Mosquitoes are not one of the Top 10 Garden Insect Pests, but rather a pest of the gardener. So before you start working on your vegetable garden this summer, find out Why Some People Get Eaten By Mosquitoes More Than Others. More than 150 species of mosquito may call your North American backyard home and all are true flies, spending most of their time feeding on plant nectar. Only the females supplement this diet with the blood of animals or birds, which provides the protein necessary for egg maturation. Adult females lay eggs on the surface of stagnant water and 4 to 14 days later, the eggs hatch into wriggling larvae that begin to feed on water-dwelling microorganisms including fungi, bacteria, and algae. The larvae then pass through several life stages, called instars, before pupating into adults. Depending on the species, adults can live from a few weeks to several months.
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Controlling mosquitoes starts with getting rid of standing water by regularly emptying and cleaning birdbaths, draining pot saucers, and clearing 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 as 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.
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When looking into Mosquito Repellents That Actually Work (And The Ones That Don't), the citronella-scented geraniums you might find advertised as mosquito repellent plants are lovely plants but there’s no proof they keep insects at bay. So, 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. It is the only plant-based control recommended by the CDC, and it’s safe, effective, and 100 percent natural.