Summer is a mere month away, and with warm weather, you can expect many different bugs and arachnids to come crawling, buzzing, or creeping about. Mosquitoes, in particular, come out in droves, and anyone who has ever been outside (so, everyone) knows just how much of a nuisance they can be. Once they enter your home late at night, you’re bound to wake up with lots of welts and swellings, and there’s even a very real danger of you getting infected with a dangerous disease.
Here at HomeyVille, we tend to focus on everything that can improve your life, and that includes getting rid of insects that scurry about your home. Ants are a common problem, as are various spiders, scorpions, and other arachnids. But while ants and spiders can be irritating, they can’t cause nearly as much damage as an average mosquito can. Therefore, I decided to provide you with a handy guide to help you get rid of any mosquitoes in your home.
Of course, the text will focus on the house itself, but I’ll also provide some useful tips for your yard, since yards and gardens tend to be the likely cause for sudden mosquito invasions.
Common Breeding Grounds of Mosquitoes
Every single breed of mosquito has one thing in common — they all love standing water. When they find a steady water source, these insects lay their eggs underneath its surface. Their larvae hatch underwater as well, and the males tend to stick around due to the rich plant life and the abundance of plant juices. Interestingly, both male and female mosquitoes eat plant nectar and aphid honeydew, but it’s only the females that can drink human and animal blood.
So, what are some of the common standing water locations near you that can have a whole scourge of bloodsuckers? Well, ponds and small lakes are a good start, especially if they have an abundant plant ecosystem. However, mosquitoes can also gather around slow-moving streams, since the current isn’t strong enough to carry them and their eggs off. In addition, temporary bodies of water like puddles and ditches are perfect for larval growth.
Of course, there could be other sources of still water that aren’t necessarily natural. For instance, if I were to fill a bucket of water and leave it out for a few days, there’s a strong chance that an insect will lay its eggs there. The same goes for damp flowerpots, untreated canals and gutters, or even wooden objects sodden with moisture.
Now that we know a little bit more about these irritating buzzers, let’s discuss how we can get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your House — a Detailed Guide
1. Preventing Entry
Most of the time, a mosquito will enter the house simply because it can. Every home has dozens of cracks, holes, and chinks through which insects can crawl and find a warm, moist new environment to live in. And considering how small mosquitoes tend to be, they don’t really need a big opening to get in.
Obviously, fixing any cracks in walls, doors, and windows is a must. But sometimes, mosquitoes can fly through a clear gap between the door and the floor, for example. In case your own front door has that problem, I suggest getting a good door strip; they are easy to install, not too expensive, and they get the job done.
- 10-inches high and easy to adjust
- Fits 25-45-inches wide
- Extra Sturdy, Tenoned Corners Keep Screens Square
- Galvanized Rails, And Varnished Wood Ends
Of course, you can always get a decent screen for either doors or windows. In fact, you can even find DIY instructions online and build your own handy anti-insect screens. It’s a small addition to your house, but it will keep the insects away while you let that cool outdoor air in at night.
2. Mosquito-Repelling Plants
Some plants and herbs provide a natural defense against mosquitoes. All you need to do is get a few stalks and place them strategically around the house. The list of these plants includes:
- Lemon balm
The cool thing about these plants is that you can actually take their leaves and rub them into your skin. That way, you’ll have a natural insect repellent. Obviously, you won’t be rubbing any garlic onto you, but you can always break it down and mix it in a bowl with other plants listed here. Then you’ll have your very own mosquito-repelling bowl of sweet scents, like potpourri.
3. Other Natural Anti-Mosquito Solutions
Camphor oil doesn’t necessarily have the most pleasant aroma out there. However, it is guaranteed to get rid of any insects in a matter of minutes if you apply it properly.
One option is to buy camphor oil tablets and place them around the room. They will take little time to fully evaporate and your room will be free from any bloodsuckers. The other option is to light some camphor oil on fire and leave it like that for about 20 minutes (but make sure to supervise it). Not only will this get rid of the insects, but it’ll also help you with various health issues such as muscle pain, lack of sedation, and heavy breathing.
Tulsi is yet another plant with lots of different health properties. People tend to drink it as tea or use it as a supplement in other beverages and meals. In fact, it has so many applications that I wasn’t surprised at all when people told me it was a good larvae killer.
In order to get rid of mosquito larvae, simply plant a little tulsi shrub in your garden or place it next to your window. Both the larvae and the adults will no longer bother you. Moreover, when you plant a tulsi shrub, you can rub its leaves into the welts from mosquito bites and relieve some of the pain and the itching.
Tea Tree Oil
Essential oils are a neat, natural way to get rid of insects while keeping your home smelling fresh. One such popular option against mosquitoes is tea tree oil. Not only is it organic and safe to use, but it’s also antibacterial and antifungal.
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To get the full effect of the oil, pour about five drops in a cup of water and stir it. Next, apply the mixture to your skin; because of its smell, tea tree oil will repel all mosquitoes, even if diluted in a different liquid. In addition, you can use the oil to treat bug bites and welts, so if a buzzing pest somehow still manages to sting you, just apply some of the oil onto the stung area.
If you happen to drink coffee a lot, you’re in luck. There are many, many different ways you can use coffee grounds around the house, but one of those was news even to me. Namely, they can kill off mosquito larvae before they even hatch.
After a rainfall or a storm, look around the house and find all areas where there’s stagnant water (puddles, gutters, etc.). Once you do, sprinkle some coffee grounds into the water and you’re good to go. The grounds will make mosquito eggs float on the surface; they will lose oxygen and ultimately die before ever hatching.
Unlike other methods I listed, using dry ice takes some time and effort. However, it is extremely effective and works well if you’re dealing with a mosquito infestation after a rainstorm.
As I stated earlier, mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, which we expel through breathing. However, dry ice also emits large amounts of carbon dioxide and the bloodsuckers are definitely going to fly directly to it. Therefore, all you need is a container with a lid and a piece of dry ice. Place the ice in the container and put it on the floor a short distance away from you; once the mosquitoes fly in, close the container and capture them inside.
Coffee Trays and Egg Cartons
The method I’m about to describe seems a bit unorthodox, considering it involves egg cartons and coffee trays. However, I’ve tested it myself and it does work, so if you don’t have the money to buy essential oils or new plants, this will be a decent budget repellent option.
First, you need to set the carton or the tray on fire. Next, blow them out and let them smolder in a place that won’t help any embers spread. The scent that comes out of the burning egg cartons and coffee trays may not seem strong to you, but it will keep the mosquitoes away.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellers
Ultrasonic sounds tend to disrupt small animals and insects, including mosquitoes. For years, customers have been using repeller gadgets that emit ultrasonic sounds which our human ears can’t pick up. And in 2020, the gadgets are both compact and inexpensive enough for anyone to buy.
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With so many plants capable of repelling insects, it was only a matter of time before someone wrote a good DIY spray recipe. So, I decided to find the best-rated recipes out there, and the two I am about to share were almost always at the top of each list.
- Chop one small onion and a single head of garlic
- Add the two in a bowl and mix with 4 cups of tap water, 4 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, and a tablespoon of any commercial liquid dish soap
- Place the mixture in a spritz bottle
- Spray on objects and in infested areas, not on the skin
- Keep in a dark, cool spot
- Take a ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and ¼ cup of witch hazel
- Mix them with about 20 droplets of essential oil (choose between citronella, rosemary, cedar, tea tree, lemongrass, or eucalyptus)
- Place the mixture in a spritz bottle
- Shake well before use
- Use exclusively on your skin
I should note that garlic water is also effectively a spray. However, the reason why I’m not including it with the DIY sprays above is that you need to use it in a particularly specific way.
First, you need to grind up some garlic and mix it with tap water. Next, put it in a spritz bottle and shake it well before spraying. However, instead of spraying the skin or the spots where mosquitoes dwell, spray it on active light bulbs. The heat from the bulb will trigger a specific scent which will keep the insects away at night.
4. Non-Natural Mosquito Repelling Methods
Like most insects, mosquitoes are attracted to light. Therefore, a small universal bug zapper can be a good solution for your home. The only real downside to this method is the noise that the gadget makes every time an insect flies into it. However, you will have a peace of mind knowing that the mosquitoes are getting zapped and not biting you.
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Broadcast Chemical Treatments
A broadcast treatment is basically spraying your whole yard with insecticide at once. There are special services that can do that for you, but if you get a decent garden sprayer or a hose spray, you can also do it yourself. All you need is some potent insecticide, but I have to stress that this method can be dangerous for your health. Only consider it as a last resort.
Aside from killing the adult mosquitoes, you’ll need to take care of their larvae as well. If you don’t mind using a non-natural, chemical method, you can always get a larvicide at your local or online retailer.
How Long Does an Average Mosquito Live?
Unlike humans, insects have comparatively short life spans. For instance, some species of butterflies only live for about 24 hours. And while a typical life cycle of a mosquito is short, it’s nowhere near as extreme as that.
Mosquitoes usually live up to several days, though it’s not uncommon for them to survive for a few weeks. In general, female mosquitoes outlive their male counterparts, staying alive for about a week or two longer.
However, there is a downside, at least to us humans, when it comes to the brevity of a mosquito’s life. Because their time is so short, the females have to lay as many eggs as possible, and as soon as possible. In fact, on average, a female mosquito will lay several hundred eggs in one go. Multiply that with the average number of mosquitoes per season and you can see just how serious the situation is.
Can Mosquitoes Sting Through Clothing?
Broadly speaking, an insect with a proboscis can’t reach our skin if we’re wearing clothes, since the fabric is too thick for it to penetrate. However, I have heard, from dozens of people I know, that they found mosquito welts even after they had worn long trousers and sweatshirts. So what happened there?
Well, some mosquitoes can manage to sting through clothing in specific situations. On the one hand, not all species of mosquitoes are equal; some have longer and tougher proboscises than others, which would have no problem penetrating the fabric. On the other hand, the clothes you wear might simply be thin and loose-fitting, so either the mosquito flew in between the folds or merely stung you through the fabric itself. And since we’re talking about summer clothing, it’s more than likely that you won’t be wearing a thick sweater or durable jeans.
Why Are Mosquitoes Attracted to Humans?
You’d be surprised to know that many people ask this question. In fact, I’d even wager that most of my readers don’t really know the reasons behind mosquitoes going after human flesh. And, of course, they go after some people more than others. With all of that in mind, let’s quickly go over why a mosquito might want to sting you.
Do you breathe heavily while you sleep? By doing that, you release more carbon-dioxide than usual, which will attract mosquitoes. They can feel the carbon dioxide in the air, and once they do, they immediately become hungry.
As I already mentioned, a female mosquito needs to lay hundreds of eggs, and in order to do so safely, she’ll need protein. One of the best sources of protein for mosquitoes is blood, specifically human blood. That is why female mosquitoes are exclusively the ones to go after us.
Depending on your blood type, you might be more (or less) susceptible to mosquito bites than others. One study suggests that people whose blood is type O can get twice more bites than people with type A blood.
Body odor is nasty, and the odor-causing chemicals your body releases can also attract mosquitoes. For example, our sweat contains ammonia and uric acid, both of which a mosquito can easily spot and lock onto. Needless to say, we have to shower every night before bedtime if we want to sleep carefree, with the window open and no mosquito bites in the morning.
Beer (and Alcohol in General)
Yes, drinking alcohol can definitely increase your chances of getting lots of nasty bites during a summer evening. When you consume beer, wine, scotch, sake, or any other alcoholic beverage, you increase your body temperature. Mosquitoes will feel that change and fly over to sting you and take some of that much-needed blood.
A Few Words At the End: Outdoor Anti-Mosquito Treatments
All of the methods mentioned above will help you get rid of mosquitoes. They are tried and trusted solutions that will work in nearly every home. However, insects have to come from somewhere, and usually, their habitat is closer to your home than you think. So, in order to make sure no mosquitoes enter your home, I suggest doing the following:
- Get rid of any stagnant water like puddles
- Clean your gutters
- Mow the lawn
- Get rid of any refuse that’s piled up somewhere in your yard
- Look inside of old tires, buckets, pipes, and trees with holes in them for any pooling water
- Trim the plants in your garden if they’ve overgrown