get accredited for spreading seeds of wild flowers, did you know that fruit-eating bats pollinate flowers and spread fruit seeds as well?

Bats help the environment by eliminating mosquitoes, in essence, reducing the need for costly pesticide intervention.

A bat catches insects one of two ways. Sometimes, during swift movement in flight a bat will catch an insect in its mouth. Another more common method is for the mat to use its tail to trap the insect.

Next to squirrel feeders and bird boxes, consider hanging a bat house.

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Tip #3: Don't leave your outdoor faucet running.

Most homes have outdoor faucets. When running an outdoor faucet with a hose, keep in mind that there is sometimes leakage around the outside of the hose connection. As time goes by, the leakage creates puddles. A little mold or moss might even form near the outdoor water faucet.

Same holds true for running a sprinkler to water flowers, gardens or to let the children run through on a hot summer day.

Running water attracts bugs. Pooling water that remains stagnant on top of surface soil becomes nesting grounds for mosquitoes.

Tip #4: Make sure outdoor toys or other equipment do not get filled with standing water.

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Standing water in yard toys.

At one time, we had a plastic turtle sandbox purchased from a thrift store with no lid. It was filled with sand and after a play date one afternoon, the sand ended up all over the yard. The turtle was empty until it rained. A few days later when the sun came out, I noticed that we had a few extra unwanted visitors including a small gardener snake and a green frog.

After scrapping the plastic sandbox, I built this custom, one-of-a-kind wooden sandbox for the backyard. At least I don't have to worry about it holding water, because there is no bottom. The play area is lined with playground mulch. When it rains, it drains through the bottom of the sand box. The key was filling it with enough sand to cover to the top of it to not wash out.

Tire swings are also big culprits for standing water.

Keep bird baths refreshed by cleansing and refilling them with clean water from your faucet.


Tip #5: Provide fresh water to your outdoor pets daily.

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Did you notice a decrease in mosquitoes over the summer of 2013?

See results

Pets need water and plenty of it!

Horse owners use buckets.

Dog owners use bowls.

Pig owners make mud holes.

Whatever your watering needs, remember to empty and freshen the water supply for your outdoor pets daily.

The last thing you want to do is inadvertently attract mosquitoes to your yard through your pets.


Other ways to eliminate mosquitoes.
Hire a pest control company.
Use Deep Woods Off repellant at home or on walks through the wilderness.
Install a bug zapper near your yard.
Use citronella candles when relaxing outdoors.

Keep the mosquitoes away while gardening.

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Gardening and mosquitoes.

Being an avid gardener, it can get really buggy outdoors when picking fresh produce.

Keep all buckets and containers upside down so that they do not collect rain. Make sure watering cans are emptied after each use.

On the other hand, if your goal is to collect rain to re-use for watering your garden, be sure to keep a container lid on it once the rain has stopped falling.


When it rains, there is moisture.

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The first step in eliminating unwanted pests is to locate the water source that attracts them.

It's not always something you've done to create a mosquito haven in your yard.

Nature has a way of handling this on its own through rain.

Floods, pooling water on rocks and leaves, puddles forming on the earth are all sources for mosquitoes during rain seasons. Especially if the ground is so saturated it can't compensate for any extra water, fungus start to sprout along the damp surfaces.

Mosquitoes are only doing what they know how to do. Breed and feed.

The first and most important point here is to find all water sources and empty them.

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    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

      Very interesting. Now I wish I had bats hanging around.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      One of the advantages of living in the northwest is the scarcity of mosquitoes.....we had sun all summer long but few mosquitoes.

      Interesting information my friend. Thank you!

      bill

    • ehonhdouzi profile image

      ehonhdouzi 3 years ago

      hi, so interesting to read, how much time did you spend on this article,

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Very interesting. We had so many mozquitoes this year lots of rain. We put up a bat house. Voted up on your hub and shared.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi CrafttotheCore,

      Very interesting and useful article for all the places who experience these pesky mosquitoes. I have had two bad bites abroad in Turkey on my eye resulting in immediate medical attention. They are not a problem here with our weather however in Italy where we will be moving to is a different story! Thanks for these great ideas and tips I will be taking with us. I knew of some of them but always good to learn more preventative measures to take!

      Up, useful, interesting shared.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 3 years ago from Georgia

      Very useful article. About the only thing I don't do is the bats. We have had a very rainy year hear and the mosquitoes have been horrific, literally attacking at will. I wear long sleeves and pants at dusk and dawn if I'm walking the dog and I wear one of those off! mosquito repellant clip ons. They seem to work. Voted up and useful.

    • pamelareadz profile image

      Pamela Cornes 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Very interesting hub...I'll use some of these when I see standing water around.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 3 years ago from Citra Florida

      Good tips

      I seem to have a natural advantage, mosquitoes don't like me.

      Another source of standing water would be condensation from the air conditioner

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Crafty, living in Central Florida, I am constantly battling mosquitos. I installed a bat house in my backyard (they must be at least 15' high and face North), I keep unused containers upside down and I have camphor trees, which deter mosquitos. You can also rub the leaves of the camphor tree on your skin to repel the buggers. Another method is to hang a dryer sheet from your belt loop. I don't use them in my dryer because they gum up the screen, but I do keep them on hand for repelling mosquitos when I'm outside. I also use a product made by EcoSmart, which is an organic, plant-based mosquito repellent. I don't use chemicals in my yard or on my body. The run-off that affects our bodies of water is far more detrimental than dealing with mosquito bites. If interested, I wrote a hub a while back about natural mosquito repellents as an alternative to help preserve the environment.

    • pamelareadz profile image

      Pamela Cornes 3 years ago from Memphis, TN

      Great ideas bravewarrior...I'm going to try the dryer sheets too!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh mosquitoes. I hate those things! When I lived in NY, it was impossible for me to enjoy the outdoors because those pesty things tortured me. When I went hiking in a rainforest in Maui, I was COVERED with over 100 bites...AND I had skin-so-soft and Off on me, but they still managed to get me. I'm happy to say that here in Vegas we have no Mosquitos and if they do decide to make their way here, we have zillions of bats at night! yay! Well-written hub with great advice!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very useful tips for reducing the attractiveness of your yard to mosquitos. They aren't just pesky but potentially harmful, like you mention. I like the suggestion with respect to bats. They often get a bad rap and are very helpful to us.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Wetnose! LOL Most of the bats hang out in that barn in the picture above. I put my own bat house on a tree but I had to take it down after it got ruined in a storm. It hasn't stopped the bats from finding a safe haven around here in the woods though.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Billy, we've had awful mosquito issues in past years. It was so bad last year I couldn't enjoy my front porch at all where I like to hang out in the evening and watch the sunset. This year no mosquitos. The only thing I changed was getting rid of the planters around my house.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hello ehonhdouzi, I spend about 2-4 hours on an article depending on what I'm writing about. Sometimes it takes me 2 days to publish one article because I have to go out and get photos or do research for one. This particular one I already had photos so probably 2-3 hours. :D

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Moonlake, that is awesome! Thank you for stopping by my friend.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi Suzie! A bite to the eye sounds dreadful. I visited a place in New Hampshire once. It was a cabin on a lake. The mosquitos were the size of small dragonflies. Here they are much smaller. I imagine the bigger ones can certainly really leave a terrible wound.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Cyndi, very good suggestion about the off mosquito clips. I was actually going to try those out this year if it got to buggy around here but we were fortunate to ward them off this summer.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Pamela, that truly was my number one way of eliminating the little pests. I had some big empty planters last year and they kept filling up with water. They were definitely facilitating mosquito breeding.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Chef, very good observation about the AC! That is definitely true.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Thank you Brave! I will definitely check out your Hub! I was surprised to see so little mosquitos this year because we've had to battle them so diligently in the past. I am not sure if we have camphor trees here in CT. I'll have to look in to that. We live near the woods where there is an old waterfall. I always thought that was where all the mosquitos were coming from. But then after I got rid of all the empty flower pots around the house, I noticed we had no mosquitos at all. So, my theory about the waterfall must not have been accurate. It's something I must be doing here to attract them. Now I'm vigilant about looking for their breeding grounds.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Yes, I had never heard about the dryer sheet idea Pamela and Brave! It sounds easy enough.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi EP! My poor son attracts them like a bad habit. I don't know why they go right to him. There will be a group of us walking and he'll be the one covered in them. It's terrible. This year I welcomed the break from them because they carry such awful diseases around here.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi Flourish! Ever since I was a child, I have never been afraid of bats. One time there was a bat loose in my uncle's house. He was working the night shift so my aunt called me up to come catch it. LOL It was flying around like crazy in their log cabin. I couldn't catch it. Sadly, when a bat gets trapped in someone's house, the authorities have to capture it and put it down to test it for rabies. But bats do a tremendous job around here catching mosquitos.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting and useful suggestions. Water is the number 1 culprit that breeds mosquitoes.

    • ryanjhoe profile image

      ryanjhoe 3 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Thanks for the tips! Definitely need this because I live in tropical area and I have many plants on my backyard where mosquitos always buzzing there.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi Rajan! I found out the hard way last year when we couldn't even sit outside because of the rain water that collected around my flower pots. Thank you for commenting!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Ryan, thank you for commenting. It's very difficult to eliminate mosquitos anywhere it's tropical. I took a walk through the wilderness about 5 miles from my house and I was bit up relentlessly due to the rain water that had collected all over the walking trails.

    • SmartAndFun profile image

      SmartAndFun 3 years ago from Texas

      Great tips, Crafty. We get tons of mosquitoes here in Texas. We have only seen a bat here or there, but we have had good luck allowing barn swallows to nest on our front and back porches. Our neighbors shoo them away, but we even set out trays of mud to tempt the to build their mud nests on our house. They eat tons of mosquitoes and have mad a huge difference. We can sit out on the porch all evening and not get a bite!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      SmartandFun, that is awesome! We have barn swallows too. I never heard about setting out trays of mud for them. What a great idea! My sister is in TX around the Spring area. I've visited her several times there. Nice to see you. Thank you so much for commenting!

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      I have a small bit of standing water on my back deck, which I have to get rid of right now. Thanks for the reminder.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Thank you for commenting Olog. We had rains here that drew in some mosquitos. Thankfully I took my own advice for one so they didn't become a problem.

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