Mosquitos seem to be the never ending battle we fight every year as the temperatures rise and humidity climbs. Store shelves are stocked with chemical, and DEET filled options to spray, lather, and coat our bodies. Although these may be good solutions when entering a wooded area, there’s gotta be a more organic, and less harmful way to create a mosquito free zone, right? Here are our favorite 5 skeeter beaters to help keep you safe (and sane) as you wage war on these suckers this summer:
1. Mosquito Beater by Bonide
This product came to us as a recommendation from one of our favorite local organic farmers, as a way to keep his personal outdoor patio skeet free. Mosquito Beater is an organic, simple to use, long(ish) lasting solution to mosquitoes in your yard and around your patio. Simply sprinkle the fine (and surprisingly pleasant smelling) granules on the ground. In about 1 hour, the product becomes effective, and will last for up to 3 weeks! The active ingredients in this product consist of just citronella oil, garlic, geranium oil, cedarwood oil, and lemongrass oil. That’s about as natural as it gets.
Pros- Easy to use, works quickly, organic- people and pet safe!
Cons- Non-ideal weather will hinder length of effectiveness (primarily rain and wind).
$8.99, covers 1,500 sq ft. Available in our store, in the insect control section.
2. MosquitoDunks by Summit
Water- a common thread in summer time routines for a lot of us. Unfortunately it’s also where these blood sucking summer villains like to set up their breeding grounds. MosquitoDunks are a very effective, organic product to pop into any pool of standing water where these suckers like to breed. Animal safe, this product can be floated in anything from bird baths, to ponds, to flowerpots and tree holes. Although it will not kill existing biting adults, it will do a great job at getting rid of the larva before they get old enough to come after us. Remains effective for a minimum for 30 days.
Pros- Think-ahead preventative, great for yards with any standing water, animal safe.
Cons- Not safe for human consumption, so not recommended for use in pools where you might be swimming, does not kill existing adult mosquitos., therefore will not prevent you from getting bitten today.
$13.99, pack of 6. Available in our store, in the insect control section.
3. Citronella Candles
Citronella candles are an easy go-to when spending time outside. With nearly immediate results, there’s a reason these little guys seem to be a summertime staple. Citronella candles are simply regular candles made with citronella essential oil, making them a perfect natural alternative to DEET filled products. We carry three different styles of candles, which will get you ready to light up your next outdoor gathering. (Pro tip, from our Jane-of-all-trades, Laurie- when seated around a patio table, place a candle on the table, as well as under! The one under the table will help repel the mosquitoes flying low, and keep your guest from constantly swatting at their legs!)
Pros- Pretty, easy to use, natural, will burn for a total for 48 hours.
Cons- Not necessarily pet safe, can only be used in ideal conditions (high wind, or rain will not let them stay on)
$32. Available in our store.
4. Mosquito repellent bouquet or pot
Can you think of a prettier, more natural, or organic way to keep mosquitoes at bay than creating your very own skeet deterring centerpiece, pot, or bouquet? There is a large number of plants, both winter hardy and not, that will be you ally in the war against these suckers. Here is a list of just some of the plants you can easily plant in your yard, around your patio, or in pots:
Some of these are more invasive than others (like the mint, or the citronella) and may serve you better kept in a pot, where they can be contained. A lot of them, however would do very well potted together, and act as an attractive mosquito repellent in your outdoor space.
Here is an example of a beautiful patio centerpiece created by Tony here at Garden Heights, which features all mosquito repelling plants.
As these grow, you can easily cut them back, and create a quick mosquito repelling bouquet!
Herbs- starting at $4.99, in the herb section on the far south west corner of our property. *some selections may no longer be available this season*
Potted centerpiece- pot $24.99, herbs 5x $4.99. Total under $45!
5. DIY Citronella Oil
Citronella is among the mosteffective plant at deterring these pests. It is easily grown in a pot, and can be overwintered to use again the following spring and summer! Every year, one of your employees, Weronika, cuts her citronella back significantly, and turns it into an oil to be used as a homemade bug spray, and even easily made into citronella candles.
Below is a quick and easy step by step on how to make your own citronella oil!
Slow cooker, or crock-pot
Cheesecloth, or strainer with coffee filter
1oz citronella leaves and stems
4cups olive oil
Time: 4 hours+
Combine olive oil and citronella cuttings in the slow cooker
Cook the mixture on LOW for about 4 hours
Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve with a coffee filtered inserted.
Repeat this process, using the existing infused olive oil as many times as you’d like. *DO NOT ADD FRESH OLIVE OIL* I typically do this process 4-5 times, over the course of a couple of days. The more potent the mixture, the less you have to use for an effective bug repellent
Once you’ve infused the olive oil as many times as you’d like, let it cool. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
Once you have made the citronella oil, try defusing it with water, some witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar to create a totally natural bug spray!
We really hope that these tips will help you keep your sanity this summer, and if you ever have any questions about any of these skeeter beater methods, please come in and chat with one of us! We’d love to do whatever we can to help you enjoy the beautiful outdoor space you’ve worked hard to create!
Have a very fun, and safe summer!