How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Backyard
Mosquitoes: They're the bane of every hike, backyard barbecue, and outdoor movie night. And it seems no matter what you try, at least one delicious person ends up with plenty of mosquito bites by the end of the night.
We can't entirely eradicate them—with over 3,500 mosquito species worldwide, and more than 400 here in the U.S., they're here to stay. But there are definitely things you can do to avoid having them ruin your next s'mores night around the campfire—and keep yourself mosquito bite-free.
Why Mosquitoes Bite
It may feel like it, but we're not a mosquito's favorite meal. "Many mosquitoes wouldn't bite a person—they bite frogs, birds, lizards," says Dina Fonseca, Ph.D., chair of the department of entomology at Rutgers University. "But we've domesticated them to realize that we're a source of blood." That's especially true of some invasive mosquito species, like the Asian tiger mosquito, which are the most likely to be the ones biting you. "They're becoming very large populations, because they don't have any competitors or predators and can exploit the environment."
Mostly, mosquitoes live on the sugar from plants—and they actually help pollinate some flowers, Fonseca says. "Only female mosquitoes bite—they're little moms getting blood to be able to make eggs. They use the blood to feed the eggs."
How to Prevent Mosquitoes in Your Backyard
There are ways to make your yard less enticing to mosquitoes—and fortunately, most of them just require a little work (and no money!) on your part.
How to Prevent Mosquito Bites—and Treat Them
Even if you're super-vigilant about mosquitoes, odds are you'll still find a few attracted to you and your guests. But there are some methods that you can use to make yourself less attractive.
What Doesn't Work Against Mosquitoes
Some of the most commonly used mosquito deterrents don't do a whole lot to stop mosquitoes—so you might want to reconsider using some of these.