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mulch and ground cover, bug control  RSS feed

 
Edwin Snell
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hi all!

i I am working at a campground.
We have a lot of long grass and weed areas.
These areas are festering grounds for bugs, especially the biting kind.

horseflies and deer flies plague us! I want to cut all of the grass, and leave it as it is,
but the staff here believes it will create a mosquito problem just leaving the grass on the ground.

I was wondering, is there anyway to cut and leave the grass resulting in less biting horseflies? 
Or do I cut the grass, clean it up, and choose some kind of low lying ground cover
that would smother out any tall grass and weeds coming in?
Preferably one that would act as a bug repellent?

basically, I want to kill two birds with one stone. No more long weedy grass areas, and no more flying biting insects.

any ideas?
 
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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What zone are you in? In zones 9-11, Citronella plants could be a good solution.
 
Nicole Alderman
garden master
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Is the campground on state or federal land? If not, maybe you could have some chickens or guineas or ducks to eat some of those bugs?
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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The area where my parents live is plagued by deer flies and horse flies.  In my experience, nothing can get rid of them.  I doubt cutting the grass will make any difference at all.  My parents have a large area (5 acres or so) that they keep mowed most of the year, and the flies are as bad there as anywhere else.  I can't see how leaving the grass would add to a mosquito problem though.  If you have standing water, you will probably have mosquitoes, but grass, cut or otherwise, shouldn't have much effect.
 
Jarret Hynd
Posts: 82
Location: Sask, Canada - Zone 3b
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Edwin Snell wrote:but the staff here believes it will create a mosquito problem just leaving the grass on the ground....

I let my grass grow at home to 0.5 meters before I mow it and it's then used as mulch to kill tall grass in unwanted areas. So far this year, I have about 200 square feet of it, 6 inches high, around my yard. Both the tall grass and the dry grass on the ground has not increased mosquitoes from what I've seen and I work outside sometimes until 9:00pm.

Something else to consider is that spiders love most any kind of ground mulch from what I've noticed, so I'm not sure if your fellow staff are on the right track with that theory. Both at home or in my half-acre garden, if I walk through a pile of any straw/grass mulch and look back, 10's of spiders are crawling out - I think this puts little faith that mosquitoes would enjoy such a place. I wouldn't worry about cleaning up the grass unless staff claim it's "unsightly" or something as it won't be cause any harm.

Edwin Snell wrote:basically, I want to kill two birds with one stone. No more long weedy grass areas, and no more flying biting insects.

I don't think you should be killing any birds, as they are likely your solution, hehe . I have noticed this year around my home that there have been an increase of sparrows, about 20-40 flying around my yard, partly because several have been nesting between some studs in my old garage wall. As far as I know, sparrows eat both horseflies&mosquitoes, so that might be why I have few pests this year despite field crops 0.5km away being infested with grasshoppers/worms and a neighbour 3k away who has to spray his horses in desperation to keep the flies off. 

My advice would be to try to increase your bird population by creating a habitat they like. Making some basic birdhouses and placing them around the problem areas might be a good first step. Infact, I might do that myself this weekend as I have 100's of wooden roof slates that I was looking to put to good use.

 
chip sanft
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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In addition to encouraging birds, you might want to think about a bat house to encourage them to come eat the mosquitoes. Since you're talking about a campground, you'd want to give some thought to where you put it. But bats eat skeeters...
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The thing about mosquitos is that they like moisture, standing water is their breeding ground, moist grass and leaves are where they live when not biting critters to suck blood.
Horse flies come because of moisture and something they see as food, (animals usually, don't forget that humans are animals).

The "nature way" of getting rid of these "pests" is to remove the breeding grounds and the living quarters, not something that easy to do in a camp ground or anywhere for that matter.
This is why there are so many methods to get rid of them. marigolds, citronella, nasturtium are good plants that act as deterents to these insects.
To prevent them from gaining ground, you need to remove as much standing water as possible, remove all manures too, this eliminates the breeding grounds, that will reduce the numbers.

There are special horse fly traps available but they don't work well enough to justify the expense usually.

Redhawk
 
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