Needing water to thrive, Calgary has been the perfect place for mosquitos to live as of late — much to the annoyance of any resident that isn’t heavily armed with long sleeves and several cans of mosquito spray. While those buzzing little pests are a total nuisance and potential carriers of the West Nile Virus, there are a few things Calgarians can do in their yards and gardens to keep those nasty little bloodsuckers at bay.
Whether left over from rainfall or watering your lawn, be sure to check items such as pots, buckets, wheelbarrows and children’s toys for standing water as all it takes is some water, soil or leaves and water standing for one to two weeks to breed mosquitos. If you have a pond in your yard, head to the local garden store and purchase Bacillus Thuringiensis liquid; it’s a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae but won’t harm animals and humans. For low-lying areas in the yard where water might collect, use fill dirt and top with grass seed or sod.
Birds, Blooms and Bats
Decorate your yard with bird feeders and bird and bat houses encouraging feathered and winged friends to frequent the area. Birds and bats are a natural predator to mosquitos and will help keep the pest population down. Planting flowers also encourages birds, as well as another mosquito predator — the dragonfly — to hang out in your yard. Plants like rosemary, marigolds and catnip also help naturally keep bugs away.
Mind Your Maintenance
Keeping a maintained yard is one of the first lines of defense in keeping those mosquitos away from the home. Keep the yard mowed, hedges trimmed and garden and pots weeded, removing any appealing places for mosquitos to take up residence. It’s also important to make sure your gutters are cleaned and maintained as gutters clogged with leaves and other debris are the perfect spot for mosquitos to lay their eggs. When outside, light citronella candles to keep bugs at bay; just be sure to watch the little ones and not to leave flames unattended.
Insecticides can be utilized in the yard using hand spraying, yard foggers or even time-release systems. Any number of sprays can be purchased from garden centres or home improvement stores including environmentally friendly sprays such as EcoSMART Flying Insect Killer and homemade soap spray.
When hanging out in the yard, watch what you’re wearing. Mosquitos tend to be attracted to bright floral colours — especially blue — so donning more neutral tones such as khaki, beige and white will help keep pests off your back. Other options to keep bugs at bay include the homeopathic Mozi-Q — a chewable pill low in Vitamin C and D potencies reducing the frequency of bites, or mosquito repellant patches.
Dawn and Dusk
Primetime for mosquitos to be out and about in the world is first thing in the morning and in the evening as these are the times female mosquitos have, according to the westnile.info website, a biological reaction to seek a “host” — the host being, in this case, Calgarians . Avoid the hoards by staying indoors during these times.