The Buzz: What Really Keeps Mosquitoes Away?


Image by bjdlzx courtesy iStock.

One of the most common queries we get each season is how to get rid of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, if you live in the U.S. you really can’t. What you can do is mitigate, and the right method depends on your outdoor conditions. But first, it’s crucial to understand why mosquitoes are particularly bad in some areas but not others:

  • Water/Moisture: Mosquitoes love water (they lay their eggs and go through several development phases there) and humidity in general. Stagnant water from rain puddles and bird baths, dewy lawns, damp woodlands are all a mosquitoes’ ultimate spring break destination. Water/Moisture

  • Airflow: Ever notice how shady, sheltered places, such as beneath a tree or on a covered porch, seem especially bad for mosquito attacks? Mosquitoes typically weigh around 2.5 milligrams, which makes hanging out in breeze-free spaces a no-go for anyone who doesn’t want to get bit, which is everyone. That’s why your lovely shade garden with the canopy of 100-year-old oak trees is a nightmare while your buddy’s rooftop is A-ok.


The remedies:


Fix drainage issues. No amount of citronella candles will save you if your lawn or patio can’t properly dry out.


Keep the water moving. Installing a small fountain or bubbler fixture to make ripples will dissuade mosquitoes for landing and laying eggs.


Add a fan. This can have a big impact on a space, whether it's a temporary box fan on the ground or permanent overhead or wall-mounted fixture. Keep the air moving!


Get a bug zapper. A well-rated zapper attracts mosquitoes away from you and is helpful in a smaller space, such as a patio. The Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer has stellar ratings.


Burn a citronella-incense coil. A citronella coil or candle is another good small-space solution since it’s primarily effective in the area where the fragrance lingers. Using this in conjunction with a bug zapper is an especially effective combo. We love this one from Food52.