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5 ways to get mosquitoes to buzz off

If your bird bath doesn’t have a fountain to keep the water moving, be sure to clean it out often. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water.

Life along the Gulf means summer breezes, walks along the beach and mosquitoes — lots and lots of mosquitoes. The moist Gulf air makes for great mosquito breeding and habitat, and it can turn an otherwise beautiful morning or evening into an unbearable nightmare. Help is on the way! Here are a few tips for how to keep the mosquito count in your yard down:

1. Cut that grass

While you might be saving yourself a little time by letting your grass grow a bit taller, you’re also sending an open invitation to mosquitos. Mosquitoes thrive in taller grass, so keeping your lawn well-trimmed can reduce the number of flying menaces you’ll have to swat.

2. Get rid of standing water

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, particularly standing water found in buckets, tubs, pots or other open containers sitting around your property. To keep them from becoming mosquito breeding grounds, you’ll have to keep them dry. Regularly empty bird baths to destroy any mosquito eggs or larvae in them. Aerate small ponds or water features. Keep the water moving in any fountains you might have. Stock ponds and fountains with mosquito-loving fish, too! The Texas AgriLife Extension Service also recommends using Bacilus thuringiensis israeliensis products in permanent water bodies to eliminate larvae.

3. Fog ’em

For temporary protection of your yard or other high-traffic areas, you can employ proper fog and surface treatments of approved insecticides.

4. Limit outdoor activity

Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk, so if you can limit your outdoor time during those periods, you can cut down on mosquito bites. If you do venture outside, use a DEET product or other repellant when outside. Natural repellents include garlic, lavender oil, catnip and citronella. Also wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts.

5. Let plants help

Certain plants are thought to keep away mosquitoes, especially if you crush up their leaves, seeds or flowers. Plants emitting smells that mosquitoes just don’t like include citrosa-scented geraniums, rosemary, giant hyssop (also known as Texas hummingbird mint) and garlic. The word on marigolds is mixed, but if you have room, why not plant a row or two of the sun-loving flowers? They do repel aphids.

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