We live pretty close to the Sound (about 500 yards) and the mosquito problem last year was pretty bad.  Given the mild winter probably did little to keep the native population down, this summer is likely going to be pretty bad.

I am willing to try most anything to preempt these pesky varmints in my backyard — although my preference is to avoid anything that leads to debilitating neurological disease and a slow painful death; Also, toxic cancer causing chemicals are similarly to be avoided.

I am willing to try building a bat house, propane based solutions, organic sprays,  even the annoying bug zappers. Since I have no idea how bad this year will be, I am looking for two different possible suggestions:

• A reasonable cost repellent that eliminates annoying mosquito bites;

• A money-is-no-object-kill-the-bastards-dead-with-extreme-prejudice solution;

There are a number of urban anti-mosquito myths — Listerene, Bounce Dryer Sheets, bug zappers, etc. (none work). I’ve also heard of organic solutions that get added to your sprinkler system, but they have a reputation for gunking up the heads.

Any ideas?

Category: Science

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

77 Responses to “Mosquitos: What’s the Best Solution for Homeowners?”

  1. cpd says:

    I live in Florida – mosquitos are horrible. We are looking at putting a screened area of some kind in the backyard. Of course, in Florida, that is fairly common. I’m not so sure in the northeast (not to mention how it would survive the winters).

  2. Transor Z says:

    Avon Skin So Soft, tried and true

    Bug zappers help a lot in a bad season. Bug zapper plus citronella perimeter (tiki torches, candles) should be good. Put on the Avon and you and the Mrs. will be golden.

  3. Sechel says:

    Mosquitos have been around since the mid dinosaur era. Good Luck.

  4. morning_star says:

    I copied you title and placed it in Google; directly below your article was this from the University of Kentucky.
    http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef005.asp
    MOSQUITOES: PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR HOMEOWNERS

    Unfortunately, there isn’t any great and simple solution, but it does at least discourage the use of many of the expensive retail devices as they are ineffective. So it should save you some money even if it suggests that your best bet may be a lot of citronella candles spaced closely together. And perhaps have several spray bottles of OFF handy for guests. By the way, despite the article’s suggestion, I’d avoid bats; in some states they are a major vector for rabies. The purple martin house sounds great if you can get them established.

    “Many consumer products claim to attract, repel or kill mosquitoes. Most of these devices do not appreciably reduce mosquito abundance or incidence of bites, or else are unproven. Electrocuting devices or “Bug zappers”, using ultraviolet light as an attractant, are generally ineffective in reducing outdoor populations of mosquitoes or their biting activity. Studies indicate that mosquitoes make up only a tiny percentage of the insects captures in such traps. The majority are moths, beetles, and other harmless night flying insects.

    “Other types of mosquito traps use carbon dioxide, warmth, light, and various chemicals (e.g. octenol) as attractants and claim to capture tremendous numbers of mosquitoes. Such devices often cost hundreds of dollars and some sell for over $1,000. Performance claims to the contrary, such devices seldom have been shown to actually reduce populations of biting mosquitoes on a property, or the incidence of bites. In some situations they could even attract more mosquitoes into the area one is hoping to protect.

    “Advertisements for portable electronic devices that use high-frequency ultrasonic sound routinely appear in magazines and claim to keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay. Some supposedly repel mosquitoes by mimicking the wing beat frequency of a hungry dragonfly. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown these devices to be of negligible benefit in deterring mosquitoes and reducing bites. Companies that market such devices with unsubstantiated claims have been told to cease and desist by consumer protection agencies but others continue to appear hoping that consumers will buy them. Save your money, these devices seldom, if ever, provide any measure of relief.

    “Citronella oil does have mosquito repelling properties and the scented candles can provide a degree of protection. For maximum effect, use multiple candles placed close (within a few feet) of where people are sitting. A single candle at the center or edge of a picnic blanket probably won’t provide much benefit other than atmosphere. Mosquito repellent plants like garlic and other oft-advertized botanicals generally are ineffective.

    “Bats and certain types of birds (purple martins) often are cited as effective natural agents for managing mosquitoes. Conservation groups and articles in nature magazines often suggest building bat and bird houses to promote nesting and to protect against mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes make up only a small portion of their natural diet. Much like “bug zappers”, they capture all kinds of flying insects. Efforts to colonize and conserve these animals should not be done solely with the intent of significantly diminishing biting mosquitoes. When it comes to managing mosquitoes, a good rule of thumb is “if the device or method sounds too good to be true, then probably it is.”

  5. seth1066 says:

    Propane fired mosquito trap. Propane burns to create the mosquito attractant, carbon dioxide. The little bastards follow the CO2 trail, then the device sucks them in. Placement is important relative to the prevailing wind, several units may be necessary to cover wind shifts and a larger area.

  6. farfetched says:

    The Sound, if i’m not mistaken is salt water, so it isn’t the problem. Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant fresh water, so the first step is to reduce breeding areas. Drain all containers of fresh standing water and make sure your roof gutters drain properly as well. After that the Avon skin so soft and the propane CO2 traps work. If you know anyone in Alaska, ask them, the mosquito is Alaska’s State Bird.

  7. jonhendry says:

    I’d say hang a bat house in addition to whatever else you do. You can buy them easily enough.

    I put one up in my parents’ yard a few years ago. No idea if anyone moved in. Don’t really want to check. There are gadgets you can get to transpose their ultrasonic noises down to human-audible frequencies, which would make it easier to tell.

    Bug zappers are indiscriminate, so not ideal.

  8. JoseOle says:

    Recommendations for mosquito control from the U. of Missouri ag extension found here:

    http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7400

  9. Julia Chestnut says:

    Brewer’s yeast. Take a B-complex vitamin, you’ll be much less attractive. Won’t help with the house, but will make you a less interesting target. Apparently, it makes you taste bad. If you are sensitive, you can smell it on the skin of people taking fairly high doses. The whole family has to take it, or else you make a victim sacrifice of whomever abstains.

    I second the bat house. Also, and perhaps more attractively, purple martins are spectacular bug eaters. Both are wonderful additions to the local environment, quite aside from the mosquito benefits.

  10. DSS10 says:

    Having had some 3rd world experience with Mosquito eradication I suggest that you read the link below:

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/wnv/docs/mosquito_homeowners.pdf

    Cooking oil works the best for larval eradication and is totally harmless. Just remember that to get a real reduction in adult mosquitos you need to eliminate at least 95% of the Larva (see page page 3) which makes this a great summer job for young kids!

  11. raholco says:

    Sadly, like any good defensive measures, you’re going to have to engage in defense by layers-it can’t be an either-or scenario.

  12. hotei13 says:

    My father-in-law gave bug zappers to his neighbors. They were thrilled. IN the meantime, all of the mosquitos were drawn to their property. Evil genius.

  13. Iamthe50percent says:

    Smoke. They flee smoke. This even worked in VietNam.

  14. Dow says:

    I’ve had very good luck with lavender and lavender oil.

  15. itsgold says:

    There’s special poisons you can buy to kill mosquito eggs. They look like pucks, except you throw them in standing water to kill the eggs.

    http://www.amazon.com/Summit-111-5-Mosquito-Dunks-20-Pack/dp/B0002568YA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333847657&sr=8-1

    There’s also a laser fence you can build or hire someone to build. Its a laser beam and sensor that tracks and shoots mosquito. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_laser

    There’s an issue of Make magazine that shows you how to build one.

  16. louis says:

    Strategic Default!

    I second the smoke theory. Have a cannon lying around?

  17. marianlibrarian says:

    There is a company in Austin that installs a roof eave sprinkler system for mosquito repellant spray or fog or something. The guy telling me about it said it can be residential or commercial. That is all I know, but someone up there must sell something similar. I also don’t know anyone who has one.

  18. beaufou says:

    My grandmother in France always had geraniums and basil plants around the house in the summer to prevent invasions. Citronella works also but I don’t like the smell.

  19. forwhomthebelltolls says:

    Kind of surpried that no one mentioned the garlic spray/fogger/granules.

    We have two acres just a few hundred feet from the marsh and the mosquitoes can be unreal.

    I fog with this stuff (can;t remember the name) once every couple of weeks and it works really well. Some kind of mix of garlic, citronella, mint, whatever. Totally non-tox.

    Only caveat is that if you get a couple of says of sustainedrain, you need to reapply.

  20. Seaton says:

    Farfetched is right. Fresh water / standing rainwater the problem areas. Avon skinsosoft is good. Neighbors getting “presents” welcoming Spring/Summer of the propane type (although electric BIG bugzappers are easier to IMPLEMENT) zappers is excellent. “FLIT” bug spray of post-WWII was really mostly peanut oil….permethrins (sp?) is the best chemical…think bedbugs’ stuff. Small bottles @LOWES….:-)

  21. Seaton says:

    Calvin quotation is delightfully instructive; distracting; a muse to consider…thanks!

  22. orvil tootenbacher says:

    stay inside.

  23. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    My grandad (and our ancestors, going as far back as anyone could remember), came from the Currituck/Outer Banks region of NC — an area surrounded by the Great Swamp. When we visited there in the summer, we’d keep the car windows rolled up and run into the house.

    Grandad always said that if you got bit 1,00 times early in the season, the mosquitos would leave you alone thereafter — that your body would build up some kind of natural resistance. The man spent a lot of time outdoors, so he had some credibility regarding the issue. He’d follow that advice up by insisting that if it wasn’t true, the natives would have abandoned the area for good back in the dawn of time. The mosquitos there are that bad.

    Try it out. Let me know how it works for you.

  24. Da55id says:

    I use Irish Spring soap bars on posts in our back yard to keep the deer away from chomping on the flowers. Sounds silly, but It works. Gradually I noticed that I stopped getting mosquito bites on our backyard deck whereas before the Irish Spring it was open season on humans on our deck. Maybe the soap melts in the rain and drips on the ground and acts as an inhibitor where the mosquito eggs would normally hatch. Oddly, the mosquitos still enjoy humans in the front of the house. Yes, I know this all sounds ridiculous. It’s also simply true and repeatable. This year I am putting Irish Spring in the front yard to complete the experiment. Irish Spring is cheap and safe – two bars for a buck at the Dollar Store.

  25. theexpertisin says:

    A few things learned in coastal Carolina (at least you don’t have no- see- ums to contend with in the NE. They can fly right through any screen and bite nasty).

    1. Shower or bathe with a scent free soap, frequently.
    2. Screen you porch underneath as well as on the top and sides.
    3. When bitten, vinegar works. So does the spray equivalent of Benedryl. So does alcohol, to a degree.
    4.Smoke does, indeed, help.
    5. Drain standing water of possible. Use mosquito killing discs to abort larvae.
    6. Mosquito laser and electric bug zappers are pretty effective as well.

    Back in the day in Chicago, we used to look forward to the DDT truck eliminate any and all bug issues. This method worked like a charm.

  26. NolansDad says:

    My suggestion is you should go in your closet and go put your pussy costume on
    because you are acting like a big pussy who can’t handle a couple of mosquitos. Do what the rest of us do and get a couple of citronella candles and a can of Off. Before you go to bed tonight don’t forget to tell your wife to take off the strap on.

    Just joking.

  27. MayorQuimby says:

    Keep grass VERY low and neatly trimmed. That will actually make a surprising difference.

  28. Bob A says:

    Or perhaps you could just tie NolansDad to a lawnchair out in the yard and let them feed on him…?

  29. Non Sequor says:

    I bought some of the mosquito dunks that someone else mentioned. I’ve been thinking of whether or not I want to go out on a limb and try to get everyone on my cul de sac to use them. I may try leaving a bin of them out in front of my house with a sign and flyers explaining what they are.

  30. chris says:

    If you have woody areas i have heard of the control burns which burns uncontrollably could eliminate your pesty mosquitos.

  31. louis says:

    @nolansdad “just joking”
    Classic

  32. bubbles says:

    DDT

  33. philipat says:

    We live about 300 Meters from the ocean in Sanur, Bali. During the rainy season, just coming to an end here and the worst time for mosquitos because, as I’m sure you are aware, breed in standing stagnant water. So the first thing is don’t allow any areas of non-moving water to accumulate. Also during the rainy season, our gardener “Fogs” the grounds with a standard commercial machine and chemicals (From Ace as I recall). This again stops them from breeding and is a pretty good solution for the vectors within the property. There are occasions, usually around dusk, when they a few can still appear. We keep a can of a commercial repellant spray around just in case. We tend to use “Autan (Bayer)” because it works and we have found the fragrance to be the least offensive. Hope this all helps.

  34. sunbin says:

    the best way.

    burn the repellent incense, or any other smoke/smell the repells mosquitoes

    close all windows, but leave a small gap open in the other end of the house.

    this creates a smell gradient from the incense and the opening gap.
    the mosquitoes will be repelled by the small and soon or later find the fresh air outlet, and then sneak out from there.

    after a few hours, close the gap. and your house is free of mosquito.

    be very careful when u open the door/window. use netted windows for ventilation without letting the insects in.

    this is, in my experience, the best way to get rid of them. since insecticide may not be able to eliminate them, and the dosage is not healthy to human either.

  35. dsawy says:

    The pucks @itsgold references above have Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) in them. Here’s a quick overview of Bt, what is is, etc:

    http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05556.html

    I’ve used this with good results, as we have a slough in our back yard with slow-moving water. We cannot use most insecticides, since there are fresh water fish immediately downstream of the slough. It needs frequent re-application, tho.

    The fogger that @philipat references are available all over the US, and the insecticide fog will usually have malathion as the active ingredient. Malathion is one of the weakest of the organophosphate family of insecticides. NB that prolonged, repeated use of Malathion or pyrethrin pesticides will result in adaptation by the survivors of fogging or spraying. Malathion degrades in the environment upon exposure to sunlight and air in about three days. NB2 that malathion (like all organophosphates) is broad-spectrum in nature, and can harm bees, butterflies, etc. You control the target pest population by spraying or fogging at night, when bees and other desired insects are not active and mosquitoes are.

    Other products that can help:

    Neem oil, Resmethrin, Etofenprox, Temephos, Spindosad. If you really want to go the insecticide route, I’d highly recommend talking with your county agent about what products are labeled by the EPA for use in your county/state/region. Also pick up some information on “integrated pest management” (IPM in farmer lingo) on how to rotate insecticides and control methods to prevent adaptation from overwhelming your control methods. Pyrethroids (eg, resmethrin, permethrin, et al) have longer-lived efficacy than malathion. One pyrethroid pesticide we use around our home is labeled as “Tempo Ultra SC” and is even labeled for use in commercial food prep areas.

    If you want to spread oil on standing water, you might look into vegetable-based crop oil rather than food grade oil. “Crop oil” is used as a surfactant for spraying crops, and is available in both vegetable-based oils and petroleum-based oils. It would be much cheaper than buying food grade vegetable oil for spreading on standing water, because you’ll have to lay down quite a bit of oil throughout the season if that’s how you’d want to go.

    IMO, your best bet is to go after the larval stage, where you can get at them in large numbers in ponds, puddles, etc.

    As for repellants: DEET is my proven favorite.

  36. ermartin628 says:

    We live in Houston and have a pyrethrin system in our backyard. In Houston, there are a lot of companies who install and maintain them. Our company, comes out quarterly and fills the tank and checks the nozzles. They do clog a lot and if we notice they aren’t working, they will come out and fix it usually the next day as part of the contract. So, I would say finding a company with a reliable maintenance reputation is essential. We have friends who have given up on their systems due to poor maintenance.
    I have to admit, we resisted putting in the system due to the cost and uncertainty if the system actually works but we have been happy with it. It doesn’t prevent the stray mosquito or two or three from coming into the yard but we usually only have to contend with a couple of mosquitoes versus thousands so I would say it is a success. A screened enclosure would have been optimal but the size of our backyard eliminated this as an option.
    Good luck.

  37. Jojo says:

    We don’t have many mosquitoes in my area of California but I found this for you to maybe try:
    ———-
    Eliminates populations of skeeters
    06-12-07
    OakStump Farms Mosquito Trap
    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001727.php

  38. Old Rob says:

    Solution to BR: Don’t be a ‘wuss’. Just smoke those ‘stogies’ in the outdoor screen-house. Everything will be fine!

  39. London Banker says:

    A wholly natural and fragrant solution is burning frankincense in an electric incense burner, either in the house or outdoors. It also keeps away flies and wasps from your barbeque. There’s a very good reason someone would give it to an infant in a stable, and for it becoming more valuable than gold.

  40. Tim says:

    I don’t know jack–other than deet. But don’t listen to the folks telling you fresh water is required. A simple google search would show that both of these “experts” are wrong. There are common saltmarsh breeding mosquitos. If you have any shallow, fairly stagnant salt water around these guys might be your problem.

    I sorta wonder if they might be a little more resistant to some of the methods described, since most people aren’t used to saltmarsh mosquitos!

    good luck

    Tim

  41. I think some of the comments miss the point. Chemical solutions are no use if they kill you faster as well as the bugs.

    Glad to hear most of the commercial products are a crock. Money well saved!

  42. wally says:

    It goes with the territory. You wanted to live out of the City and now you do.

  43. thetruthseeker says:

    I have tried the garlic method before when fishing. Basically, it involves eating a clove of raw garlic. It works, although it also keeps people away. All joking aside, I would think that any kind of garlic-based product would have a high chance of success while also being non-toxic.

  44. farmera1 says:

    This reminds me of the neighbor I have. He moved into the country/farm land built a huge house to get away from the nasty city. The great out doors and all. Now he complains non-stop about the farm odors/dust/poor country roads or what ever. He too meets my standards for being a wuss.

    As an old farmer friend of mine used to tell his wife who was a city girl when she complained about the animal odors, “Mildred that is what bought that Cadillac you are driving”.

  45. acockbur says:

    Asking how to deal with mosquitoes is like asking how to deal with weeds in your garden- which weeds, what are you growing, where do you live?

    There are thousands of species of mosquitoes and hundreds of species in North America. Where you are there are probably several that are common and bite humans and dozens that buzz around but only bite birds or other things. The worst of the mosquitoes that are biting are likely salt marsh mosquitoes, but you could have ones breeding in tree holes and other small standing water containers like plant pot saucers (I assume that you don’t have a big used tire dump nearby).

    The big groups of mosquitoes are Anopheles, which transmit malaria, and Aedes/Culex, which transmit mostly viruses. I worked for years in a mosquito research laboratory and became accustomed to getting bitten regularly. My experience is that Anopheles bites don’t hurt much and aren’t very noticeable. If you are getting annoyed, it is probably Aedes. You aren’t going to get malaria in New York any more, so I would ignore the Anopheles.

    DEET works on Aedes but not Anopheles, but I won’t use it because I believe that it is too toxic.

    You can buy permethrin treatments that you use on your outer clothing to kill and repel mosquitoes (also works on ticks). Just make sure that the treated material is not next to your skin.

    There isn’t much you personally can do to reduce the mosquito population in your yard- it is like trying to bail out the ocean using a teacup. None of the traps work worth a damn as far as I know, especially if the population is high.

    You can complain to the local mosquito control agency and they may spray for adults. This provides relief for a few days until the next batch hatches out. It is expensive and terrible for the environment, but if you have an outside wedding planned for the middle of June…

    The best way for an agency to control is to treat the area where they are breeding. There is a basic trade off between cost and damage to the environment. The cheapest method is DDT (illegal in the US), then other chemical pesticides, then insect growth hormone regulators, then Bti (which is a bacteria that is specific to mosquitoes). Each step in this scale increases the cost by roughly an order of magnitude. Mosquito eating fish are pretty good but I don’t know if they are an option in salt marshes.

    When I lived in Florida we had a big screened porch. In the long term that is by far the cheapest and least environmentally damaging solution.

  46. constantnormal says:

    I’m surprised that no one has offered this solution, under the “extreme prejudice” category …

    http://www.ted.com/talks/nathan_myhrvold_could_this_laser_zap_malaria.html

    Watching the video will provide some brief relief … then contact Myrvold about becoming a beta tester …

    Go green, convert mosquitos to fertilizer. Toss in a solar panel and battery to make it a “truly green” system … no chemicals, smoke or creams. Just zap the little monsters. Give ‘em a little technology … burn their wings off, in-flight.

    You can prolly apply for a DARPA grant to fund the installation …

  47. astro74 says:

    Lots of ‘external’ stuff here; I’d like to note an ‘internal’ method that I use when I hike/backpack in the mountains, where the mosquitoes can be numerous and hungry: I take along a bunch of vitamin B complex capsules (B-100 complex), I start taking a few of them before I start the hike, and I take as many as 2 or 3 every few hours, depending on how bad the mosquitoes are. They still bite, but the bites don’t itch or swell up. I have never had any ill effects, but who knows? For me, it’s much, much better than suffering from the bites.

    Also, an after-the-fact technique is to take a hot sauna bath and ‘sweat out’ the bites… maybe a hot shower would work too.

    If you plan an evening BBQ, these might help with whatever mosquitoes get through the other defenses. Good luck!

  48. ottnott says:

    You are food. There is no hope as long as that is true.

    Cows haven’t figured out how to get rid of humans, have they? Well, there was that prion business, but that was harder on the cows than on the humans.

    Your best hope is to go to work for Goldman Sachs or for a private equity firm. With no blood pumping in your veins, mosquitoes will have no use for you.

    Of course, you’ll have to figure out what to do about the sunlight problem. Maybe you could lobby against regulation of particulate emissions.

    Living in San Diego works best for me, but the commute would kill you.

  49. rd says:

    Part of our backyard is a wetland. However, we don’t have much of a mosquito problem. We can usually sit out on our back deck with virtually no bites all evening.

    Lots of bats roost in the woods near us. They chow down on the bugs at night. I would install bat houses on your proerty and encourage your neighbors to have them.

    We have lots of birds, such as swallows, that lunch on them during the day. Set up some birdhouses conducive to swallows etc. A martin house would also help. Encourage your neighbors to do the same. Old and dead trees are great nesting spots for birds. Many people eliminate them to improve the appearance of their property. leave them in place unless they are a safety hazard.

    Eliminate all standing water around your house as others have mentioned: gutters, old watering cans sitting outside, tires, bird baths, depressions over poorly drained soil etc. Places like Florida are designed to make mosquitos in astounding quantities. The Northeast tends to generate them on a more localized basis, many times in man’s own standing water creations. Out in the wetlands and creeks, the mosquitos are in a duel with lots of predators, not so much in the old tin can lying by the shed. My yard is designed to have no standing water anywhere and to sheet flow drain all of the water overland through our vegetation to the wetland. As a result we do almost no watering but don’t get standing water either.

  50. rd says:

    BTW – on the bird houses.

    If you pair up bluebird/swallow boxes close together (say 5′-10′), you will tend to get two different species of birds (e.g. swallow and bluebird) in those boxes as they will defend their turf against their own species but won’t care much about another since they aren’t competing for mates.

  51. RW says:

    Lived most of my life in the west or mid-west and, with the exception of products containing DEET, never had any luck with any of the repellents noted above including skin-so-soft (recommended by my Alaskan sister in law). My wife’s skin reacted to the more potent DEET products but “Skinsations” made by Cutter was a hit: Okay on skin and kept both mosquitoes and biting gnats/no-see-ums at bay (except for any areas you missed).

    As far as wide-area solutions Used everything from an expensive propane/octenol option to foggers to bug lights and citronella candles. The former (a “Mosquito Magnet”) did catch a lot of mosquitoes but it was never clear just how much this depressed the population of blood sucking bugs, particularly after a windy day. Ditto for bats although it was fun seeing them come out of the homes we built for them and then start dive bombing the bugs.

    Frankly just going after breeding/larvae seemed to work better: Agree with comments above that keeping grassy areas well trimmed and using Bti pellets in standing water/ponds that can’t be drained is effective. Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) also kills black fly larvae which is probably an issue for you as well.

    Fogger worked okay, particularly when used at night, but also depressed the local population of fire flies/lightening-bugs which my family adored so stopped that there and generally got out of the habit so didn’t restart it when we moved back west.

    Never had any luck at all with citronella products but chrysanthemum products, in our case a “mosquito coil” incense (made by OFF! and others), seemed to work okay. Placed one at each outer corner of the patio and, as long as the breeze wasn’t blowing too hard, it kept the local population down and the Skintastic took care of the rest.

    So, basically in order from personal protection to local to wider area, best (or most acceptable) effecitive practices for our family were:

    1. A mild(er) DEET product
    2. allethrin or pyrethrin impregnated incense (coil or lamp)
    3. reduction or elimination of breeding environments (beginning with Bti application in the spring).

  52. david_12321 says:

    City folk. You guys and your plug-ins or drugs… Buy some guineas. Or a few chickens. The guineas are better at the bugs. The chickens will provide eggs.

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Organic-Pest-Control-Poultry.aspx

  53. zaza says:

    when young i lived in AOF (afrique occidentale française) where DDT was regularly spread in my neighbourhood: no mosquitos!
    after the independence DDT was banned and i planted cymbopogon citratus (citronella) and it was a good repellent.
    tell your gardener to buy 100 + citronellæ, plant them around the house, put them in his greenhouse in the fall & replant them next spring: it should do the job.

  54. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Get a laser mosquito zapper.

  55. perogy says:

    Avon has a lotion called Skin So Soft that was very popular in New England when I lived there 20 years ago.

  56. [...] asshole mosquito — what to do about it. Which came from a post yesterday by Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture, who asked readers for help in battling mosquitoes. Ritholtz noted he would try just about anything [...]

  57. TheInterest says:

    Highly recommend the mosquito magnet. I picked one up 5 years ago that was a reconditioned unit. Think I spent around $400 for it. Caught around 500 mosquitos the first year. The next year maybe 100. Which got me wondering that maybe it doesn’t work so well. But, if you think about it, mosquitos don’t travel very far, so what I was doing the first year was removing mosquitos from my yard and thus they never buried in the ground to wait for next year. They were already gone.

    Unfortunately, the mosquito magnet failed during its third year and I never got it fixed. I broke down this year and bought another one though for $300 brand new at Home Depot. With the cost of propane you can expect to fill it every 21 days for around $20 in my part of the country. Rather expensive, but it is worth it. If you use your backyard and especially have lots of foliage, rock, landscaping, etc., you have mosquitos. The mosquito magnet works.

    (No financial position in mosquito magnets. Sorry if this sounds like a commercial.)

  58. dancingdiva says:

    Mosquitoes love me. If I go out with the hubby I get twenty bites for every one of his. It made living near a lake in the Chicago burbs unbearable in the summer. I’d garden with heavy duty deet over me and they would still bite me in the butt through my denims.

    The only solution was moving to the LA area; it’s too dry for mosquitoes to be a problem. No worries or itching anymore about those nasty critters, but the mudslides, fires and earthquakes haven’t quite removed the sting.

  59. TheInterest says:

    One more note. On today’s No Agenda Show, Adam Curry swears by the Dynatrap. Link: http://m.podshow.com/media/15412/episodes/313308/noagenda-313308-04-08-2012.mp3

  60. SharonTW says:

    My dad always swore by chopped onions. He”d make slurry of onions, dump it in a spray bottle attached to the garden hose and spray the back yard. My current solution is, live in a city. Our back yard is a concrete pad. Ok, we do have an impressive rat problem, but I haven’t been bitten by a mosquito in years.

  61. DMR says:

    Call your local thai restaurant and ask them to deliver lemongrass tofu everyday for the rest of the season. You’ll be more flamable than any civilian grade citronella candle by the fall.

  62. jfexum says:

    Consistently feed birds with feeders around the area outside you most often occupy.

  63. seattledave says:

    I suggest you move to Seattle. We don’t have mosquitos here. No roaches either. Ideally, you would bring a significant part of the financial industry with you.

  64. techperson says:

    Boulder, CO has a big mosquito problem in the spring, and we have two ponds. Installed two bat houses on 10′ posts two years ago, but no bats so far. What’s worked is mosquito fish in the ponds, dunks in the ponds and farmers ditches that deliver ag water from the Rockies, and a Skeet-Away (see eBay) spraying pyrethrum at night so it doesn’t hurt the bees. Turned an intolerable situation into trivial in one season.

  65. I’ve lived in many countries with the bastards and the “mosquito coil” is cheap and effective. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_coil#section_4

    Having a party? Burn a few. Also get yourself a little jar of ” tiger balm” dab it on and bye bye itch. All in for $10.

  66. eliz says:

    http://www.consumersearch.com/insect-repellent/natural-insect-repellent

    …Of these various types of natural ingredients, tests show that oil of lemon eucalyptus is your best bet; we found consistent good reviews for Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent (*Est. $8 for 4 oz.). The Journal of Medical Entomology concludes that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus is more effective than eight other natural repellents as well as products containing 7 to 15 percent DEET. Another professional review finds it to last a good eight hours, comparable to products containing as much as 30 percent DEET. A less formal study by Slate.com finds it to “last all night long with just a single application,” but that the odor is strong enough to “singe nose hairs.” …

  67. rd says:

    One comment on the general use of pesticides. Similar to grubs in the lawn, you would rapidly become very dependent on the pesticides since you would be eliminating the other residents that prey on grubs and mosquitos. Since the grubs (Japanese Beetle larvae) and the mosquito larvae are deposited by things that fly while the predators tend to be stay at home in the soil or in the water, the depositors will now have a benign, antiseptic environment to dump their eggs into with a much higher likely success rate with a potential population explosion.

    Eliminate mosquito larvae habitat near the house and encourage daytime and nightime airborne predators. Mosquito coils, campfires, citronella are all useful for further reducing mosquitos in your immediate area, like a deck.

  68. Bjørn says:

    Spent a week on Fire Island a few years back. We were dreading the mosquito hordes that would attack day and night. Since we were on the bay side we figured it would be even worse. When we arrived we found zero mosquitos and and did not suffer any bites (that I remember).
    While searching the garage/shed for boogie boards I noticed about 5 cases of Ortho hose end insect repellant.
    The owner had sprayed the brush around the house (not the decks or the small beach).
    Since then I have used the product in my yard and have found it to be effective for at least 3-4 weeks.
    The coverage per bottle is 2000 ft.sq. but I use it by just spraying the bushes and small trees around the patio with a spritz each and a couple of well placed spritzed on low traffic lawn areas around the house.. Our 1 acre has about 200 feet of adjoining woodland which is about 100+ feet from the house. I also spritz along that back fence. One bottle lasts me 2 years. Just don’t spray the shit all over the place.

  69. Patrick Neid says:

    As someone who lives in the tropics there are only a few things a person can do. We have heard and seen everything else.

    Long sleeves and pants at night, no matter what the temperature. Here that runs high 70′s, low 80′s.

    Deet on exposed areas–hands and neck etc. Because of the clothing you are using very little.

    Gi-normous screened porch. I use a no-see-um(we have these suckers also) screen curtain that I close at twilight. The rest of the time the porch is open.

    Ceiling fans above seating areas–they cannot fly thru the wind current. There are old timers down here that don’t even have screens.

    And finally there’s a theory that the buggers never go more than 75 yards from where they are born. Most grow up down here in the nooks and crannies of trees after big rains, ten days later they show up etc. We call it a “bloom”. So what I do is give them a place to spawn–I make it easy for them. I give them five gallon bucket condos around the property. Oh yeah, they love it. Then just before they reach maturity I dump them out. Over time you would be surprised how the general population declines. Maybe there is some truth to the 75 yard theory.

    Meanwhile for the rest, mostly the few that sneak indoors, you practice your tennis game with this:

    http://www.amazon.com/Charcoal-Companion-Amazing-Bug-Zapper/dp/B00008GS96/ref=pd_sim_lg_1

    It works on little kids to.

  70. MikeDonnelly says:

    The World Financial Center almost seems like the outdoors, so if money is no option, glass in the entire property.

  71. bonderman says:

    Our county in Southern California created a Mosquito Abatement District in the 1940′s to drain marsh wetlands. I haven’t seen a mosquito for years.

  72. bwarren says:

    I live in Houston, Texas, mosquito capital of the Gulf Coast. We have a BugDefense system with full coverage around our property and house (both small). We use a “natural” liquid in the dispensing barrel which is timed to dispense twice every 24 hours. The barel needs a refill ($200) every three months or so of daily use (less in the “winter”. http://www.bugdefence.com/

  73. jaymaster says:

    Body hair. It actually serves a purpose, so let it grow in any area you can, social norms be damned. In all seriousness, I only get bitten on the back of my neck, bottoms of my writs, and my ankles, because the buggers get tangled up anyplace else they try to bite me.

    And yes, deet on any other exposed are works wonders, if you can tolerate it. I also use REPEL, which is the pretreatment chemical for clothing. I dedicate a hat, long sleeve shirt, some long sleeve pants for summer evening wear. You spray the cloths with the Repel, allow it to dry, and you are good to go. It even lasts through several washings. I keep 3-4 sets of cloths in rotation, and only need to treat them twice per year. It also cuts down on the number that bite me in the still exposed areas. But if things are really bad, you might still need some deet on those areas.

    I also have had very good luck with the Mosquito Magnet (propane CO2 /octinol device). I have a swamp/wetlands in my back yard (teeming with every type of bug eating creature in existence, actually). But there are still plenty of mosquitoes available to attack people. When I first tried the Mosquito Magnet, I caught thousands a week. Eventually the numbers dwindled, so I went from running it 24/7 down to once a week. I even bought a second one when a tree fell on my first one. But I do have a bit of a unique situation, as my wetlands area is completely forested, and once the leaves are fully out, it is very difficult for new mosquitoes to migrate into my area.

    And yes, fans work too, and they don’t have to blow fast. I have a couple that I place on the edge of my deck. You want to be standing in the airflow. It’s also nice to have one behind you as you are cooking at the grill. It serves double duty there.

  74. wallyworld17 says:

    The Asian Tiger Mosquitoes that hit the Long Island area the last couple of years are pesky buggers. They seem to resist any lightweight effort (basically anything you get over the counter) and they are incredibly aggressive.