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Natural and Chemical-Free Mosquito Control

Natural and Chemical-Free Mosquito Control

By Tobias Roberts Rise Writer
Jul 28, 2020

Climate change continues to raise temperatures during the summer and creating abnormally mild winters. With this, mosquitoes and other common pests are appearing in record numbers everywhere. The presence of a cloud of mosquitoes floating around your backyard can certainly ruin a summer evening when you have friends over for a barbecue. With the warming of our planet, the transmission rate of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Dengue, Zika, and others will increase.

With mosquito populations only expected to rise in the coming years, is there a way to protect your home and your family from potentially dangerous biting insects without dependence on chemical pest control?

The Dangers of Chemical Pest Control

While almost everyone will appreciate a yard free of mosquitoes and other pests, we seldom stop considering the dangers to both human and environmental health that comes with the widespread application of synthetic pesticides.


Are Synthetic Pesticides Bad?

Organophosphates are among the most common types of pesticides used around homes. But, it is essential to know that these chemicals are actually in the same family as sarin, a nerve gas that the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction. Two of the most common synthetic chemicals used for killing and repelling mosquitoes are bifenthrin and cyfluthrin. Bifenthrin is classified as a possible human carcinogen. Studies suggest that cyfluthrin most likely causes substantial damage to bee populations that are essential pollinators for the food that our farmers grow (and we eat).

Another serious issue related to the application of chemical pest control is called "pesticide drift." According to a study by Scientific American, over 95% of applied pesticides miss their target. Sprayers, misters, and other tools used to apply pesticides around the home are susceptible to wind currents and often spread to neighboring areas. So they really should not be used unless deemed essential. Moreover, the volatilization of pesticides occurs when pesticides evaporate from the leaves of plants into the air. This process constitutes yet another threat to human and environmental health. While certain pesticides can undoubtedly help kill mosquitoes, they inevitably pose a risk when they spread to playgrounds, forests, waterways, or other areas.


How Do Pesticides Affect People? 

Pesticides can enter the human body in three ways: oral entry, respiratory entry, and dermal entry through contact with the skin. Studies have shown that children's growing and developing bodies are particularly susceptible to adverse effects caused by pesticide exposure. According to the Pesticide Action Network of North America, learning disabilities, autism, and an increased risk of asthma are only a few potential health vulnerabilities that pesticide exposure creates for children. With the proof of these dangers, courts are moving forward to force the EPA to ban some of these pesticides.

mosquito skin

With so many other adverse health and environmental side effects, the cost of applying chemical pest control around your yard might very well outweigh the potential benefits. The chances of getting a dangerous mosquito-borne disease from a mosquito bite are meager, so applying chemical pesticides might pose more of a health risk.

What Healthy Pesticide Solutions Are Available?

There are several different organic and natural ways to control insects, ticks, and other biting insects that you might encounter at home. These natural pest control strategies cause no harm to human health while also not negatively affecting the environment and the wide variety of beneficial insects that keep ecosystems intact. Below, we look at three natural and organic strategies to effectively kill and repel mosquitoes and insects.

mosquito barrier Dutch Growers
Mosquito Barrier. Photo Credit: Dutch Growers

Garlic Yard Sprays

It turns out that garlic kills more than just vampires. An extract made from nothing more than liquid garlic and water is an effective and proven way to eliminate mosquitoes around your yard. Because mosquitoes are soft-bodied insects, high concentrations of garlic can be toxic to them, and when they detect the smell of garlic, they will stay well away from these areas. 

Mosquitoes, however, have a sense of smell that is up to 10,000 times stronger than that of humans, and they use that sense of smell to detect subtle skin odors to find their next meal. They can even smell the carbon dioxide that humans and other animals exhale. Because of this heightened sense of smell, the garlic extract that you spray on your yard will be completely undetectable to a human's sense of smell. Any noticeable odors should dissipate within 10 minutes after application. 

Mosquito Barrier is one company selling liquid garlic sprays to kill and repel mosquitoes. Their product is purported to repel mosquitoes for up to a month, meaning that you will only need 3-4 applications per year. The garlic extract will not only kill and repel adult mosquitoes, but it will also coat areas of standing water that suffocate mosquito larvae, thus preventing more mosquitoes from emerging.

Mosquito Magnet Home Depot
Mosquito Magnet. Photo Credit: Home Depot

Carbon Dioxide Emitters

As discussed above, mosquitoes search for their "prey" by sensing carbon dioxide exhaled by humans and animals. So, CO2 mosquito traps offer another innovative and chemical-free mosquito control solution. These traps work by emitting small amounts of CO2, heat, and sometimes other natural mosquito attractors such as certain essential oils that attempt to mimic a human being. Mosquitoes will be drawn to these traps, thinking that they have found an easy meal. A small vacuum device then sucks the mosquitoes into an inescapable trap where they eventually perish.

While these devices are useful, they can be a more expensive form of mosquito control, though the added benefit of keeping your yard free of pesticides might outweigh the higher cost. Mosquito Magnet is one company that offers several different models of CO2 mosquito traps with a wide variety of prices.

Mosquito Dunks
Mosquito Dunks. Photo Credit: Gardener's Supply

Neem Oil and Mosquito Dunks

Another proven strategy to get rid of mosquitoes in all stages of their development is a combination of neem oil and mosquito dunks. Neem oil, produced from the neem tree, is native to Asia and other tropical areas of the world. Neem leaves and seeds contain sallanin, a natural compound that actively kills and repels adult mosquitoes. Neem oil can be applied as a spray or burned through incense and other means to repel and kill mosquitoes.

Neem oil is less effective against mosquito larvae that grow in water. So, it is generally a good idea to use another product that will specifically target the larva and kill them before they develop into biting adults. When Mosquito Dunks are placed in water, and they release BTI. BTI is a bacterium that is lethal to mosquito larva but harmless to all other living things. They can be safely used in areas of standing water, such as ponds, watering troughs, and other areas around your home.

Mosquito on skin

Bottom Line

Before using dangerous chemicals to kill those pesky mosquitoes, try a natural alternative—for your health and the health of our environment.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-06-02T01:00:49+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.