The Garden Lady: How to kill mosquitoes the organic way

You will be hard-pressed to find anyone in the organic community who doesn’t want to do anything about the mosquitoes. A common misconception is that organic pest control means no pest control, and nothing could be further from the truth. There are several products to rid us of unwanted pests, and these products are organic and naturally occurring. These methods are nontoxic and won’t give you a bronchial attack, as current spraying methods have done to a farmer friend of mine who is now on oxygen.

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The following is a list of organic ways to control mosquitoes:

Step 1 – Empty any standing water, no matter how small the container. If you have bird baths, change the water every three days. It takes four days for a mosquito to mature into something that can bite.

Step 2 – Treat water areas that can’t be emptied with Mosquito Dunks. If you have stock ponds or tanks you can also put a Mosquito Dunk in there, it will not hurt the animals. If you have a stagnant creek bed in your area, throw in a dunk, or add the mosquito-eating fish gambusia.

Step 3 – Treat all areas of your yards with Cedar Cide granules or spray. Garlic granules have also proven effective. Be sure to get under trees and shrubs to get all of the mosquitoes. I very successfully used Cedar Cide in a client’s yard; in less than a minute all mosquitoes were gone from the yard.

Step 4 – Attract wildlife that will eat the mosquitoes such as birds, bats, fish and dragonflies. Yes, I did say bats. They love to eat mosquitoes, and contrary to legend, do not want to bite you. My parents have bats that come out in the evening at their home, and they are fun to watch.

Step 5 – Protect yourself naturally when outdoors. Maybe it is my constant intake of garlic and onions, but mosquitoes usually don’t bite me. However, my daughter is a mosquito magnet! For her I use a citronella-based product called Buzz Away, and it works like a charm.

I will make one comment about the use of DEET, which has been recommended by Dallas County. There are safe alternatives. Studies show DEET can be harmful. Check out this article on DEET by Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor.

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  • I’m in South Oak Cliff, and we back up to the confluence of Crow Creek and Five Mile Creek. We’re Dragonfly Central, we have bats and birds and all kinds of predators… but we still have mosquitoes. I actually have “trap” containers of standing water, treated with the “Mosquito Bits” BT – the mosquitoes lay on that water, and the larvae hatch out and die, which prevents them from laying eggs that live in some other place. The other thing I started doing just this spring, is Skeeterbags – they have been REMARKABLY effective.

  • Bravo for your first suggestion! It’s spot-on. Remember to remove saucers from under flower pots in your yard, too. During an outbreak of Dengue Fever, authorities in Singapore sent Code Inspectors to apartment complexes to make sure residents weren’t collecting mosquito larvae in those little dishes of stagnant water on balconies and patios. You can see what a breeding ground these saucers could be in a complex of a couple thousand apartments. Or in your own yard, if you have lots of plants.

    You’re also right about bats. They’re highly underrated.

    But if garlic granules, Mosquito Dunks Cedar Side and citronella products really worked, you’d better believe they’d be being used in parts of the world where mosquito-borne diseases are rampant. Like…most of Africa, South America and Asia.
    FWIW, Sierra Leoneans consume copious amounts of garlic and onions (trust me…I know this from personal experience) and they still get bitten like mad.

  • Oh, how do you attract bats? Maybe we can get the City of Dallas to stop spraying and invest those millions in bats!

  • Thanks so much Andrea! I had no idea that the Mosquito Dunks are organic. SO good to know. I might purchase a bunch of them and just start dumping them in the creek that runs by my house.

    Also, thanks for the Buzz Away referral. Been looking high and low for something good and can’t find it. Lime is supposed to work but it just made me sticky, annoyed and I still got bit!

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