Mosquitoes can really ruin the summer enjoyment of your yard. Not only do their blood-sucking bites itch, they can also spread a variety of diseases, like Zika virus and West Nile virus. They aren't just a plague on you, they can also make your pets miserable if you have animals that use the yard. The following are some human and pet safe tips to help control the mosquitoes.
Tip #1: Clean your gutters
Gutters are often a hidden breeding spot for mosquitoes in the yard, simply because out of sight typically means out of mind. Make sure the gutters and the downspouts are kept clear so that water doesn't collect in the gutters and providing an area for eggs to hatch. It's also a good idea to check the ends of the downspouts to make sure water is quickly dispersing or being absorbed into the ground, instead of pooling.
Tip #2: Manage water features
Birdbaths, ponds, and fountains can all attract breeding mosquitoes. There are pesticides made to be placed in ponds and fountains, but these may not be a good idea if you have pets that sometimes drink or play in the water. A better option is to used a good filtration system in the fountain or pond pump, and then use a strong enough fountain to or circulation system so that the water is constantly moving and never stagnant. Bird baths must be emptied and refilled daily so eggs have no chance to hatch.
Tip #3: Get rid of water traps
Old tarps, empty pots, children's toys, and forgotten dog dishes are just a few examples of things that can hold water and provide a mosquito with a breeding space. Survey the entire yard and get rid of anything that is holding water. Also, check for low-lying or marshy areas in the yard. Level these out with a combination of sand and compost so water doesn't collect, or at least it drains quickly if it does.
Tip #4: Try temporary measures
Most temporary control methods are also safe for your pets. These include things like candles and other citronella-based repellents. You can also use a fogger outside before an event, such as a barbecue, to temporarily rid the area of mosquitoes. Just make sure the pet is inside while the fogger is being used. Keep in mind that these won't permanently get rid of the pests.
For more in depth control, contact a pest exterminator like Mosquito Shield. They have access to more mosquito treatments so they can help develop a plan that kills the pests without harming your pets.