With the warm weather comes a lot of great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. From the beach to our own back yards, Long Islanders love being outside. But along with all of this outdoor activity some challenges arise.

One of the most problematic issues we face outdoors is getting bit by mosquitoes in our own backyard. There are several ways to control the mosquito populations around our homes which are easy to accomplish.

Mosquitoes typically breed in water that has been standing for more than a week. This standing water usually contains some sort of organic material. The organic material in turn feeds bacteria that mosquito larvae feed on in the water. Grass clippings, leaves, soil, even bird droppings in stagnant water creates the perfect breeding environment for mosquitos. Birdbaths, old tires, clogged gutters, plant saucers, tarps; any place that water is sitting, is a possible breeding site. Even holes in trees where branches once were can collect water.

Mosquito DunksSo, with this in mind we need to dump out any standing water we find and keep these things free from recollecting water. If you have areas that are difficult to dump out or drain, use a mosquito larvicide like Mosquito Dunks. These are compressed donuts of bacillus thuringiensis, a beneficial bacterium that kills mosquito larvae. It is safe to use around pets, fish, birds and people. Reapply every 30 days. Less breeding sites means less adult mosquitoes to bite you and your family.

There are sprays like Mosquito Beater which is a residual spray that can last for an extended period of time. These sprays need to be applied in areas where mosquitoes might rest. The sides of homes, corners that the house or fence might make, under trees and shrubs, any place that is moist, even lawns. Personally, I apply this spray every 3 weeks to keep the mosquito population down in my back yard and it works!  Using a hose-end sprayer assures penetration of foliage more thoroughly than a light spray would.

Another method is to use a botanical option like geraniol, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil or rosemary oil. While oils only last for a short time, they are a great remedy to apply just before you are dining in the backyard. Pleasant smelling and safe to use. These can be granular as well as liquid.

In my own yard I create a basket of different personal insect repellents that are child and adult safe. In this fashion everybody gets additional protection.

So, while mosquitoes can be a pain in the neck, we should take the needed precautions to reduce the exposure to mosquito bites and the problems connected to them. After all it’s your back yard and you should enjoy it by protecting your property, your pets and your families.