Learn about mosquitoes in the garden and yard and how to control them.
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The only critters that loved the flooding this spring were some fish species and mosquitoes. In fact, it’s gearing up to be a doozy of a mosquito season.
While the mosquito season has been delayed because of high lake and stream levels, once the waters recede, the warm, stagnant pools left behind will be a perfect mosquito breeding ground. It won’t take long for the mosquitoes to start ruining your summer picnics. They can go from egg to adult in about a week under the right conditions. Plus, there have been reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus disease in Vermont. It’s enough to make a gardener want to build a greenhouse.
So how can you enjoy your gardens without becoming lunch? First, drain or remove any standing water in your yard. This could be in small buckets, old tires, or rain gutters. Every little bit helps reduce the breeding area. Consider using Bacillus thuriengensis mosquito dunks in water gardens and pools. This bacteria kills mosquito larvae before it becomes an adult and is safe for the environment.
To control adult mosquitoes, use carbon dioxide emitting traps that lure them in to be killed. Avoid those bug zappers, though, since they kill more beneficial insects than mosquitoes. Burn citronella candles in areas you’ll be working. Wear a hat, dark clothes and no perfumes or scented deodorants. Mosquitoes love those. Don’t bother with mosquito repelling plants such as citronella geraniums. They only work if you rub the leaves on your skin. Speaking of which, some people have had success rubbing garlic; clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon oil; or Skin so Soft lotion on their skin. Visit (our) the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio Facebook page and let us know what mosquito repellents you’ve found effective.
Now for this week’s tip, it’s time to spray beneficial nematodes on lawns to kill the grubs that will later turn into Japanese and other beetles. Spray in the early evening and water the nematodes in well.