There are over 176 mosquito species in the US. The hardest-hit regions are the northeast and upper midwest. In addition, residents along the gulf coast also see their fair share of mosquitoes.
In this guide you’ll discover:
- How to Identify Mosquitoes
- Signs & Causes of Mosquito Infestations
- Best 8 Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away
- 10 Best Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes from Your Yard
- Top Recommended Mosquito Control Experts
- Additional FAQs
If trying to exterminate mosquitoes on your own becomes too challenging, we recommend Orkin, Terminix, and Aptive. These exterminators have some of the best trained professionals that are able to use traps, baits, and other chemically treated solutions that are often more effective than standard DIY methods.
Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management. He manages Pest Strategies now helping homeowners around the world!
Table of Contents
How to Identify Mosquitoes
Identifying each species is difficult due to their small size. However, there are some characteristics all mosquitoes share. For example:
- Mosquitoes are insects, meaning they have six legs
- Legs have five segments and are long compared to the body
- All mosquitoes have an extended proboscis (long tubular mouthpart)
- Mosquitoes have large forewings to provide constant flight
- Mosquitoes are tiny, measuring between 0.15 and 0.04 inches long
Mosquitoes carry diseases such as the West Nile virus and Zika. They are also known to spread malaria, dengue, and yellow fever.
Mosquitoes go through four lifecycle stages:
The adult female is the only one that takes a blood meal. This is a requirement, so she is strong enough to lay her eggs. One mating pair can multiply thousands of offspring over the course of a lifetime.
Due to the mosquito’s rapid reproduction rate, it’s essential to control its populations. But how do you do that?
The first line of defense is to limit the mosquito’s breeding areas. Then, you have to treat areas where mosquitoes live. Also, it’s important to utilize insect growth regulators to disrupt its lifecycle.
In the following sections, we’ll show you how to get rid of your mosquito problem quickly. Then, You’ll discover which pest control companies are the best to hire. Finally, we’ll answer the most commonly asked questions about mosquito control.
Signs & Causes of Mosquito Infestation
Some signs of mosquito infestation are clearly apparent; others aren’t. Here, we break it down in order, from the simplest evidence to the least obvious.
Increased mosquito activity
One or two mosquitoes flying around is no big deal. But if you see them start to enter your home, you may have a larger problem. It means they are seeking other food, moisture, and breeding sources to increase their populations.
Mosquito bites are an obvious sign of mosquitoes in your area. However, if your entire family is being devoured regularly, it may signal a major infestation.
If you look out across your yard and see mosquitoes swarming, it means they are getting ready to breed. And they chose your property to increase their numbers.
And then there are the causes of mosquito problems. Here again, we’ll start with the most obvious ones and finish with those that aren’t so common.
Warm, humid weather
Scientific studies point to mosquitoes preferring warmer weather for breeding. However, the humidity levels didn’t seem to matter as much. Still, some experts believe that humid weather lends itself to mosquito breeding since egg-laying females are less likely to get blown off course.
Plentiful breeding areas
There are two types of breeding areas for mosquitoes: natural and humanmade. Here are some examples:
Natural breeding areas
- Mosquitoes reproduce well in vegetated waterways
- Small ponds where there are no predators are also preferable
- Small, water-filled depressions in the soils are secondary breeding grounds
- Marshy areas where standing water and vegetation are abundant are preferred breeding locations for mosquitoes
Human-made breeding areas
- Neglected swimming pools filled with stagnant water are ideal breeding areas for mosquitoes
- Flood irrigation sites provide warm water and just the right amount of vegetation needed to sustain mosquito larvae
- Old tires filled with water provide perfect breeding areas
- Over-watered flower pots and buckets are also preferred mosquito breeding locations
Do coffee grounds work for mosquitoes?
Although mosquitoes may not enjoy the smell of coffee, there is no scientific evidence that it’s effective as a mosquito repellent.
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8 Best Ways To Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Home
While it is impossible to keep every flying insect from entering your home, you can at least slow them down. So here, we’ll show you how to keep mosquitoes outside where they belong.
1. Repair screens and thresholds
Mosquitoes can get into your home through a torn window or door screen. So, it’s best to repair or replace them. Also, don’t forget the door thresholds. Flying insects can sneak their way into those openings, also.
2. Fix plumbing leaks
That constant drip under your kitchen sink may be just what a mating pair of mosquitoes need to start a family. While this may not seem likely, it’s best not to leave anything to chance.
3. Avoid overwatering plants
Mosquitoes are drawn to excess moisture. So even if it isn’t a suitable breeding location, your overwatered plants could be a mosquito magnet. That’s why it’s best to water them only when necessary.
4. Turn on the fans
Mosquitoes prefer stagnant, humid air. Having your ceiling fans running will at least help deter them from landing on you. Also, consider a powerful floor fan to use either indoors or out on the patio.
5. Use indoor traps
Several varieties of mosquito traps are available for indoor use. These include:
- UV light traps. Mosquitoes are drawn to UV light sources. These traps use this simple attractant to draw in the mosquito and trap it permanently to a glue board or other sticky material.
- Vacuum traps. These combination mosquito traps utilize both UV light and suction to pull the mosquito in. Once in the chamber, it gets stuck to a small piece of sticky cardboard.
- Bug Zappers. Some mosquito traps kill the flying insect instantly once it gets close enough. These also utilize a UV attractant. When the mosquito gets close enough to touch the electrical element, it gets zapped with a low voltage, just enough to kill it.
6. Light the candles
Citronella candles can sometimes work to help chase mosquitoes away. There are other fragrances available besides citronella’s, such as eucalyptus and lemongrass. However, make sure your candles are labeled for indoor use.
7. Install mosquito netting
Many types of mosquito netting are available for indoor and outdoor use. They provide an extra layer of protection from mosquitoes, especially while you sleep. They’re handy for the baby’s room, on camping trips, and even while in the backyard in your hammock.
8. Keep your home cooler
If you find you’re fighting mosquitoes in your home during the summer months, you may try cooling things down a bit. You could start with a small window air conditioner if you don’t already have one. Or you may want to replace an evaporative cooler with a central air conditioning system. Either way, cooling the inside of your home while lowering humidity levels will go a long way in the fight against mosquitoes.
10 Best Ways to Eliminate Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Here are some useful DIY tips for removing mosquitoes from the outside of your home. Keep in mind, some of these suggestions require professional equipment and materials.
Look over the list below. If there is anything you don’t feel comfortable doing, you may need to get help. Sometimes, it’s best to hire a professional, especially if you have a large mosquito infestation on your hands.
1. Mow the lawn
Keeping your lawn mowed will help reduce puddling when you irrigate it. Also, shorter grass will attract fewer mosquitoes.
2. Remove tall weeds
The less vegetation around your home the better. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in the tiniest leaves. By eliminating tall weeds, you ensure that mosquito breeding areas are limited.
3. Eliminate standing water
Most mosquito species prefer to lay their eggs over standing water. So here are some ways you can limit stagnant water traps around your home:
- Empty swimming pools when not in use
- Clean gutters so they don’t back up and create water traps
- Clean areas of debris such as old tires and other items that can trap rainwater
- Cover holes and depressions in your backyard that can fill with water over time
4. Improve drainage
Instead of allowing water to drain and puddle in one area, it’s best to redirect it away from your house. A french drain will accomplish that, easily. It consists of a perforated pipe with small holes running along its entire length. Unlike conventional drainage, it allows for water to drain slowly and away from the home.
5. Install microbial larvicides
Some soils contain a toxic bacterial substance designated as BTi that targets only the larval stage of mosquitoes. There about 48 products currently using this EPA-approved microbial pesticide. And they are proven to kill mosquito larvae within 24 hours.
BTi is non-toxic to humans and animals. So, it is safe for fish and other aquatic wildlife. And it typically comes in solid wafers or pellets.
To use, drop the recommended dosage into any standing water source. It helps reduce mosquito larvae in birdbaths, ponds, and rain barrels. It’s even safe to use in animal watering troughs.
6. Spray outdoor areas with a residual insecticide
Spray the entire yard with a residual outdoor spray insecticide labeled for mosquitoes. Also, be sure to treat wild vegetation, trees, and plants that may harbor mosquitoes. This technique will give long-lasting protection through the peak season and beyond.
7. Treat breeding areas with an insect growth regulator
By adding an insect growth regulator (IGR) to your residual insecticide, you give yourself a much better chance for long-term mosquito control. A quality IGR will disrupt the lifecycle of mosquitoes. And it will slow down populations so that you can control infestations much faster than without it.
8. Utilize outdoor mosquito traps
Having traps in your backyard will not completely get rid of mosquitoes. However, they will help draw them away from you, your family, and your guests. Here are some of the most current offerings available:
Carbon dioxide traps
The latest innovation in mosquito control is the carbon dioxide trap. It uses a catalytic converter to convert propane into carbon dioxide (CO2). Some models also use other attractants such as UV light, heat, and octenol. The maximum range of most carbon dioxide traps is one acre.
UV light traps
Outdoor UV light traps are about the same as indoor traps. They utilize UV light to attract mosquitoes. Once inside, they get stuck to a glue board permanently. Most users hang them from a porch or balcony to draw mosquitoes away from outdoor social gatherings.
Bug zappers are still the favorite method for reducing mosquitoes outdoors. You can choose from several models and sizes. And they’re easy to install and use. However, bug zappers can be noisy and challenging to clean.
9. Apply outdoor mosquito repellents
Aside from using bug sprays like DEET, you can repel mosquitoes from your yard. Several natural insect repellents are available for outdoor use. And many use essential oils as their active ingredient.
Sprays made with peppermint oil are excellent for chasing away adult mosquitoes. Besides natural mosquito sprays, there are also pellets and granules available. These are also safe to use around your home and typically come with a convenient shaker container.
10. Use citronella candles
Citronella is a worthy rival to chemical insect repellents. And you can use these candles anywhere. They can even be set up as torches for evening outdoor events like weddings and cookouts.
Top Recommended Companies
Sometimes, it’s best to hire a pest control company to help you with your mosquito problem. Here, we highlight the top three in the US. However, keep in mind that mosquito control services may not be available in all areas.
- Terminix starts by identifying signs of mosquito infestation by completing a thorough inspection of your home or business. It then utilizes the latest treatment methods to ensure pests don’t return. Also, you can trust Terminix to deliver the most flexible service options on time, every time.
- Aptive Environmental is a growing company offering pest control services in 26 states. The main focus of Aptive is to deliver eco-friendly mosquito control safely. Also, it guarantees its services by offering return visits when needed.
- Orkin. To reduce mosquito populations, Orkin technicians rely on their advanced training. They utilize the best fogging equipment to reduce mosquito populations no matter the size of your property. And it backs up its all services with a 30-day guarantee.
Mosquito Control FAQs
Can mothballs kill mosquitoes?
Mothballs are strictly for repelling moths from your closets. They contain the chemical naphthalene, which is also sometimes used as a paint thinner. For that reason, you should use caution and follow label directions.
Another reason mothballs should never be used for mosquitoes is that they’re meant to the used in confined spaces. They’re not a broadcast pesticide. It would be too dangerous to use them that way.
Are marigolds good to repel mosquitoes from the yard?
Merely planting a bunch of plants like marigolds, catnip, and rosemary are not going to repel mosquitoes from your backyard. However, there is some evidence that crushing the flowers into oil-based substances will help. However, they first have to be carefully formulated to be effective.
What are the best natural mosquito repellents?
Recent studies show that some natural repellents containing essential oils are even more effective than DEET. Some of those substances include:
- Tea tree oil
Several products are available that show excellent results in the fight against mosquito bites. However, it’s best to read the label directions carefully. Also, some of these formulas are not suitable for children under three years of age.
Do coffee grounds work for mosquitoes?
Although mosquitoes may not enjoy the smell of coffee, there is no scientific evidence that it’s effective as a mosquito repellent. However, you may have read that it is. So, where did this rumor get started?
In 2009, the EPA published a blog post touting the benefits of recycling coffee grounds. It stated the there were many uses for used coffee grounds, including sprinkling them in a garden as a fertilizer and composting.
The last sentence of that section read, ” In the case of insects like ants, slugs, and snails, the odor works as a repellant.” Many readers took that to mean mosquitoes, also. However, mosquitoes were never mentioned in the article.
How to keep babies mosquito-free?
Most insect repellents are not labeled for children and three years of age. So, what do you do to protect your baby or infant from the ravages of mosquitoes? Try these natural methods instead:
- Mosquito netting is by far the safest way to protect your small child while they sleep. You can purchase some that go over a crib, stroller or set up like a tent on the floor while they play.
- Keep babies inside during dawn or dusk. This will protect them during peak times when mosquito bites occur the most.
- Cover babies during peak mosquito season. While it’s tempting to keep small children cool by removing clothing, that’s the worst thing to do during mosquito season. So instead, opt for lighter clothing that covers their arms and legs.
- Baby lotion may help. Applying baby lotion with the scent of lavender may help better than regular scents. The reason is, mosquitoes aren’t too fond of the smell of flowery fragrances.