Skip to main content

It's smart to take refuge under a mosquito net. Photo: Getty Images

Memorial day has come and gone, and you know what that means -- summertime is (unofficially) here! And with the mid-afternoon storms and intense heat, do you know what else has arrived? Yep, those pesky mosquitoes.

If you're a mosquito magnet, you can spray yourself down with mosquito repellent (there are natural mosquito repellents too), but that won't keep the sneaky critters from bugging you at your picnic table.

So how can you keep these uninvited guests from crashing your outdoor get-togethers? We're rounding up some tips, ideas and gadgets beyond bug zappers and citronella candles that may help steer those menacing mosquitoes far away from your backyard barbecue.

(But before you read on -- Show off your garden! Upload photos of your blooming flowers on our sister site,

Prevention Is the Best Medicine
If your property has poor drainage, puddles or wet piles of leaves, you could be creating the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, which multiply quickly. To prevent these pests from taking up residence in your yard, remove standing water -- empty flower pots, buckets, watering cans and other vessels; sweep away puddles; get rid of standing water on your pool cover; keep your gutters dry and clean; and re-slope problem areas so that the water drains properly. Trim any overgrown grasses or foliage on your property so that the mosquitoes have no place to hide.

outdoor candleGetty Images

Move Over, Citronella!
Although citronella has been synonymous with bug control for a long time, the jury is still out on its effectiveness. If you're looking for an alternative scent with great mosquito-repelling properties, try lemon eucalyptus oil. Even the Center for Disease Control has listed it as a helpful repellent. Lemon eucalyptus candles exist but can be hard to come by. If you can't find one, try making your own. Beyond lemon eucalyptus, other scents that are thought to repel mosquitoes are garlic, pennyroyal, thyme, and rosemary.

Invest In a Mosquito Net
Mosquito nets aren't just for the tropics -- you can purchase various types to set up on the lawn, around a porch or gazebo -- or even a mosquito umbrella cover for your patio set. It's easy to install and you can remove it in a jiffy. It's also waterproof.

Yellow Bug Lights
Bugs are attracted to light (which is why those bug zappers are so darn bright). Yellow bug lights are basically yellow light bulbs -- similar to your regular light bulbs. The yellow color doesn't actually repel mosquitoes or other bugs, but it becomes almost invisible to them. If they can't see the light, mosquitoes are not attracted to it and they won't gather around it. Makes sense, right? Replace exterior bulbs with yellow lights -- which are available as compact fluorescent bulbs too.

Xmosquito is a home mosquito prevention system that uses pyrethrum, a natural insecticide taken from dried chrysanthemums. The system consists of a device that sprays a fine mist of pyrethrum in a defined area. You can choose to set it on a timer, control it manually, activate it via remote control or just set it to automatic mode. I have not used this particular product, but it sounds like an interesting approach to pest control. The device even has a rain, wind and motion sensor.

Tip: Want to know how active mosquitoes are in your area? The Weather Channel has a nifty mosquito activity monitor -- simply plug in your zip code.

Do you have a surefire way to rid your space of mosquitoes? Tell us in the comments below!

  • Joan

    I put listerine is a spray bottle...with water....spray my arms and legs when outside.
    I spray entrance doors and windows. No bugs at all. Great for getting rid of...bees.

  • GENE

    use dryer sheets. either tuck one (or more) on a belt loop or any place exposed, or simply wipe exposed skin with it before going outside. for added protection, wet the sheet first, then apply it. no toxic chemicals to absorb into your skin and it really works great!

  • Loretta

    tried the dyer sheets , they do not work

  • Darrell R.

    while stationed in Panama,CZ ,skitter heaven. (1960-63). Iserve as Medcial Coprsman at the Marine Barracks, I dispense thousands of BI tabs, worked for most of the guys(not all), also worked in VietNam. Their cheap, safe and available.

  • keysjaws

    Listen to Darrel R........1 B1 tablet in the AM lasts all day....keeps those mosquitos at bay....

  • Terri

    'squitos don't seem to bother with me but friends swear by placing fabric softener sheets in their pockets when they're outdoors and that it keeps them away......and smells a whole lot better than bug spray.

  • enzomaxus

    skin so soft by avon always works bathe in it or just rub a little on all over exposed areas even clothes

  • Emily

    you're right enzomaxus. i live on a farm and i get mosquito bites in places like under my knees, under my thighs,sometimes one my stomach, and ocastionly on my behind as well as other parts of my body. then my mom found out about skin so soft and it really works!!! execpt it makes your skin soft and mines needs to be tough because i live on a farm and in the country with tons of amish niebors and relitives so tough skin runs in the family and i like it. Some times i put skin so soft on my bed and they don't come near. mom says that's because they HATE the smell.

  • Pathfinder

    After noticing that flies and mosquitoes didn't seem to be around our deck when the conditions were breezy, I moved a cyclone fan onto the deck and kept it on low. The principle is that the little critters can't get there bearings in the moving air. It seems to work.

  • Alma

    You are right . The fan works. We do a lot of camping and always use a fan outside. Keeps all the flying bugs away.

  • Ed Pruett

    I am glad you brought this up. I was going to suggest a couple large fans on the area where people will congregate. In Nam, many people used mosquito netting. I did not like the stuff because you could get tangled up in it when the rockets, RPGs or enemy soldiers were coming into the area. I simply had a fan going whenever I was around the bed or sleeping. I never got one bite from a mosquito or fly when I was in my bed. Most of the time we did not sleep with a sheet or blanket except in the rainy season. Bugs have a tough time flying in a strong wind. The fan worked. Today, I keep a ceiling fan going and I take garlic tablets once a week. Fans work.

  • JT

    When working in the yard, take one or two bounce dryer sheets with you and put them on your belt or on you, Mosquitos hate the bounce, you won't be bothered!

  • Sarah

    All you need is Avon Skin So Soft lotion to keep mosquitos off of you. I went to a high school reunion barbque in Louisiana at a house on the bayou. I used the Avon lotion and did not get one bite. Believe me, it works.

  • Nina

    My mum used to mix Skin-So-Soft with shampoo when she bathed our dogs to keep off the fleas and mosquitoes (I live in one of the first areas to have been hit with West Nile virus and we lived right near a swamp at this time, so this was doubly important). It worked like a charm, and in "low-flea" months we didn't even use flea medicine--just rubbed Skin-So-Soft behind the dogs' necks and at the base of their tails.

    Something to remember is that if you're using a bug zapper or other "attractive" method, keep it AWAY from where you're sitting! A zapper is no use if bugs have to fly through your party to get to it.

  • MojaveMike

    Agreed. Tested for generations. I use deet, but for the ladies with sensitive skin you can't beat it.

  • W Lord

    I disagree. Avon skin so soft is very effective against flies, like green head flys that we get on the beach but is not effective on mosquitos at all. After years of landscaping work and experimenting with it. I am certain this is true.

  • Tracy

    This solution always worked for me when I lived in Florida. Take an old garden feeder that attaches to your garden hose and fill with the following solution: 1/3 stale beer (any kind it doesn't matter) 1/3 epsom salt and 1/3 mouth wash (with alcohol). Put it in the feeder, attach it to the hose and spray your entire yard including shrubs, trees and even door ways. We did this twice a year and never had to worry. We also noticed that it kept the bugs from eating our plants and it kept our dog flea free. You can also put just the mouth wash in a spray bottle and spray your porch or patio area. The smell will be strong at first but then in about an hour you won't be able to tell. I hope this helps!!

  • Judy

    That mouth wash really works! But I have to hit it with a little Yard Guard afterwords. Because of the flies. They love the smell!

  • MF

    epsom salt solution of some sort? or like, a cup of beer, a cup of mouth wash & a cup of epsom salt crystals?

  • oklahoma

    the dryer sheets work, but i understand that the chemicals in them are carcinogenic.


Follow Us

  • No features currently available.

  • More Hot Topics The Daily Fix  •  DIY Warrior  •  Home Ec  •  Handmade
    DIY Disaster Doctor  •  In the Workshop  •  Product Picks

    Home Improvement Videos