How to get rid of mosquitoes – SFGATE

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Ditch the bug repellent for these better ways to control mosquitoes
Mosquitoes, as most people know, can carry a variety of scary diseases including dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, Chikungunya, and West Nile virus. They’ll also shut down any party they find in a manner of minutes if allowed.
To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home ensure all your screens are secure and undamaged (no rips or tears). And, as mothers everywhere have been telling their offspring for years, keep exterior doors closed.
If mosquitoes do manage to get inside and out of control, an indoor fogger could solve your problem. If you choose to use one of these, be sure to follow the instructions on the label. To thwart the stray pest or two, keep an electric tennis racket style swatter around. Controlling mosquitoes outside though can be more difficult, especially if you have a lot of bushes and flower beds where they can hide out and make mosquito babies.
Due to a series of unfortunate (bad breakup, plus the aimlessness, lack of direction of youth) and fortunate (job at the Alley Theatre) events, I lived in Houston, Texas during the 1990s and early aughts. Houston, a huge, sprawling city built around (and sometimes on top) of four bayous, sits below sea level. This means that living there is akin to living in a swamp – as it especially feels during the summer months. People who have never been to Texas usually don’t realize just how big and diverse a city Houston is; nor do they quite comprehend just how hot and humid it is most of the time. Houston weather is not well suited for people but it is perfect as far as mosquitoes are concerned.
I bought my first house in Houston; a 1950s wood bungalow in the historic Heights neighborhood (this was well before it became as trendy as it is today in 2022). Like most properties in the Bayou City, there was no basement (because of flooding concerns). The house sat on a pier and beam construction with a crawl space underneath. A few days after I closed, I discovered a pool of water in this crawl space; in other words, a mosquito breeding camp.
Any standing water is a mosquito breeding ground. This includes bird baths, tree stumps, debris-filled gutters, kiddie pools, any can or bottles left lying about, and even overwatered grass. If you live in a swamp, make sure to check under your house for any place where water may be pooling – from rain or, as in my case, a leak in your water main.
Made from bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis (bti), these pellet donuts (or dunks) are non-toxic to children, pets, fish, and wildlife. Bti is a bacterium that is lethal to mosquito larvae. Float dunks in ponds, birdbaths, or any place with standing water where they will slowly release the bacterium. One dunk will treat 100 square feet of water for 30 days. 
Another non-toxic way to keep mosquitoes controlled, especially if you have a water feature or pond, is to encourage dragonflies to move in. They are natural predators of mosquitoes; one dragonfly can consume hundreds of mosquitoes a day.
They don’t require a water mansion, either. They’ll set up even in small plastic wading pools. Water plants like eelgrass, pondweed, and water lilies all make for a well-equipped dragonfly environment. Dragonflies lay their eggs on submerged plants and young dragonfly nymphs need aquatic foliage to make their way to the surface.
Flat rocks for adult dragonflies to sun themselves on and some border plants will make your backyard even more inviting to these pest-controlling insects.
There are also plants that repel mosquitoes. Lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, and lemongrass all repel mosquitoes and offer a relatively effective, natural, non-toxic way to prevent mosquitoes from taking over your yard. I grew lavender, lemongrass, and mint all along the fence in my backyard in Houston.
Most every back patio or porch in Houston features at least a couple of citronella candles. I bought them from Home Depot in bucket form but they’re available in a variety of containers and sizes. While citronella candles do not kill mosquitoes, they will repel them – for a limited time. For best results, create a barrier around your porch or outdoor sitting area with the candles placed about 18 inches apart.
Citronella is distilled from grasses, like lemongrass, that work by masking the scents that mosquitoes are attracted to (like humans). Though there are no specific scientific studies that support the effectiveness of citronella candles, I’ve always found them to work moderately well. 
This little device emits a scent-free, non-toxic repellent that creates a 15-foot mosquito-free zone on your patio or porch. When turned on, the Thermacell Repeller heats up, activating the synthetic allethrin formula in the replaceable blue mat. This formula works by disrupting the mosquito’s sensor system.
Each fuel cartridge lasts for twelve hours and each repellent mat for four hours. Refills for both are available for around $40.
To use, attach the bottle of concentrated formula to a garden hose and spray, making sure to target shrubs and low trees – any dark, damp space that mosquitoes like to hang out and party in. One 32-ounce bottle covers up to 5,000 square feet and each application lasts eight to twelve weeks.
Note: This product is harmful to humans and animals if swallowed. After spraying, make sure to keep pets away from the treated area until it’s dried. Do not apply directly to any sewer or drain. New York state law prohibits use on lawns that are within 100 feet of a coastal marsh area.
Whatever method you decide to use, make sure to follow the instructions and read any safety warnings on the labels. 
When I had a yard, I implemented a multi-pronged approach to mosquito control, using dunks, plants, dragonflies, the Thermacell Repeller, and the occasional citronella candle (or two) – which, even in the swamp that is Houston, worked incredibly well.

At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.

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