Friday, August 5, 2011

The Green Path of Mosquitos

I have been dealing with a mosquito army in a nonchalant way until two days ago when I came inside with so many itchy welts on my legs and arms that I had to drench myself with alcohol and then take a shower. When I get mosquito bites, I usually get upset then I'll end up going right back outside because my love for nature makes me easily forget her creations like the tiniest little black flying insect that can just about take the life of a big human.

Having a number of citronella candles burning and then plastering myself with citronella essential oils usually does the job but its so strong that even Midnite- the dog - will run away from me. I noticed that he is a main attraction for those damn pests. They hoover all around his big, furry, warm body looking for blood to suck. Lucky for him, nature protects him naturally because it is difficult to find his skin through his fur. 

The back deck is my favorite outdoor spot, no matter how hot or late it is. I find myself telling Midnite to not wake up the mosquitos but I realize that the best way to get them is to reach their home before they reach mine. The dampness under the deck provides a cozy place for them to multiply and build their mosquito kingdom.  I'm waiting on my handyman to come and clean under the deck and to also clear behind the shed where growth is throwing a party. It's been two weeks now and I may have to fire him.

I came across 4 very simple solutions to this mosquito madness that  are eco-friendly.

1) Stop mosquito growth before it happens. The best mosquito killer is preventing them from arriving in the first place. Try to minimize or eliminate any areas of open water in your garden or under your house that might be places for mosquitoes to lay and grow their eggs (they’ll either lay them on the water surface or on the ground next to it.) Check out bird baths, old tires, rain barrels, streams and ponds, ditches, unused swimming pools, outdoor tubs, flower pots and vases, and roof gutters.

2) Everything citronella. Citronella candles are famously capable of keeping away mosquitoes. Burning one on a nearby table or bench as you enjoy yourself does a pretty good job of keeping the pesky critters away. Citronella is actually a six foot high grass that grows in more tropical locations, and which might be feasible to plant if you have the space and proper climate.

3) Plant mosquito repellent herbs and plants. Did you know catnip is one of the most powerful mosquito repellent plants available? Studies have shown it can be many times more effective than DEET. Another good herb to use is rosemary. Non-herb plants you can use include ageratum and marigolds (mosquitoes hate ageratum in particular.) Plant these herbs and plants in your yard and crush some of their leaves while you are nearby to enjoy protection, since the mosquitoes can’t smell them otherwise.

4) Use Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelenis bacteria. Known as Bti for short, this bacteria will infect and kill mosquito, gnat, and black fly larvae. Bti is very picky and won’t harm anything else including other insects, fish, birds, worms, or mammals. They’re easy to apply and use. You can buy them as a dunk to submerge in standing water, or buy the bacteria in bits that you can scatter across your garden. They start working within 24 hours, serving as one very effective mosquito killer.

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