Mosquitoes are the deadliest creature on earth. They spread malaria and other deadly diseases and even in the United States where many of those diseases are under control, there is still a threat from West Nile Virus.
The nuisance value of mosquitoes is very high at outdoor events, even disregarding the health threat. So what are the best ways to get rid of mosquitoes at an outdoor event?
There are some approaches that are pretty standard, and some that are downright bizarre – but effective.
First, establish your yard as a mosquito-free zone. Build birdhouses for mosquito-eating birds such as warblers, swallows, and other songbirds.
If you are not too creeped out by the concept, try to provide shelters for bats. Try the National Wildlife Federation website which has instructions here.
They’re the real mosquito feeders (not, incidentally, purple martins which get lots of unwarranted good press from people wanting to sell purple martin birdhouses.
While at it, grow flowers that will attract birds as well as mosquito-eating dragonflies.
Grow plants that naturally repel mosquitoes that includes lemon balm, citronella, catnip,
marigolds, rosemary, and geraniums with scented leaves.
Clear your yard of any standing water. In sagging gutters lining the roof, in old used tires lying around, anywhere.
If you have a bird bath, change the water regularly. Even a rusty tin can filled with dirty water can hatch a brood of mosquitoes in a few days.
For the same drying-out reasons, you want to keep your grass cut and otherwise handle your yardwork in such a way as to dry out the soil.
Mosquito-Free Outdoor Event Tactics
Next, consider mosquito repellents that have DEET as an ingredient. Lighting a citronella candle or torch reportedly is no better than a regular candle or torch in attracting mosquitoes by producing heat, moisture, and carbon dioxide.
Some people highly recommend spraying the area thoroughly with a Listerine mouthwash solution to drive off mosquitoes.
You can hang sealed, clear plastic bags of water from trees or elsewhere around the yard. It doesn’t help with mosquitoes and most other bugs, unfortunately, but for some reason, does repel flies.
Near doors leading into the house, replace your regular bulbs with bug lights, LED lights, or sodium lights which will not attract mosquitoes which follow you indoors. The bulbs emit light on a frequency that do not attract mosquitoes.
Electric bug zappers are a lot of fun and bring back warm and fuzzy memories of those old TV commercials with Vincent Price delightedly watching insects being fried by them, but the fact is that however high the bug body count may, mosquitoes make up only a tiny percentage..
This tops the weird-o-meter list, but it supposedly works. Have the kids blow soap bubbles. Mosquitoes dislike soapy solutions, so encourage the kids to blow soap bubbles to their little heart’s content.
The trick is how long will they keep at it? As a perhaps more practical alternative, try leaving out dishes of water-soap solution.