1. Eliminate stagnant water
Mosquitoes can develop in as little as 1 teaspoon of water in as little as 4.5 days, so if you purge your yard of all objects that can accumulate water, female mosquitoes will be completely unable to lay eggs in your yard. They will then go elsewhere and their progeny will be somebody else’s problem. Flexible downspout extenders are the worst because most homeowners have no idea they are full of water. Here’s a longer list.
2. Thin out ground cover
Mosquitoes like to hang out in moist shaded areas during hot days so you can encourage them to leave your yard by thinning out the vegetation on your property. In particular, get rid of (non-native) English ivy.
3. Deploy traps that kill pregnant females
Buy several autocidal gravid ovitraps and set them up in shady spots in your yard. BioQuip and Springstar sell them, but you can also make your own. If you can convince your neighbors to do the same you can reduce mosquito numbers substantially. More details.
4. Add mosquito-killing bacteria to standing water
Thanks to evolution, there’s a strain of bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis var israelensis) that specializes on mosquito larvae. Just add to rain barrels, bird baths, ponds, etc., every few weeks. Sold as Mosquito Dunks, Mosquito Bits. Pro-tip: use a slingshot to launch a Mosquito Dunk into neighbor’s abandoned swimming pool.
5. Make larvicidal traps
6. Make a fan trap to kill foraging females
Buy two box fans. Cover one side of each fan with screening, then coat screening with permethrin. Then situate fans on either side of your favorite chair outside. Mosquitoes are weak fliers and will be blown onto screens, then die from insecticide. Works for outside dog beds, too. Here’s a diagram showing the concept, except with chickens:
7. Buy a Thermacell
I don’t own one of these but they get good reviews. Some models attach to your belt and others just sit on tables.
8. Wear clothes treated with permethrin
Some outdoor stores carry clothes that are treated with permethrin. You can also just buy permethrin spray and treat your own clothes. Kills mosquitoes when they land, plus works as mild repellent, too. The chemical lasts for 6 washings.
9. Use only registered repellents
Buy repellents that contain EPA-registered chemicals such as DEET, picaridin, IR2525, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-methane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Avoid everything else even if packaging makes extraordinary claims. If you want something all natural, just stay inside and watch nature documentaries.
10. Make a sugar trap to rid room of mosquitoes
If you are plagued by mosquitoes inside your house, make a sugar trap. Just cut off the top of a plastic soda bottle and invert it to make a funnel, then bait with old fruit, fruit juice, or a flower that has nectar. Mosquitoes have a highly evolved ability to track the volatiles of rotting fruit and nectar (they require sugar regularly) and will fly into these devices and die when they can’t get out. Do not add yeast. Hang from ceiling if you have a dog. Note that these traps will attract all sorts of dipterans, not just mosquitoes.
And, of course, don’t waste time or money on mosquito-control myths and scams. If you have people in your family prone to believing in magical cures and such, share that page with them.
If you are considering spraying your yard with insecticide, please read this first.
Disclosures: I have none. I make nothing off of recommending any of the above products.