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Mosquito Control

 
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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I think that bat house is gorgeous! However is there a reason that you made the landing pad so short? It seems like it would be easier for them to manage if it were about twice as long...
I especially like the effort you put in to provide a variety of lodging sizes.
 
pollinator
Posts: 431
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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Emerson White wrote:
I think that bat house is gorgeous! However is there a reason that you made the landing pad so short? It seems like it would be easier for them to manage if it were about twice as long...
I especially like the effort you put in to provide a variety of lodging sizes.



Actually the landing pad is relatively long compared to most bat houses.  Our bats are less than 3" long, and tend to fly right into the crevices.

The different sized crevices are based on some research I found that showed that little browns like to squeeze into wedge-shaped crevices.  The bigger crevices are for bigger bats (e.g. big brown bat).  However I have only seen little browns using the house so far.  But I have seen big browns in the area.

I wasn't sure if they would use the attic nursery space, but I recently moved one of the houses and took it apart to make some repairs.  There were droppings all throughout the house, including the attic space, so they apparently used the whole thing.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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When I look at it I think that functionally you have 2 X 4.5" landing pads, which is better than a 3 inch pad, but not as good as say a 10" pad

I think that short landing pads are a common weakness among most bat houses.
 
Posts: 69
Location: Maricopa, AZ
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dom wrote:

My great-grandmother used to rub lavender on our wrists, ankles, and behind our ears. We had a  terrible stagnant pond next to our property and the mosquitoes were horrid during the summer. The lavender treatment worked wonders.
Dom



I usually use a few drops of lavender essential oil diluted in a little aloe vera gel, or just mixed in with a little water and sprayed on (shake first). A drop of straight lavender EO is also good for taking the itch out of ant or mosquito bites if you do get a bite. It smells better than garlic!
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 431
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I checked the bat houses last night.  The first bat of 2011 has arrived:



The bat is the dark blob in the lower left corner (which is facing SW).  Note also that he/she is hanging from the side of the house - so if you are building a house don't forget to roughen the sides as well as the partitions.  I used a wallpaper scoring device (
) to roughen all the surfaces.
 
master steward
Posts: 28619
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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(bump)
 
Posts: 44
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
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Here in northern california I have a bat house, but the bats have chosen to live in the redwood shakes that cover the sides of my house.  At dusk, they swoop out of the shakes for evening bug patrol.  During the day, I have about five birdhouses for nesting violet green swallows for my bug patrol.
 
                                
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Here in Thailand, we are familiar with mosquitoes, in some parts of the country the carry malaria and dengue fever.

The most effective method to keep them away is electric fans, combined with burning citronella lemon grass coils.

There are also lemon grass sprays available here.

Mosquitoes love dark areas, especially under tables and chair, so best to lay with your feet up.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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i have found encouraging lots of hummingbirds keeps the mosquitoes down.

like baanboo  said though, there are only two fully effective ways to keep the mosquitoes away.

1- wind- a physical force the small insects can never adapt to
2- rain - another physical force they cant stand the conditions of.

if there are enough of them out, all of the sprays and oils in the world wont help.
 
                                
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Yes, they can't stand wind, which is why don't use overhead fans, instead having ones that can be moved around. Our house is open without screens,we find fans and coils work well.


Keeping dark areas to a minimum is important, the kitchen is the worst area due to all the cupboards.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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I see a lot of people mentioned eating garlic as a preventative (I do too.. raw is best). I read in one of Mollison's pamphlets you can also throw whole cloves into standing water and it will wipe out the larvae without interfering with the rest of the ecosystem. I'd assume you would crush them a bit first so the oils more readily flow out.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I really wish the garlic thing worked for everyone but it doesn't.  We raise a couple different varieties of garlic and on days off hubby and I eat at least a whole bulb (not just a clove or two) of garlic each; we're pretty stinky.  But the skeeters still find me as soon as I step outside.

The only thing that seems to keep them off of me is Avons Skin So Soft but I believe that is a petrol product and I'm trying to find other alternatives.  Right now it is just long sleeves and long pants.
 
            
Posts: 177
Location: California
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Tried essential oils? Citronella grass might be a good place to start if you live somewhere warm and humid.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 8738
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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     Skin so soft worked for me on a trip to the Everglades. Alternative to building a bat house. Some bats like to nest in tight crevices. I helped to install rough cut cedar siding on the side of my friends house. We shimmed up each piece of siding with little blocks which matched the preferred crevice size for our local bats. The bats were able to land directly on the face of the rough wood and crawl up inside. A long skinny copper tray caught their droppings which were used in the greenhouse for orchids. This section of wall was shaded during the midday but received some sun in the late afternoon. A large overhang on the same building was outfitted with wooden shelves which became home to many barn swallows. Metal trays caught their droppings as well and no nesting platforms were placed near the door. There was always a flurry of activity by both species at dawn and dusk and then while one slept the other patrolled the garden for mosquitoes and other pests.
 
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I don't have an idea on how to prevent bites but, Stinging Nettle Tea will heal the bites quick. I just found this out. My better half and child use to get huge bumps and red spots for days if not weeks. Recently started drinking the tea and now the bites heal in hours.
 
Posts: 127
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You can definitely also encourage frogs as a means of controlling mosquitoes. When you get to a couple of hundred of them there are no more mosquitoes! Tadpoles of frogs, toads and salamanders will eat the larvae before they hatch. Adults will also eat the flying mosquitoes. And unlike fish amphibians can be deployed in areas where the water drains.

Eucalyptus is a good deterrent too. The oil, the tree itself.

Wind works, sleeping with a rotating fan on one's body is the best I have found when on holiday in hot places. My own climate is too cold for that though!

Some experiential notes on diet: I'm one of those unfortunates whose blood is loved by all kind of critters, and I get huge allergic bumps to mosquito and flea bites. I think it might be because I love sugary things and fruit and my blood tastes sweeter than that of most people.
Two years ago I did a two month fast on vegetable juice to get my innards cleaned out and I completely stopped being a target.
Incidentally my sweat also stopped smelling. I was wearing the same T-shirt for a week and daring people to stick their noses into my armpits; no one could detect ANY smell.  Made me draw some interesting conclusions about raw diet and the amount of toxins we consume daily to make our sweat so smelly... but that would be for another thread...
 
Dale Hodgins
master pollinator
Posts: 8738
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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      When camping in the Yukon I parked our camper Van at the crest of a hill each night. Cold winds and mosquitoes don't go together. My daughter complained about this wind so I took her to a very sheltered area by a river. Within 10 seconds of getting out of the vehicle we had mosquitoes, blackflies and sand flies crawling up our noses and into our ears. No more complaints about the wind.

    Surprisingly almost every campground we encountered was in a deep valley by the water and several visitors are carried away by the mosquitoes each year!
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28619
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think that this idea could make for an excellent chicken feeder:




I am a big fan of this channel. For those of you with youtube accounts, I suggest you subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/user/GREENPOWERSCIENCE
 
Posts: 244
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no way jose if you do that yu wont get your legs
 
steward
Posts: 3153
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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thanks, that was really interesting. I will try that at my in-law's place near the Wisconsin River. The quantities of mosquitoes are breathtaking.
 
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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I could try that with my window mounted swamp cooler. Just put netting on the outside of the pad panels (though I am concerned that I may need to use some kind of corrugated setup to maintain flow). I already have to put screen on the inside of the vent grill to catch mosquitoes that get sucked through the pads, but it still spits out the little ones.

Skunks like to eat zapped bugs, so feeding the little corpses to chickens seems more productive than just leaving them out for whatever critter comes around.

How about rigging a fan with zapper grid?
 
Posts: 93
Location: Seattle, WA
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It'd be nice to use that wind for something, like the swamp cooler mentioned, or who has other good ideas to not just waste the electricity made wind?
 
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The bat solution at the end is just as productive and more permaculture-y. Better for the environment, too. Guano is probably good fertilizer and who knows what other layers can be stacked up? We live in NE Florida next to a stagnant pond but we almost never see mosquitoes (year-round!), probably because I see bats circling the pond at night.

To borrow a phrase from Mollison, you don't have a mosquito problem. You have a lack of bat problem
 
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Christopher de Vidal, the aquaponics set ups with mosquito fish will clear out a population pretty fast too. This is the company I follow a lot and they have had an interesting experience with it. http://www.friendlyaquaponics.com/no-more-malaria/ I know aquaponics is not considered totally permaculture but it works pretty well and is better for the environment than conventional means.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 28619
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think it is great to get a big list of solutions that don't use toxic gick. Some solutions are great long term, but not so great for this hour. Other solutions are great for this hour, this day, this week, but really need to be replaced in the long term with something better.

 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 517
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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One of the most effective mosquito controls is environment control. Granted, there are areas where there just isn't much that can be done to alter things, however, many times it is our intervention that created an environment conducive to mosquitoes.

When the West Nile Virus came to my neighborhood (I reported the first confirmed magpie death from WNV in my county. I found it on my neighbor's lawn), I went into full paranoia mode. I policed the yard to make sure there was not so much as a thimble of water where they could reproduce, then I made sure there were no weeds or tall grass near the house (chickens and turkeys are very good at that), then I stopped watering regularly near the house, letting natural selection decide what survived (also helped with the outrageously high water bills). Those things have been very effective, but I live in a semi-arid climate, so it is easy. When it rains a lot, the mosquitoes come back in droves, which means that, if it rained all the time here or was more humid, I would need to do some work to eliminate damp or boggy areas within about 50 to 100 ft of the house (paved patio and/or terrace plus xeriscaping?).

Another observation is that if I keep the entry hall light off during mosquito nights, the mosquitoes don't hang around the door, but prefer to buzz around the lights in the breezeway, a few feet away. When the entry hall light is on, they will bounce against the glass until they get sucked inside the house when someone opens the door. It seems to work for me. Try experimenting with light placement to see if it works for you.
 
pollinator
Posts: 149
Location: Missoula, MT
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mosquito mind control - they won't itch if you don't scratch em.
 
Posts: 14
Location: Middle Georgia
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When I first moved to Georgia I thought we did not have mosquitoes here.
Really! Hot and humid Summers. But then I found out my Daughter a Mile &
half away had tons.

Come to find out I had Two different plants that REPEL Mosquitoes. Small under forest Sassafras Trees.
Also "Beauty Berries" Look these up and find out if they can grow in your area. They are all over here,
and you can just dig them up and move them any time and they thrive. They are a bush, with a leaf much
like Hydrangea leaves and round clusters of florescent pinkish/purple balls of berries along the stems.
The Extension guy says that although they are not too tasty, they still feed the birds in winter when the
more desirable berries are gone. They REALLY REPEL Mosquitoes (but not gnats) I have been giving them
away and the next summer after digging some up they are working their magic. One plant also covers quite
a large area. But I also have quite a few little Sassafras Trees, So the complete lack of mosquitoes may be
due in part to them.
 
Posts: 59
Location: Southern MN
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That's one way to collect skeeters. Here's another:
Using a light veggie oil, spray standing water areas with a couple shots. For my animal troughs, I use mineral oil but either oil does the trick. The oil thins out over the surface and clogs the snoozels of any larva as they come up for air. In places highly infested, do it after a rain.

 
Posts: 86
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
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I won't argue with the efficacy, I will touch on the energy consumption

Assuming at these fans are at least 100W, that means at 100% duty for 6 months

0.1kW X 24hrs X 30days X 6 = 432kW

Say electricity is conservatively 10c/kW thats $43.20 per fan. He says he's running 20 of these fans full out, that's $864 every six months or $1728/yr X 9yrs = $15562 . That's a helluva lot of coal being burned to kill mosquitos. I hate to be a critic without providing a solution but I guess I am... I'm not living with the mosquitos, so do what you gotta do
 
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might try a light attracting bugs. face fan down with screen on the other side. collect bugs remove the screen and let the chickens pick them off. all the night stuff would show up and be caught.
 
Mother Tree
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Here's a link to a page about 11 plants that repel mosquitos

 
Posts: 93
Location: New England
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In the spring, toads/frogs/salamanders are breeding and need water in early spring to lay their eggs. They will eat most of the mosquitoes before they leave the water. They are susceptible to pollution because they breathe through their skin, so filtering the water with plants will help.

Mountain Mint has a natural insect repellant in it. http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/herb-to-know-mountain-mint.aspx
 
gardener
Posts: 1813
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Okay... I am type II diabetic and vegan now; I behave because I feel better if I eat like I'm supposed to. The mosquitos laugh at citronella, lavender, and jalapeno pepper juice. They ignore garlic I scarf. If there is one in the whole block she has me for lunch. Only thing that chases them so far is 95% deet, used liberally on clothes and hat, footgear, and bare skin. I am talking close to half an ounce will douse a 'bug outfit' for a week, and adding to the bare areas (ankles, backs of hands, forehead, back of neck) a few times a day. Any more suggestions? Yes I do environmental control but. If there was a non-deet way I'd love it.
 
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I'm not sure where I got this from originally, but I've used it for several years on the acre around my house, and it has generally worked very well, at least for me. You take equal parts of
mouthwash (cheap works as well as name-brand), beer (again, cheap works as well) and Epsom salts. Mix until Epsom salt is dissolved, place in a sprayer and spray close to
the ground and generally around any trees, shrubs, etc. on a dry day. I live next to a small lake, and have dense woods surrounding the property so there are always areas of water
for the mosquitoes to breed in, but I have had very little problem around my house and garden. In 2012 when we had the drought here, I didn't spray at all.
One thing I've also noticed personally is while I used to be very sensitive to mosquito bites, now if I do get bit, I have little or no itching or reaction to the bite. I do not know whether my
system has become less sensitive or the mosquitoes are now less toxic.
Besides brewers yeast, I have also heard zinc is helpful, as it is disruptive to the mosquito's reproductive system.
 
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Catnip.

This is an older study. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075659.htm

I just grab a leaf and rub it on my skin and it seems to work.

Rohan
 
Deb Rebel
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My yard purries love me if I play in catnip, but I still get chewed by the lady skeeters... thank you though.
 
pollinator
Posts: 335
Location: Poland, zone 6, CfB
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For me clove oil works great. I just put one drop on wet hands and then rub it everywhere I need.
 
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: CW Ontario, Zone 5
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I've been living outdoors the last couple summers and mosquitos are something that needs to be dealt with. For me the best things are long pants, shirt sleeves, and a wide brimmed hat. The combo of these makes a huge difference. When it gets bad though, I get out the lemongrass EO, put a few drops on my hands, rub them together, and then rub anywhere you don't want to be bitten. Seems to work very well.
 
Posts: 89
Location: San Francisco, CA for the time being
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On diet:

I've read several articles that say a low-ish carb (25-100 grams per day) diet helps repel mosquitoes. Apparently, the ketones produced by our bodies while eating low-carb repel the mosquitoes. From personal experience, after going very low-carb Paleo a couple years ago I definitely noticed a reduction in mosquito bites. The first summer, while being very strict with my diet, I remember that I didn't notice a single bite!
 
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