Green Tip #12- Battling Mosquitoes
Scratch my itch
How do you combat mosquitoes?
How to choose a bat house
How to build a bat house
Today’s topic really gets under my skin… mosquitoes! Did you know Florida is number two in all of the US of A to boast the highest percentage of retirees per capita? If you’re a full time resident, that comes as no surprise, I’m sure. And I would venture to say all who live here full time would agree we’re number one for the highest percentage of mosquitoes per capita, huh? OK, enough banter, I’m itching to get on with
Green Tip #12 - Battling Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are nasty little creatures, thriving on stagnant water – and blood! One way you can deter them from breeding in your yard is to make sure all unused open containers, such at pots and garbage cans are covered or turned upside down so water doesn’t collect. Keeping your yard free of leaves, especially those that collect around the perimeter of your house, collecting rainwater is another deterrent.
A very green and effective way of keeping the mosquito population down is to install bat houses on your property. Yes, I actually recommend encouraging bats to share your space. As you know, bats are nocturnal; coming to life under the cover of darkness to feed on night flying insects. A single little brown bat consumes hundreds of mosquito sized insects an hour. Contrary to popular belief, bats are very clean animals and do not attack humans or animals. They live on bugs, which is why many farmers install bat houses on their barns and throughout their crop producing fields. Unfortunately, people’s misconception about bats has led to their decline. Installing bat houses will give them a home, encourage growth in population, and cut down on your yard pests.
Bat houses should be installed at least 15’ above ground (the higher the better), facing south to southeast to take advantage of the morning sun. An ideal placement is on poles, although bat houses can also be installed on sides of buildings and tall trees, without obstruction. I’ve attached a picture of my bat house, installed on a huge oak tree in my back yard.
While installing bat houses will reduce the mosquito population, it won’t eliminate them, so I will share some tips to keep the uninvited guests from spoiling your evening soirees.
· A few tips back, I warned against using fabric softener sheets in your dryer. Don’t throw them away! Take a dryer sheet and hang it through your belt loop. Mosquitoes do not like the smell and will leave you alone. Or loop one through each arm of an outdoor chair.
· If you have camphor trees in your yard, take a leaf and break it open. Rub the leaf on your skin. Camphor trees are natural mosquito repellents.
· Rub Avon’s Skin So Soft on your exposed body parts. Skin So Soft contains picaridin, a safer alternative to DEET.
· Fill a spray bottle with antiseptic mouthwash and spray the lawn and deck area or whatever area in which people congregate outdoors. I didn’t believe it myself until I tried it. It works!
Alas, these pesky, annoying creatures will still find a way to bite. When you do get bitten, take you fingernail and press a deep cross into the welt. It instantly relieves the itch. My mother taught me this trick when I was a little girl and it works! If you have access to it, you can also swath the bite with rubbing alcohol to relieve the itch.
Well, that’s about it for this week. You’ll have to excuse me while I go spread some cow manure!
See you next week!
Shauna L Bowling
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