How to get rid of mosquitoes

23 June 2014 In The Woods

Mosquito bite in Canada.

Mosquitoes in the yard can be controlled naturally and bites can be avoided by following a few simple tricks at the cabin or lake house.

Mosquitoes 101

Mosquitoes buzz around our ears, keep us up at night, and leave an irritating itch after they feed. Co-existing with mosquitoes all summer is possible and there are a few things we can do to keep them at bay.

Mosquitoes come in a variety of sizes and species in cottage country. Whether your cabin is in Canada or the U.S., mosquitoes are going to be present. There are more than 70 known species of mosquitoes in Canada. Ontario has more than 60 types and there are as many as 50 different mosquitoes in Quebec, Manitoba, and B.C.

American cottage and cabin owners also have to deal with swarms of different mosquitoes. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all have more than 50 species of mosquitoes. And across the entire U.S. there are more than 150 different mosquito types.

Females mosquitoes feed on blood to provide nutrition for egg development.

Eggs and larvae develop in stagnant water. This can be in short-term locations such as rain barrels, old tires or other places where rainwater collects. More permanent sources of standing water such as swamps, marshes and ponds are also hotspots for mosquito-larvae development.

Early spring to late summer. Sometimes mosquitoes stick around into the fall if the weather is suitable.

Mosquito activity
Active all day with a massive assault in the first hour after sunset.  There are much heavier concentrations of mosquitoes in the woods than out in the open.

Mosquito attractants
Mosquitoes are drawn to sweat, dark colours, perfumes, sun screen, and hair spray.

Protection from mosquitoes
Wear long sleeves, two layers, and light colours.  Use head nets and mesh jackets.

Sleeping at the cabin and avoiding mosquitoes
Use mosquito nets with repellent. This is the best way to keep family and guests safe from mosquitoes during the night inside the cottage.

Disease – West Nile Virus

The first reported human case of West Nile virus in Canada occured in Ontario in 2002. West Nile cases have since been reported in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

In the U.S. the first human case of West Nile was reported in 1999. California, Colorado and Texas have had the most reported cases of West Nile since 1999.

Mosquitoes can transmit the West Nile virus to people if they first bite an infected bird and then bite a person.

According to The Public Health Agency of Canada only about one per cent of mosquitoes in an area carry the virus and the likelihood of being bitten and then becoming sick is very low.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S. says only 20 per cent of infected people develop a fever and less than one per cent will develop a serious illness.

The presence of dead birds is an indication that West Nile may be in the area. Crows and blue jays tend to be more susceptible to West Nile and will often die when infected.

How can you keep mosquitoes from biting you?

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Deet-based insect repellents work well. Try clothing spray or clothing with repellent built in.

Wear loose clothes
Mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes including jeans. Wear loose-fitting clothes when outside at the cabin or in the back yard around dusk.

How can you get rid of mosquitoes?

You can’t get rid of all the mosquitoes in the yard at the cottage but you can certainly minimize the amount of stagnant water that is available for them to use as incubation sites for their eggs and larvae.

Eliminate standing water in old tires, buckets, and wheel barrows. Cover any open rain barrels. Always bail out the boats after a rainfall. Mosquitoes don’t need a lot of water to lay their eggs.

Burn coils and candles
Burning coils or citronella candles can reduce the mosquitoes around a work shed or on the deck and dock.

Use high-tech gadgets
A mosquito eliminator is a popular choice for targeting larger areas for an extended period of time.

What about bio warfare on mosquitoes

A number of natural options are available to deter mosquitoes in the yard or even get rid of them completely.

Natural Repellents
The oils from some plants are known to be effective. Be careful with allergic reactions if you plan to try the home remedy.

Citronella oil
Lemongrass oil
Cinnamon oil
Lemon Eucalyptus oil
Peppermint oil

Bat houses
Consider installing bat houses near the cabin to attract little brown bats. These are the ones that like to feed on mosquitoes.

Mosquito Dunks
These are chemical pucks placed in standing water that can’t be drained. The chemical targets the mosquito larvae.
(Note: Consult your local conservation authorities before using mosquito dunks.)

Mosquito Books
For all those mosquito fans out there, here are two interesting books that are relied on by the experts.