Here are some options for natural mosquito control that we’ve tried and tested. Some have worked better than others.
We live in a pretty mosquito-loving area with a woody backyard and many pools of mud around our development. So every year, we bring out the arsenal. The organic pest control arsenal that is.
I have rated our experiences with these mosquito repellents on a Mosquito Repellency Rating (MRR) of 1 to 10. 10 being the best. I’ve also tried to some links to sources for purchase. (Disclaimer: Some of the links are affiliates and support Permaculture Gardens.)
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1. EcoSmart Organic Mosquito Fogger
One of our early attempts at fogging out mosquitoes was the Ecosmart Organic Mosquito Fogger. This was a tough almost-chemical like experience. In fact it was so effective, it killed our squash plants as well as our mosquitoes! No thank you. We would rather suffer bug bites than lose our crops.
Active Ingredients: Geraniol.3.0%Rosemary oil2.0%Peppermint oil.0.4%Other ingredients*.94.6% *Water, Mineral oil (U.S.P.), Wintergreen oil, Polyglyceryl oleate, Lecithins, Nitrogen
2. Bug Zapper
We also bought a bug zapper. The brand we got was the Stinger Bug Zapper and at first, I liked it a lot because I could actually hear it zap the mosquitoes dead! However, when they “improved” the product (yes, we bought another one) the Stinger company made it all go quiet. I wasn’t quite sure we were zapping mosquitoes anymore. You simply plug (and now it comes cordless) and install an “octanol” lure that is supposed to attract the mosquitoes to the glowing LED lights.
The downers for me are that I am not certain how many mosquitoes I am killing (except for some dead carcasses inside the lamp) and that it only works within a small radius of about 2 feet. It can also kill other good bugs. Still, I like that it is generally passive and effective.
Another device with raving reviews is one that has been tested by the US military and found to be 98% effective in Korea and Honduras. It’s called the Thermacell MR-GJ Mosquito Repellent Outdoor and Camping Repeller Device and it works by warming up a mosquito repellent “mat.” The repllent mats last for up to 12 hours, using a derivative of allethrin to repel 98% of mosquitoes, black flies, and several other types of pests.
According to Cornell University Extension Toxicology Network, allethrin “is a synthetic duplicate of a component of pyrethrum. Pyrethrum is a botanical insecticide extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. Allethrin, the first synthetic pyrethroid, was introduced in 1949, and is a mixture of several isomeric forms.”
So I guess it must be good to plant a lot of chrysanthemums around your yard too! Make sure you buy the right kind of chrysanthemums though.
The radius around which this thermacell is effective in my experience is also pretty small. I would hazard a guess at around the same 2 feet as the bug zapper. However, we definitely feel a difference when working in the garden using this little device.
4. Mosquito dunks
If you have a fish pond, bird bath or pools of water in your yard we recommend these bacterial-based Summit 20-Pack Mosquito Dunks. According to Wikipedia, these bacteria, more specifically known as Bacillus thuringiensis serotype israelensis (Bti) “produce toxins which are effective in killing various species of mosquitoes, fungus gnats, and blackflies, while having almost no effect on other organisms.”
I would say, it is hard to measure its effectiveness since it is supposed to suppress the actual spawning of larvae and not existing populations. I think this is still a good supportive measure to take.
5. Mosquito Fish
Now if you can’t get around having standing water in your property don’t worry. Work with the water. Apart from using dunks in a pond, you can also aerate the ponds using a pump and add Mosquito Fish or gambusia affinis which eat mosquito larvae as well. Mosquito fish literally cost a few cents at your local fish store. Many fish stores carry it as they are feeder fish to larger fish that are considered “collector’s items.”
I have done this in a mini-fish pond I created but couldn’t quite tell if the mosquito fish were working as we also had frogs as guests that year. Frogs as you may know, love water and mosquitoes.
MRR: (yet to be determined)
6. Mosquito Coils
6. Mosquito Coils
Growing up in the land of mosquitoes: the Philippines, we used to burn these mosquito coils which we call “katol.” Unbeknownst to me, these were pretty bad chemical-wise. However, there is an organic Japanese version of these coils that can be bought online. The coils are also made from pyrethrum (see thermacell above) and are safe to use.
MRR: (unknown as I have not tried the organic kind yet)
7. Mosquito Gear
Finally, we have purchased a Sealike Camouflage Insect Head Net Beekeeper Anti-mosquito Bug Insect Fly Mask Cap Hat with Head Net Mesh and Mosquito Net. This has proven most effective for us these days when the bugs are in full force.
During our eldest daughter Zoe’s adenoid surgery, I was asked to suit up in a “disposable” germ-free operating room suit. I wore it but did not dispose of it. Instead, I had the idea to roll it up, stuff it in my purse and save it for later. What for? I figured it was hardly used and might serve to protect against… you guessed it! Mosquitoes!
I then gave the suit to my husband Dave to wear whenever he would go and work in the garden (since he is more prone to bug bites than I am). He loved it and wore that disposable suit to death.
Here he is below in an old instagram photo I took of him heading out to garden in the summer.
The point is, you can be creative.
What do you find to be effective against mosquitoes?
Please share your own natural mosquito-repellent thoughts below. We are guinea pigs for the latest anti-mosquito product and would love to hear from you!
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