We all know the feeling: It’s a beautiful day, you are enjoying your outdoor spaces and within minutes of soaking up the sun, a pesky, annoying buzz…mosquitoes!
You may have read (or seen on TikTok) that certain plants can be used as a solution to this irritating and persistent problem. Lavender, Citronella, Catmint, Bee Balm and Lemongrass (to name a few) are often marketed as ‘Mosquito Repellents’ with a guarantee of, “Plant these to repel mosquitos!” It seems like an easy and simple remedy. If only it were true. Some plants can indeed deter adult mosquitos but require elbow grease. To utilize the ‘mosquito repellent’ qualities in these desirable plants, you must either crush, burn or extract the oil from their foliage. A temporary solution at best. This begs the question; is there a sure-fire plant that will protect you and your landscape from these pesky intruders? Unfortunately, the answer is, ‘No.’
There is hope though! Take a look around your yard for areas where water collects. Adult female mosquitoes will seek out areas with shallow or standing water to lay their eggs, which then become larvae. Disrupting the life cycle in the larval stage is the only proven way to prevent the pests. A mosquito dunk works wonders! We recommend Bonide ‘Mosquito Beater WSP.’ It contains a highly selective microbial insecticide that controls mosquito larvae in water and will not harm existing wildlife such as fish or birds. Just add the water-soluble pouch to your water garden, flowerpot, rain barrel, roof gutter, or birdbath. Here is a tip: Place some straw, dead leaves or other organic material in a bucket and fill partially with water. Allow the mixture to ferment (usually within a couple of days) and add a mosquito dunk. Adult mosquitoes are attracted to fermented material and will lay their eggs.
Use a mosquito dunk instead of spraying or fogging with an insecticide (even ones labeled “natural.”) The latter method can potentially exterminate helpful insects and pollinators, some of which attract songbirds and keep your flowers blooming. Although plants do not prevent mosquitos, they can still be beautiful in your garden. Just don’t forget to use the dunks!