Mosquitos range from being a nuisance to carriers of diseases such as malaria, West Nile, dengue, Zika, and more. There are many ways to get rid of mosquitoes, from insecticides to natural and organic options. If you’re not comfortable with bug zappers, you can attract natural mosquito predators. If you prefer to not use DEET, you can create essential oil sprays.
There are many ways to get rid of mosquitoes, but they aren’t all equally effective. The This Old House Reviews Team has rounded up the best way to get rid of mosquitoes, all in one place. In this guide you’ll find tips on removing them from both your house and your yard.
If your mosquito problem is too serious for you to tackle on your own, we recommend hiring a professional pest control company to banish these bloodsuckers.
Our top recommendations for the most effective mosquito control are Orkin, Teminix, Rentokil, and TruGreen Pest Control. We always recommend getting several quotes before you make your decision. Read on to discover how to eliminate mosquitoes the DIY way—and the benefits of going with the pros.
Before we get into the methods for eliminating these nuisances, let’s go over a few mosquito basics. There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes, with roughly 200 species in the U.S. alone.
It’s a common misconception that mosquitoes suck blood for food. They’re not technically parasites, because they only suck blood to nourish their bodies so they can lay and hatch healthy eggs. Mosquitoes can lay 100 eggs at a time, so populations of this pest can get out of control quickly. When eliminating mosquitoes, it’s key to use multiple methods, since not all approaches kill every stage of the life cycle. Mosquitoes lay their hardy eggs in standing water, such as ponds and buckets.
It’s also important to note that repelling and killing mosquitoes aren’t the same thing. Repelling mosquitoes will keep them away from you by making you less attractive to them (they’re attracted to the carbon dioxide from our breath, elements of our sweat, and maybe even beer, according to some studies).
Killing mosquitoes may seem like a tempting option, but it’s not always in our—or the environment’s—best interest. That’s because mosquitoes can become resistant to pesticides, making them harder to kill overall. Killing mosquitoes can also be toxic to the environment, depending on the pesticide, and can mess up the natural ecosystem, since animals like birds and bats eat mosquitoes.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your House
You’re more likely to have a mosquito issue in your yard than in your home itself, but having them buzzing around during bedtime can be frustrating.
Mosquitoes buzzing around are easier to spot during the day than at night. If it’s getting late and you want to track them down before they can make a meal out of your skin, turn on a lamp, flashlight, or your smartphone, and wait for them to be attracted to the light.
Here are the top ways to repel the mosquitoes that have already hunkered down in your home.
Applying traditional chemical mosquito repellent will keep them from making a meal of you. You should check out products that contain 30 to 50% DEET—the gold standard ingredient for mosquito repellent. In the past, there were some concerns that DEET was not safe to use on human skin. But reviews done by the Environmental Protection Agency have found that DEET continues to meet safety standards when used properly.
The effects of DEET typically last for up to 12 hours. Experts recommend using a repellent that’s 30-50% DEET for adults, and 10-30% for children for children over two months. Do not spray repellent on infants under two months.
Fix any gaps
The first step is patching any gaps in screens and doors. It won’t do any good if you go through a careful process to rid your home of mosquitoes just to invite them in again. If you can see sunlight in the space around your door, that means it isn’t properly sealed. There’s an easy fix—purchase a simple door strip.
If you’re someone who likes to sleep with the windows open at night, consider getting some mosquito netting to keep yourself bite-free.
There are several ways you can get a mosquito trap—order one online, buy one from the grocery store or hardware store, or even make your own, DIY-style. To make your own, cut a bottle in half, flip one of the cut half upside down and tuck it in the lower half of the bottle.
Boil one cup of sugar and one cup of water, then add two cups of cool water. Let the mixture cool to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Add in a teaspoon of active, dry yeast, then pour the mixture into the trap. Secure the trap with tape. The mosquitoes will be attracted to the sugar, get stuck, and drown. You’ll need to replace your homemade solution periodically.
Mosquitoes can’t fly well against the wind. This may sound overly simple, but sometimes, simple is what you need. Turn your fan on and watch the mosquitoes scatter and ultimately give up.
Some outdoor soaps are specially designed to repel mosquitoes. After you bathe with 100% natural, non-toxic soap like Skin Armour Deep Woods Outdoor soap, the scent of your sweat won’t bother you, but it will repel mosquitoes.
Essential oils are said to repel mosquitoes, but they may not be as effective as traditional pesticides. Your best bet is an essential oil that contains lavender or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Other options include lemongrass, peppermint, cloves, and tee tree.
Preparation is simple. Simply mix a few drops of your chosen essential oil with one cup of water, pour it into a spray bottle, shake it up, and you’re done. You can spray it on your bare skin and around your home, being careful not to spray it on any delicate fabrics.
Coconut oil and neem oil
A combination of coconut oil and neem oil, mixed together well with water, can repel mosquitoes for up to half a day. Spray it on your skin as a natural repellent.
Burning lavender candles, or well-known citronella, will keep mosquitoes away, since they can’t stand the scent.
You can follow the essential oil spray process using garlic instead, though it won’t smell as sweet. Many people prefer the scent of eucalyptus to garlic in large doses.
Camphor is a versatile repellent. You can either leave tablets in your room and let them evaporate, or, more effectively, burn some camphor in the room. Close all doors and windows and leave it burning for about 20 minutes. You’ll have to be outside the room, but supervise from a window. You may hate the smell as much as mosquitoes do.
Simply burn some coffee grounds in a coffee tray or egg carton, and trust the smoke to repel these pests. Do this carefully in an area where it won’t cause damage or set off a fire alarm.
Sage and rosemary
Burning sage and rosemary may smell delightful and soothing to you, but mosquitoes hate the scent and will steer clear.
Basil is a multi-use mosquito repellent. You can place a plant on your windowsill to keep mosquitoes at bay, or even use it as a topical oil and apply it to your skin.
Applying lemon balm directly to the skin, especially sensitive areas like ankles and wrists, has been shown to be effective. Simply crush it up and rub it on your skin.
Listerine mouth wash may sound random, but some people swear by it. Listerine contains eucalyptus oil. Apply it to your skin, smell minty fresh, and enjoy your mosquito-free existence.
Bug zapper rackets may mean instant gratification, killing mosquitoes on contact, this method can get tiring if done over and over. Also, be mindful not to zap harmless insects.
The Best Way to Get Rid of Mosquitoes In Your Yard
Now, you’re safe from mosquitos in your home. But you don’t want to step in your backyard to a swarm of mosquitos.
Applying a chemical insect repellent designed for the outdoors is a solid way to get rid of mosquitoes. Repellents like Off! Bug Control Backyard Pretreat can protect the perimeters of lawns, backyards, and gardens for up to eight weeks.
You can also spray a traditional, safe repellent on your skin. Picaridin is another option, a synthesized pepper plant ingredient, which lasts for up to 14 hours.
Permethrin is an active ingredient in chemical repellents that should never be used on skin, but can be incredibly handy if applied to camping gear, clothing, and shoes. Unlike DEET, which only repels mosquitoes, products with permethrin will kill mosquitoes on contact. Unfortunately, it can irritate skin, and kill beneficial insects like bees.
Mosquito traps are a handy way to control your mosquito population. These traps trick mosquitoes into flying into them by emulating the visual and smell stimuli that attract mosquitoes to humans.
There are many varieties of mosquito traps out there. Some work by trapping mosquitoes to a sticky surface, while others electrocute them with an electric grid. The Mosquito Magnet is one of the most popular traps—it works by vacuuming mosquitoes up.
For this method, place your traps in a shady area. You may have to move them around to find the optimal placement for ensnaring mosquitoes. It’s worth noting that different species of mosquitoes react differently to traps, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all remedy.
Zappers work by electrocuting mosquitoes. This method can help you fry a few of these annoying insects, but overall, it’s inefficient and comes with its risk—you may end up killing beneficial and harmless bugs.
Eliminate standing water
Adult mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and that’s where their larvae hatch. Empty all stagnant bodies of water you can, like any water that’s pooled in buckets, gutters, ditches, and pet bowls. Make sure to refresh the water in any bird baths and check to see if your potted plants have enough drainage.
Treat pools and ponds
For standing water that you can’t eliminate, treat. Apply a larvicide dunk or liquid larvicide and run the filter regularly. To prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in your pool, be sure to cover the pool at night and months when you aren’t using it.
There’s also a natural alternative. BTI, a naturally occurring bacterium found in soil, produces toxins that target and kill mosquito larvae. You can spray it over water like ponds, flower pots, and bird baths. It’s non-toxic to humans.
Citronella candles are a long-time fan favorite for repelling mosquitoes. You can buy sizable ones to place around your yard and ensure mosquitoes will keep their distance.
These handy devices are spray-free, emitting a no-mess repellent in a compact container. Completely scent-free, these easy-to-use containers are easy to refill and provide up to 15 feet of protection.
This is the sample principle as a fan indoors, but you probably have room for a larger, higher-power fan in your yard than in your living room.
Keep your yard trim and tidy
Mosquitoes like to rest and settle in areas that are cool, damp, and dark. Manicure your lawn, trim trees and shrubs, and make sure your grass isn’t getting too tall. This will make your yard less hospitable to mosquitoes.
Plant natural deterrents
Repelling mosquitoes doesn’t have to be just practical—it can be pretty, too. Planting natural deterrents can spruce up your garden while keeping these prevalent pests away. The following flora will keep mosquitoes away:
- Lemon balm
Cedar oil is a common mosquito repellent ingredient. Cedar mulch soaks up excess moisture, keeping it in the soil and deterring mosquitoes from settling in your vegetation.
Predators can’t completely eradicate your issue if you’re overrun with mosquitoes, but if you’re just getting a few unwanted critters here and there, attracting them is worth a shot.
Many birds are natural mosquito predators, including purple martins, waterfowl, swallows, and migratory songbirds. Setting up bird feeders is a solid step in attracting these birds.
If you have a pond, you can benefit from predators like goldfish, koi and red-eared slider turtles.
Mosquitoes also fall prey to other insects—some you’d be happy to see in your garden and others, not so much. Spiders eat mosquitoes when they fly into their webs. Dragonflies gobble mosquitoes right up, and they’re drawn to white yarrow, meadow sage, and black-eyed Susan flowers.
Installing a bat house can also help. Bats eat up mosquitoes, but you may not want to attract bats near your home.
Yellow LED lighting
Mosquitoes are attracted to the light from traditional light bulbs. Warm, yellow LED lights are less appealing to them, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Professional Mosquito Control
While you may find some measure of success with DIY methods, if you’re dealing with tons of mosquitoes, you need to call in a professional pest control company. They have the equipment, products, and know-how to eliminate your issue. Professional pest control companies have the expertise to kill mosquitoes at all stages of the life cycle, and are more knowledgeable about safety practices when applying chemicals.
Here are our top recommendations for professional mosquito control.
This trusted pest control company follows a targeted mosquito control process that involves monthly treating and added protection against mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile and Zika.
After completing a thorough inspection, your Orkin specialist will create a specific treatment plan.
Orkin uses three primary treatment controls—microbial insects that inhibit breeding in water, insecticides applied to plants that adult mosquitoes use for shelter, and insect growth regulators that prevent the development of mosquitoes in stagnant bodies of water.
To get a free quote from Orkin, call 877-871-4752 or fill out this simple form.
Terminix’s mosquito solution promises to kill mosquitoes with a fast-acting, specialized treatment. Its polymer layer protects the product’s active ingredient against weather and lawn watering, allowing weeks-long mosquito prevention.
First, Terminix inspects your yard for mosquitoes. Then, the technician will create a treatment plan that involves a protection zone. Terminix offers a one-time application and monthly treatment.
If you’d like to get a free quote from Terminix, call 866-458-5559 or fill out this form.
Rentokil prevents mosquitoes with its companies J.C. Ehrlich, Western Exterminator, and Presto-X, who provide treatments of fast-acting, odor-free products that double as tick protection. The pest control company creates a barrier that kills adult mosquitoes when they land on it.
If you’re interested in a free quote, call 610-288-0965.
TruGreen offers monthly mosquito applications using specialized equipment that strategically delivers products to mosquitoes’ favorite hiding places, like potted plants and ornamental foliage. Treating these areas creates a protective barrier from mosquitoes looking for shelter. The company claims to rid your yard of mosquitoes within 24 hours of the first application.
You can get a free quote from TruGreen by calling 888-535-3193 or filling out this form.