The moment the sun begins to dip after a warm spring/ summers day your arms become magnets for one of the worst garden terrors – the mosquito!
I was going to use the adjective “humble” to describe this menace but there is no humility associated with mosquitoes. They’re aggressive, self-seeking, blood-sucking and virus-giving pests that can only be controlled by vigilant gardeners.
Responsible for malaria, dengue fever, Ross River virus and a host of other diseases they’re hardly on the barbeque invitation list. If you have ever experienced any of these diseases, either personally or via a friend, you’ll understand the importance of controlling mosquitoes.
So how do these critters breed and how can you control them?
The adult mosquito breeds after feeding heavily on human or animal blood by laying eggs in a vacant body of water. The eggs hatch within a week and the larvae is spawned. The mosquito larva goes through a process of “molting” and emerges as the pupae. After a few more days the pupae evolves as an adult and the process is continued.
If you want to control mosquitoes in your own backyard there are a few measures that can be taken to ensure their life cycle is interrupted.
- Empty any pots, buckets or containers that have water sitting idly. This includes saucers under your container plants.
- Empty your birdbaths and pet water containers at least once per week.
- If you have a pond or water feature keep it stocked with fish. Fish will eat the mosquito larvae and naturally control these menaces.
- Grow mosquito repelling plants. These include Pelargonium Citrosa, Basil and Rue.
- Dispose of unwanted rubbish that may likely store pools of water.
Vigilance is the answer to mosquito control and if you want a season where mosquitoes are not part of the picture then following these simple steps can help eradicate them.
Do Artificial Mosquito Repellents work?
We’ve had mixed success with many of these and it’s mainly due to the wind and smoke produced. Mosquitoes will stay clear of the smoke but are oblivious to it in other directions. So as long as you’re happy to have citronella candles smoking in your direction they probably are not worth the effort.
On the other hand, mosquito traps and zappers are quite effective in controlling mosquito populations.
However, the best solution is prevention and with any form of mosquito control stopping the source is far better than dealing with full-grown adult mosquitoes.