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How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes: The Ultimate Guide

There is a saying that goes: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

Mosquitoes are the bane of our existence. Despite their size, they can be extremely annoying as well as hazardous, acting as carriers of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue.

For this reason, it’s important to know how to get rid of them if they invade your home.

So how do you get rid of mosquitoes?

You can either use insecticides that are easily found in stores or go for chemical-free home remedies, or try and prevent the arrival of mosquitoes completely.

Source reduction

Many species of mosquitoes need standing water to breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water because water is required for larval development and the transformation into adult insects.

Water also acts as a stimulus for hatching. Therefore, one of the most effective methods of getting rid of mosquitoes would be to get rid of the standing water in your surroundings.

If there is any standing water in your environment, get rid of it. The best time to look is right after a storm or rain when the water collects in small things that you may not even give a second thought under usual circumstances.

If your gutters have filled up with debris and don’t drain properly, make sure to clean them up so that water doesn’t pool to create a welcome breeding environment.

However, you can’t get rid of all the water around you. For example, if you have a pool, you can’t constantly get rid of the water every time.

Make sure to keep pools chlorinated and maintained with filters, which will stop mosquitoes from laying any eggs in them.

For water that may accumulate in ponds, ditches, or barrels, you can use ‘mosquito dunks’ to kill the larvae. A dunk is usually the diameter of a quarter and, when dropped into water, releases a bacteria that acts as a larvicide called BTI.

It kills only mosquito larvae by giving them an infection that makes them unable to eat. It is not toxic to any other animals, but requires reapplication every week or so, and doesn’t kill adult mosquitoes.

Biological methods

Mosquitoes may have their role to play in the ecosystem, but you can use this to your advantage while getting rid of them. By introducing natural predators into the environment, you can get rid of mosquitoes without having to do much yourself.

Most ornamental fish consume mosquito larvae, including koi and minnows. Small animals and insects like lizards, geckos, dragonflies, naiads, frogs, bats, spiders, and crustaceans also eat mosquitoes.

Additionally, you can also introduce infectious agents that can harm mosquitoes naturally without having a harmful effect on the other creatures existing in the same environment.

This includes BTI, the bacteria mentioned earlier, as well as the fungi Metarhizium anisoplilae and Beauveria bassiana. This fungus causes infections in adult mosquitoes but does not get rid of larvae.

Insecticides

Insecticides can be a quick and powerful way to get rid of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, their effects don’t last very long.

Insecticides are only useful as long as the fumes are present, but as soon as it dries out or gets carried away by the wind, the mosquitoes will come back.

Usually, pest control officials use insecticides only when the mosquitoes are very thick, and only in combination with some other kind of mosquito control.

This should apply for when you’re getting rid of mosquitoes on your own too. By themselves, insecticides are not a long-term solution.

However, they can be very easy and convenient to use. They are commonly dispensed through a fog or low-volume mist.

Two popular kinds of insecticides are:

Malathion

Spectracide HG-30900 Malathion Insect Killer, 32-Fluid Ounce, 32 oz, Brown/A

This organophosphate is used to treat crops against a variety of insects.

It can be sprayed directly onto plants and vegetation, or used in a solution to fogging your yard. In small amounts, it is not harmful to humans or wildlife and can also be used to get rid of head lice.

Permethrin

Sawyer Products SP6572 Twin Pack Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray, 24 oz

This chemical is categorized under pyrethroids. It is a synthetic form of natural insecticide that is found in chrysanthemum flowers.

It is usually mixed with water or oil before being applied as a mist. This is also non-toxic for humans and animals in small amounts but can be harmful to bees and fish.

Both of these insecticides kill mosquitoes by disrupting their central nervous system and are available for use as sprays inside the house.

Insecticides can work for several days when applied to vegetation or grass, but over time – especially in the rain – they break down. When released into the air as fog or mist, they work for a few hours before they become too dissipated to have an effect.

Over time, insecticide resistance can develop in mosquitoes, so frequent use of insecticides is not recommended, and especially not on its own.

Insecticides contain fumes of poisonous chemicals, so frequent use is also unsafe for humans who could inhale the fumes.

Home remedies

Insecticides contain chemicals, so they can be quite harmful if used very frequently, and do not last very long anyway. Though they may be convenient, there are other ways to get rid of mosquitoes, though they may require some time and effort.

One thing to remember about most home remedies is that usually, they will not kill mosquitoes, but will only repel them. Therefore, you must remain consistent in using these remedies if you don’t want the mosquitoes to come back.

Bug spray

Bug Soother Spray Bonus Pack - Includes Free 1 oz. Travel Size. (2, 8 oz.) - Natural Mosquito, Gnat and Insect Deterrent with Essential Oils - Safe for Adults, Kids, Pets, Environment - Made in USA

Though most bug sprays contain chemicals, you can make your own DIY bug spray at home using mostly, if not all, natural ingredients to repel mosquitoes and other insects such as flies and cockroaches.

These bug sprays contain ingredients with strong smells such as onions, garlic, vinegar, and pepper, and sometimes dish soap. You can spray this where you spend your time (rather than on yourself), and the mixture lasts for about a week if it is stored in an air-tight jar and kept in a cool place.

Coffee grounds

Signature 100% Colombian Coffee Supremo Bean Dark Roast-Fine Grind, 6 Pound ,Signature-ykgj

Coffee ground is a simple and easy home remedy to get rid of mosquitoes.

You need to pour the coffee ground in any stagnant water in your environment. Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water, these eggs will come up to the surface of the water, and will automatically die due to oxygen deprivation.

Camphor

Kanaiya Camphor Tablets from India - 200 Grams - 64 Tablets (16 Blocks of 4) Brand

Camphor is an organic compound that comes from camphor trees. They can be used to repel different types of insects, and are available as tablets.

Camphor tablets can be very useful in getting rid of house mosquitoes. It has the longest mosquito repellant activity compared to other natural products.

To get rid of mosquitoes, all you need to do is light up a camphor tablet or two in a room and shut the doors and windows for about 15 to 20 minutes. This kills the mosquito instantly.

Egg cartons and coffee trays

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If you have a fire-safe location in your home, all you have to do is light a coffee tray (the kind you get when you order more than a few coffees to go) or an egg carton on fire, blow it out and let it smolder. The burning smell produced is not too strong that it will cause harm, but it is strong enough to get rid of mosquitoes.

Essential and natural oils

GreenHealth Citronella - 16 fl oz (473 ml) Plastic Jug w/Cap - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Citronella oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves and stems of some species of Cymbopogon (lemongrass). It is used as a repellant for different kinds of insects, including mosquitoes.

You can use this in many ways, including spraying it into the room, applying it to your body, or even injecting it into a candle and lighting it up.

Lavender oil

16oz - Bulk Size Lavender Essential Oil (16 Ounce Bottle) - Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 16 Fl Oz

Lavender oil has been used as a bug repellant for centuries. It was used in the past to protect clothes from moth infestations and other insects and can also be used to prevent bites from mosquitoes and other biting bugs.

It prevents the spread of infections that can be caused by bug bites and also controls the resulting inflammation and itching. It can be used as a spray or applied to your skin.

Eucalyptus oil and lemon oil

Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil | 2 oz | 100% Pure | Natural, Undiluted | GC/MS Tested | by Horbaach

If you mix eucalyptus and lemon oil and apply it to your body, you can prevent mosquito bites.

Soybean oil

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Soybean oil acts as a mosquito repellant.

All you have to do is inject it into a candle and light it up. As the candle burns, mosquitoes leave the room.

Coconut and lilac oil

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Lilac oil contains anti-viral and anti-protozoal properties. By applying it to your body mixed with coconut oil, it acts as a natural repellant and keeps mosquitoes from biting you.

Tea tree oil

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Tea tree oil contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that are remarkable at fighting off mosquitoes. All you have to do is mix a few drops with water and apply it to any exposed skin to avoid mosquito bites.

Dry ice

Although this method of getting rid of mosquitoes is quite time-consuming and may also be expensive, it is rather effective.

Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, and scientists have discovered that the carbon dioxide exhaled by mammals during breathing is what attracts mosquitoes. Dry ice, therefore, acts as a simulation of carbon dioxide being exhaled by a large mammal.

By placing a block of dry ice in a large box, you can wait until the mosquitoes all enter the space around the block, being attracted to the carbon dioxide emissions, before you close the box, effectively trapping all of the mosquitoes inside.

Dry ice can be dangerous, so you must take proper precautions when handling it.

Chemical methods besides insecticides

Insect growth regulators

MARTIN'S I.G. Regulator, 4 oz

Insect growth regulators (IGRs) are added to water to prevent the growth of mosquito larvae.

The most common kind of regulator is Methoprene, which is supplied as a time-release brick – that is, it has a slow effect that builds up and is extremely effective. However, Methoprene is shown to be toxic to other animals, although not very much.

Oil and kerosene

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Adding a layer of oil or kerosene to water also kills mosquito larvae, while at the same time preventing female mosquitoes from depositing eggs on the surface. The layer alters the surface tension of the water, and so the larvae are unable to get their breathing tube to the surface of the water for air and hence suffocate.

The downside to this technique is that it is also harmful to other animals in the water since it also blocks their source of air, and makes the water unsuitable for consumption.

Ovitraps

Trap N Kill Mosquito Made in USA

Ovitraps are also a method employed to kill mosquitoes. Ovitraps are dark, water-filled containers that have very small openings to prevent larger animals from entering or drinking the water.

Sometimes, these traps use chemicals to bait the mosquitoes into entering (such as with the use of dry ice) while other times, these traps only provide a convenient breeding ground to attract the mosquitoes.

The trap may also be filled with predators or with pesticide to kill larvae, and even some adult mosquitoes. These traps are highly effective and affordable but have the disadvantage that multiple traps are required to cover larger areas.

Physical methods

Of course, you can also use physical methods to kill mosquitoes. One way is to do so by swatting them with your hand or with a fly swatter.

Electric swatters are also available that are convenient and easy to use. Swatting is helpful when there are a few mosquitoes, such as in a room, but it is not very helpful if you are being swarmed, and definitely not ideal for outdoors.

Elucto Large Electric Bug Zapper Fly Swatter Zap Mosquito Best for Indoor and Outdoor Pest Control (2 DURACELL AA Batteries Included)

Bug zappers are also available, but these are also not recommended because they can kill a few mosquitoes, but mostly harm other outdoor bugs that are more beneficial than harmful. To attract mosquitoes, you will have to set up the bug zapper specifically to bait them in, because mosquitoes don’t care about a pretty, blue light.

Mosquitoes are also not very strong fliers, so you can easily catch them by sucking them onto a screen or on a separate trap using a fan. Mosquitoes caught by using a fan will die from dehydration.

Screen traps can be made at home by fastening window screening fabric over the back of a fan.

Of course, you need a combination of methods to be able to kill mosquitoes. Most methods are just repellants and are not lethal, so once the formula is removed from the equation, the mosquitoes return.

Additionally, most lethal methods are also not able to kill adult mosquitoes and larvae or do not manage to do so over a large space.

Of course, in an area where mosquitoes exist in large numbers outdoors, you won’t be able to kill off the entire local population, but don’t worry. Scientists are working on finding ways to make mosquitoes sterile or to lay eggs that won’t mature.

Until then, you can continue combining repellants and killing techniques to avoid mosquitoes.

Related questions

Are mosquitoes dangerous? Female mosquitoes bite humans to consume blood. In doing this, they can cause swelling and irritation as well as allergic reactions in some cases, but mosquitoes are mostly harmful because they are carriers of certain diseases that can be quite deadly. Some of these include malaria, yellow fever, and dengue, which are only mosquito-borne conditions.

How to treat mosquito bites? When bitten by a mosquito, your body reacts with an immune response that causes itching and irritation, which can be quite annoying. To treat mosquito bites, you can use cool compresses to limit inflammation, use creams and lotions, or try over-the-counter antihistamines to combat itches – especially if you have multiple bites. If you have any severe symptoms, make sure to call your doctor to make sure you have not caught any kind of disease.

What do mosquitoes eat? Typically, both male and female mosquitoes feed on mostly plant juices, nectar, and aphid honeydew. However, in many species, the mouthparts of the females are adapted to pierce the skin of animals and humans who act as hosts and use it to suck their blood as ectoparasites.