November 2002 Magazine
Mosquitos are responsible for the deaths and illness of millions of people and animals through the transmission of diseases. Some of the diseases they carry include malaria, yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, dog heartworm and the West Nile Virus. WNV is relatively new in the US and also infects our wildlife. People, horses, pets and wild birds have died from this disease.are two non-chemical products which use liquid garlic to repel mosquitoes. The active ingredient, 99.3 percent garlic juice, kills off mosquitoes in the nymph stage. Sulfur, which is also present in the garlic, acts as a repellent on the adults. Garlic juice has been used for over a hundred years on garden plants to keep insects away.
Safety from West Nile Virus lies in eliminating whatever mosquitoes you can and in protecting yourself and your pets from those which survive and may carry disease. This article presents some actions you can take and some products you can use to prevent breeding, kill adult and immature mosquitoes, repel them from your property and your person, and keep them out of the house.
The products mentioned here have not been tested by the author, but have been included as examples of what is available. Testimonials for many of them can be found on their websites.
Preventing Mosquito Breeding
Eliminating the water in which mosquitoes breed is the preferred and primary method of control. Mosquitoes need water to develop, so lack of standing water means no mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a thimble full of standing water, so it is important to identify and remove as many sources of stagnant water as possible. Each source eliminated helps reduce the current population, as well as the numbers in future generations. Some of the things that can be done include:
- Draining nearby ponds, small wet areas or containers where static (standing) water accumulates, or contacting local authorities for information on how to prevent or eliminate mosquito larvae from them.
- Stocking ornamental ponds with fish that eat mosquitoes.
- Filling in low areas in the yard and holes in trees that catch water.
- Disposing of plastic containers, tin cans, ceramic pots, buckets or similar water-holding containers or covering them.
- Covering trash containers.
- Emptying standing water from old tires or discarding them.
- Drilling holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling and trash containers.
- Cleaning clogged roof gutters and spouts on a regular basis.
- Changing the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet dishes several times a week.
- Turning over wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Keeping swimming pools, hot tubs and outdoor saunas clean and chlorinated or draining and covering them.
- Keeping drains and ditches clear of weeds and trash so water will not collect.
- Removing standing water from flat roofs.
- Screening rain barrels and openings to water tanks or cisterns.
Larvicides - Mosquito Larvae Killers
If it is impossible to eliminate all sources of standing water, then larvae killers (larvicides) may be of help. Both chemical and biological larvicides are available.
Two biological products are Mosquito Bits and Mosquito Dunks which contain Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria that feed on mosquito larvae.
- Mosquito Bits are small granules containing the Bti bacteria that are spread on the water surface. The larvicide granules gradually settle in the water where they are eaten by mosquito larvae. Mosquito Bits will give a quick kill, usually within 24 hours. A seven to fourteen day interval between applications is recommended. For longer term control, Mosquito Dunks can be used after applying Mosquito Bits.
- Mosquito Dunks are 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick, with a small hole in the center. They contain the same larvicide as Mosquito Bits. The Dunks float on top of the water and will be effective for approximately 30 days. While floating, they slowly release the larvicide that settles in the water where it is eaten by mosquito larvae. Alternate wetting and drying will not reduce their effectiveness. The center hole can be used to anchor the dunks in place with a string or stake.
Another non-chemical larvicide contains mainly mineral oil. Sprayed on the surface of the water, it works by suffocating the larvae.
Mosquito Larvicide, available from Extremely Green, kills larvae and pupa stages of mosquitoes. It is designed for surface application to intermittently flooded areas, catch or sewer basins, ditches, stagnant pools and ponds. Containing(98%) mineral oil, it does not smear or deface the environment. Since mosquitoes can hatch in 5 to 7 days of warm weather, any exposed stagnant water should be treated. May not be sold in New York state.
Repelling Mosquitoes On Your Property
Garlic Barrier and Mosquito Barrier
Garlic is absorbed through the pores of plant foliage and travels systemically throughout the entire plant. The juice doesn't harm humans or pets, but can be deadly to small insects. A mosquito's sense of smell is about 10,000 times better than humans. As long as they can detect the sulfur and garlic extract they will stay away from the sprayed area - for up to a month and more.
Mosquito Barrier is also a larvicide. When mixed with canola oil or soybean oil, it coats standing water with a very thin film of natural oils. This oil suffocates the mosquito larvae which are developing in the water.
Mosquito Barrier kills adult mosquitoes on contact, the garlic coated plants keep mosquitoes out of the area and it suffocates any mosquito larvae in standing water.
Some sources for Mosquito Barrier are Extremely Green and Ray Meeseman Co. It is also marketed as Victor's Mosquito Barrier in many hardware and garden centers and Mosquito Barrier Yard Spray available at KMart stores.
Outdoor Adult Mosquito Killers
What attracts biting insects to people? There are an estimated 400 chemicals emitted from human skin and about 100 volatile compounds in each human breath that mosquitoes can detect. The combination and amount of chemicals given off is believed to be why some people are more readily bitten than others. Carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat that result from breathing are believed to be a major factor. Mosquitoes also need cholesterol and B vitamins and this may affect their choice of hosts for their blood meals.
Bug zappers and devices which electrocute flying insects are ineffective in managing mosquitoes. Researchers testing these devices found few mosquitoes among the insects killed by them. Ultrasonic devices and incense are also ineffective. Bats and birds do eat mosquitoes, but can't be considered an effective form of control.
The first 2 devices below use carbon dioxide, generated inexpensively from a propane or butane tank (those used with barbecues), to attract adult mosquitoes and then trap and kill them. When a person exhales, their carbon dioxide and other odors mix to produce a plume which mosquitoes follow. These devices mimic the breathing of humans and mammals.
Preventing Entry Into the House
There are a number of things which can be done to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house.
Personal and Bird Protection Measures
Mosquito repellents containing DEET are considered the most effective on the market, but studies on rats indicate that prolonged use may result in damage or death of brain cells. So repellents containing DEET should not be used for extended periods or on children whose tender skin quickly absorbs the product.
Neem Products repel and affect the development of mosquitoes. In a study, two percent neem oil mixed in coconut oil, when applied to exposed body parts of human volunteers, provided complete protection for 12 hrs. from bites of all anophelines. Kerosene lamps containing 0.01-1% neem oil, lighted in rooms containing human volunteers, reduced mosquito biting activity as well as the mosquitoes resting on walls in the rooms; protection was greater against Anopheles than against Culex. Effectiveness of mats with neem oil against mosquitoes has also been demonstrated; the vaporizing repelled mosquitoes for 5-7 hrs at almost negligible cost.
Permethrin, citronella, cedar oil and geraniol have also been used to repel mosquitoes.
Andrew Weil, MD's website, with information and products for optimum health and wellness, offers some information on repellents. He mentions garlic solutions and Skin-So-Soft, made by Avon, a moisturizing lotion that mosquitoes hate. Also mixtures of essential oils such as pennyroyal oil and eucalyptus which he believes are moderately effective. Where mosquitoes are abundant, he suggests neem oil, which in one study provided significant protection for up to 12 hours. He also mentions another study in which lemongrass and citronella oils each provided almost complete protection against most mosquitoes.
Garlic Barrier Facts|
Mosquito Barrier Facts
Gempler's Non-chemical Mosquito Control
Gempler's - Mosquito Bits
Gempler's - Mosquito Dunks
Gempler's Garlic Barrier Insect Repellent
Gempler's Inc. Mosquito Repellents (Deet)
Gempler's Mosquito & Gnat Repellent
Gempler's - MosquitOFF Mosquito & Insect Killer
Extremely Green Gardening Company
Extremely Green - Organic Mosquito Control Guide
Extremely Green - Garlic Barrier Insect Repellent
Extremely Green - Mosquito Barrier
Extremely Green - Mosquito Larvicide
Extremely Green - DEET-Free Botanical Outdoor Gel
Ray Meesseman - Garlic & Mosquito Barrier Repellents|
Ray Meesseman - Garlic & Mosquito Barrier Facts
Ray Meesseman - EquuSkreen
Ray Meesseman - SkinSkreen
Mosquito Magnet Website
Mosquito Magnet - What attracts biting insects to people?
Mosquito Magnet Depot - Mosquito Magnet
Frontgate - Mosquito Magnet
Compact Appliances - Lentek Mosquito Trap
Compact Appliances - Lentek Portable Mosquito Contro
Lentek - Lentek Mosquito Trap
Neem Tree Farms - About NEEM
CNN - Mosquitoes have discriminating tastes
Hungry to Be Mosquito-Free?
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