July 16, 2018

Ward off backyard mosquitos the natural way

One of the benefits of living in our Preserve at Tidewater community is the natural beauty surrounding each home. Our neighborhood is nestled on the edge of a coastal forest, just feet away from Sneads Ferry’s peaceful marshlands. Each property’s backyard provides the ideal setting for friends and neighbors to gather for an outdoor meal on balmy summer nights. But just as guests are remarking at the calmness of the evening—the stillness only interrupted by the pulsing roar of cicadas—the swatting starts. Because this abundance of greenery and standing water also provides a home for our region’s irritating summer nuisance: the mosquito.

Female mosquitos can lay as many as 300 eggs at a time, so it’s no wonder they emerge in swarms during this season! And while the perks of our long Carolina summers well outweigh this pesky annoyance, the fact remains that nothing disrupts a summer cookout like trying to balance a plate of food in one hand while swatting mosquitos with the other. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep the insects away. You can take drastic measures and spray your backyard with DEET, but there are other methods to combat the bugs or double up your protection if you prefer the DIY route.

Trap them

Mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide; it’s how they locate their prey. You can create a mosquito catcher that emits a stream of carbon dioxide to draw the bugs in and trap them. Cut an empty 2-liter plastic soda bottle in half and invert the top so it functions like a funnel. Boil water and stir in a fourth cup of brown sugar until it’s dissolved. Let the mixture cool, add yeast, and pour it into your plastic bottle. The combination of sugar and yeast creates a flow of carbon dioxide, which lures mosquitos down your bottle’s funnel. Once inside, they’re trapped! Make a few of these and tuck them around your yard for the best results.

Repel them

You can fill your backyard with natural mosquito repellents—just pick ones that don’t also drive off your dinner guests! Plants are a safe bet, because they generally don’t give off a noticeable odor. Rosemary, catnip, feverfew, citronella grass, lavender, and peppermint are all said to keep mosquitos at bay thanks to their scents. But the protective power of the plants only appears to extend about 10 or 15 feet, so strategically place them where people might gather in order to make use of their olfactory impact.

Certain oils, like eucalyptus and citronella, also drive off mosquitos. Purchase these oils and a few blocks of wax from your local craft store. Melt the wax, mix in the oil and pour them into glass mason jars to make your very own rustic candles. When lit, the candles will keep the bugs at bay while creating a cozy ambiance for your dinner party!

Blow them away

You’ve probably heard that getting rid of stagnant water will reduce your mosquito population, because that’s where they lay their eggs. But stagnant air is another contributing factor; you might have noticed an uptick in insects when the breeze stops blowing. Keep the bugs away—and your dinner guests more comfortable—with an oscillating floor fan. Just attach the fan to an extension cord so you can bring it out into your backyard.

There are very few downsides to our long southern summers, but the emergence of mosquitos is one of them. With these tips, you can keep the pests away and fully enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you. If you’re interested in calling our coastal community home, contact us today!