Controlling mosquitoes starts with getting rid of standing water. Regularly empty and clean birdbaths, drain pot saucers, and clear clogged gutters. Stock ponds with larvae-gobbling fish and set up a pump to provide constant circulation. Treat water barrels and smaller water features monthly with Mosquito Dunks, floating donut-shaped cakes containing the organic larvicide BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis). Hang a bat house (each adult can eat several hundred mosquitoes every night); put up birdhouses for chickadees, wrens, purple martins, and other insectivorous species; and encourage frogs, toads, and dragonflies to take up residence by installing a buffer of tall grasses and native plants around ponds and streams.
And, if necessary, protect your skin with repellents based on oil of lemon eucalyptus. Brands such as Repel and Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus are derived from the native Australian lemon-scented gum tree (Corymbia citriodora, syn. Eucalyptus citriodora). It is the only plant-based control recommended by the CDC, and it’s safe, effective, and 100 percent natural. The citronella-scented geraniums you might find advertised as mosquito detractors are lovely plants, but there’s no proof they keep insects at bay.