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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!

  • Cyn

    I haven't had any luck with the Bounce sheets. Since moving to the country, the only thing that has worked is the medicinal smelling Listerine (I buy the WalMart brand and it works just as well). I buy the largest bottle, pour it into a garden sprayer and spray the entire area as well as myself. It may smell like a dentist's office but it works for me.

  • Eric

    One Word MOSQUITONIX,, these systems work on mosquitos, gnats, no-see-ums and everything else...fleas. ticks, palmetto bugs. We live in Hilton Head and everything was pretty much built on swamps in this area, bugs are horrible. We invested in one of these systems. One more word AWESOME. We actually took our yard back and enjoy sitting out grilling and watching the golfers go by. Only bad thing is they are mainly in TX, FL, GA, AL, SC, and NC.

  • rotterdemon

    fresh basil works very well and smells ok too. I always let a few plants flower and use the floers and leaves on exposed skin. Ive heard peppermint works well too.

  • Phil

    I always use this one tactic, in addition to fans, lights sprays ect. I keep a full tub of water in the front yard and whenever I see mosquito larva swimming in it, I dump the tub out and wait a couple days before re-filling.

    Of course, this works best when there's no other standing water around. Even tarps can act as breeding ground. I put the tub where it has some shade, but also where I walk by it daily so as to keep an eye on it.

    So it costs next to nothing, there's no chemicals of any kind, no electricity, no moving parts. The tub is a bit of yard art, it makes for a nice place to quickly wash small items like muddy boots, it is part of my fire safety equipment, it's useful to cool off stuff when I weld, the cat likes it, probably other reasons why I will always do this! And I think the mosquitos like my tub, they're always using it.

  • farkld2

    Put lemon dish soap in a hose end sprayer. Over spray the entire yard before a party. Should keep the bugs down.

  • austinglasguy

    I read in the Barefoot Doctor's Manual (from the early PRC) that a dish pan of water with unscented dish soap floating on it drowns the mosquitoes because the water's surface tension is broken and they land and drown. BUT you have to place it outside the house in the morning when its still cool. I've done this and it works. For the rest of the day and early evening hours a good strong outside fan is the best. I hesitate to use sprays and all that 'cause of my outside cats.

  • Terry

    All natural. Get a a standing fan or several depending on the location and number of people you want to protect. The breeze keeps them away.

  • 107 Comments / 6 Pages

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