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Mosquito Control

 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Here in South Carolina we have had a nice warm wet April. Not surprisingly the mosquitoes are horrible regardless of where you are. In fact rarely have I seen them this bad. Despite them normally leaving me alone even when others are covered it seems my garlic regimen is not as effective this year. Now I know how to prevent successful breeding in the ditch bordering my property and the fish do a wonderful job in the pond. I know part of the problem in my part of the woods is the timber company did some selective tree cutting/thinning and refreshed a firebreak on a neighboring property (all their properties in this area got the firebreak and some got thinned which may be a contributing factor everywhere). From my property I have seen the glint of standing water in the firebreak a week after it rained. Is there anything I can do to at least be able to enjoy my backyard without dousing myself or fogging the area with chemicals?  I am asking for any and all ideas as it may also help others and I am sure there are things that will be said I have not tried or known about.

BTW The standing water on the neighboring property is an issue out of my hands as I will not trespass to do anything about it but I have called the timber company. Most likely I will have to live with the breeding grounds in ruts and such until nature heals itself and they fill in with fallen pinestraw.
 
                  
Posts: 13
Location: Lockhart, TX
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Garlic is usually my "go-to" when it comes to mosquitoes, but you've already ruled that out!

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.

I usually stick to a garlic regime myself these days. I also don't use any heavily scented soaps or shampoos, and I'm the only one that doesn't walk around frantically itching while among groups of other people. Maybe you could try using lighter scented soaps, shampoo, deodorant etc. if you haven't already. Sorry if this doesn't help very much.

Dom
 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 254
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I have read, that mosquitos are attracted not only to odor, but also the carbon dioxide we breath out. So stop breathing! Im just kidding about stop breathing.

If you consume brewers yeast on a regular basis, like a tablespoon or so a day it will lessen the amount mosquitos are attracted to you.
 
T. Joy
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I just got an email from my auntie about using lysterine to deter mosquitos. You spray it around the door and window frames, on patio surfaces etc. I don't know how natural that stuff is but apparently it works great.
 
James Stark
Posts: 79
Location: Manitoba Canada
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Lemon Balm. LOTS of it! LOL. I grow lemon balm anywhere I find an extra bit of soil. Along walkways, in my garden, under the hammock (best idea I ever had). The skeeters don't like it, and it seems to make an invisible barrier they won't cross. Plus you can take a handful of leaves, mash them up in your hands then rub it on your skin.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Thanks for the ideas and please keep them coming. Lavender I have lemon balm I do not so until I can get some lemon balm going lavender it is. At this point though if I had both plants I would mix them (after making sure the mix would not create a poison) because they are so bad.

BTW the garlic works just fine usually and I learned it as a hunter's trick because those spray on repellents also spook game animals. I have noticed in the past when the mosquitoes are thick I get some who brave the garlic especially if there is no other "prey" around that is a better target. This year though it has been like I was inviting them to dinner and they can't seem to get enough garlic.
 
Brenda Groth
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peter you said you were controlling them in the ditches, ..how do you do that, I have fish eating them in our pond but we have water in the ditches and it flows most of the time but there are some stagnant areas sometimes, how do you control them in those situations, mosquito dunks would just float away.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Okay, this ditch is sort of an end of the line draining the highway ditches into a low spot in the woods. In other words once the rain stops and everything drains down this area is flooded with lowest spots never drying out untill we get a lot of dry weather. It flows like a ditch untill the water drops and then it becomes more a long standing pool. My prefered method till I find something better is floating dunks placed in mesh "sacks" which is tied off to a bush or tree branch over or on the side of the ditch keeping them in place over the longest standing water. I give it enough slack to sit on the ground and replace frequently. That siad I have also used (when we first moved in) dish soap and cooking oil when the rain stopped and it became a pool rather than flowing water.  I dont like either of these nor do I want the county treating it because I called them once and they sprayed the ditch with some type of oil (I did not know it at the time  but it is much like deisel) and one of my ducks lost it's waterproofing because it swam through it.
 
Suzy Bean
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I have read this and not tried it yet: If you break open a dandelion root, the white juice that comes out is supposed to repel mosquitoes. I assume you rub it on your skin.
 
                    
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in order to sound stupid i must ask, are we eating this garlic or rubbing it on ourselves?

i would think rubbing some pungent herbs on your skin and carrying them in your hat might work as well.

so this thread leaves one questions. where can one get the best price on quantity of lemon balm seeds!!
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Eating it in mass quantities which is cool I like garlic in my food. BTW when I learned this trick it was years ago from my uncle who was taking garlic pills (found with vitamins back then not sure now) to ward off mosquitos instead of chemical repellants as he was a bowhunter. It had to do with reducing the unnatural scents and I know it worked due to the number of deer he harvested each year (used to give them to less fortunate folks once the freezer was full) and the fact I never saw mosquitos bother him. 
 
Tyler Ludens
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oracle wrote:

If you consume brewers yeast on a regular basis, like a tablespoon or so a day it will lessen the amount mosquitos are attracted to you.


Can I consume the yeast in the form of beer? 
 
Jordan Lowery
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im always rubbing strong scented herbs all over me. lavender, this lemon thyme, lemon balm, mint, etc... keeps them off somewhat, or at least most of them. we had a horrible year last year and it seems its going to be worse this year.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Ludi not sure if it will keep the sketers off but it sure sounds like a good idea. Drink enough and you won't care if the bite ya.
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's the idea!

Unfortunately. mosquitoes, chiggers, etc love me, but I am very sensitive to them, so every year I turn into a mass of bites. 
 
                      
Posts: 56
Location: MONTANA, Bozeman area; ZONE 4
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Bats.  Bat colonies.  THey eat gazillions of misquitoes.

I don't know whether they will make it in the cold northern USA, or not.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Bats are great insect eaters as are many species of birds all of which are encouraged to live here. In the past few years we have had a few bats flying around mainly swooping the pond and have a bat house out (although I don't think it gets used) so they are here. So now the question is how do I attract them in numbers capable of serious mosquito control?
 
Ran Prieur
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
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Bats will eat mosquitoes if they're the only food available, but they prefer larger insects like moths. From the Wikipedia section on natural predators of mosquitoes:

The dragonfly nymph eats mosquitoes at all stages of development and is quite effective in controlling populations. Although bats and Purple Martins can be prodigious consumers of insects, many of which are pests, less than 1% of their diet typically consists of mosquitoes. Neither bats nor Purple Martins are known to control or even significantly reduce mosquito populations.


According to this article, Dragonflies: Mother Nature's mosquito control, dragonflies breed in warm, oxygenated ponds with both floating and submerged plants.
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Yeah small bass love them but the bream in my pond as well as the minnows that the bass love do a better job. The only reason I have not stocked mosquitofish in the ditch is it eventually will dry out. Currently as far as I can tell it is the only thing holding water other than the pond right now. Another week of no rain and it might just dry out leaving us with the live adults to deal with at least till the next good rain.

Methinks you can tell I got fishing on the brain when I wrote thins. I was watching a couple bass feed in the edges of the pond. Somehow Bats in the previous post translated to bass 
 
John Polk
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A few of those "On at dusk/Off at dawn" solar lamps will congregate the mosquitoes enough to attract the bats (and other predators).
 
                  
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
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Folks if mosquitoes were attracted to light it would be easier to kill them. In fact if you think about it the opposite is true mosquitoes usually come out at dusk and if you find an area with them during the day you are in a shady area or a place where they concentrate (say near water). I know heading into a lighted area outside can reduce not increase the number of mosquitoes. I wish to God I had a nickle for everyone that has ever said to me mosquitoes are attracted to lights. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide or CO2 breathed out by animals. In fact it has been proven the more CO2 given off by an animal the more attracted mosquitoes are to it.

The above said I can see how lights at night might attract bats because they attract other insects. I have seen bats circling street lights in the country because they were eating the moths and such the light attracted.
 
Burra Maluca
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We bought a mosquito repeller which worked by emitting a high pitched tone which was supposed to discourage them.  It worked after a fashion.  When we used it near the bed, it seemed to attract them, so we plugged it in in the spare bedroom and left the doors open and it attracted them to the empty room.  Not effectively enough to be really worth the effort, but having already bought the thing...
 
George Lee
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Simple, encourage bats... Situate bat boxes in favorable areas in/around your property/home.. They'll thank ya for it.
 
Sam Surman
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reading this it suddenly hit me ... do they favour one blood group over another? I've been out with friends and they were left alone and there was clouds of the critters on me!
I've tried the garlic and almost everything else I've ever heard off without any success.
One time my face became so swollen with bites my eyes were closed I need to keep away from them, as they won't keep away from me!

Cheers

 
James Stark
Posts: 79
Location: Manitoba Canada
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dolmen wrote:
reading this it suddenly hit me ... do they favour one blood group over another? I've been out with friends and they were left alone and there was clouds of the critters on me!
I've tried the garlic and almost everything else I've ever heard off without any success.
One time my face became so swollen with bites my eyes were closed I need to keep away from them, as they won't keep away from me!

Cheers




Mosquitos are most definitely attracted by scent. It could be as simple as somethig in your diet that makes you more attractive to them. High Gluten diets are an example of this, but not the only one. Blood types don't likely carry a different scent, even to animals with an accute sense of smell like the mosquito.
It's difficult to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you release through both respiration and through your skin, but since that's not the only thing that attracts them, you could explore your diet and try to determine what it is that you consume a lot of, and others don't. When you are in a group of people, the high CO2 concentration around you will bring the little beasties close, then each individuals personal scent will determine who they zero in on.
 
ronie dee
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They hate Lysterine - not sure if it is the eucalyptol or the menthol...I use the generic.
 
John Polk
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While lights around your pond will not attract mosquitoes, they will attract many other species of insects, which will attract bats.

Here is a site that offers free plans for several models of bat houses:

http://www.woodworkersworkshop.com/resources/index.php?cat=413
 
Troy Rhodes
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In really bad years, I use a mesh "bug hat".  Together with a long sleeve shirt and pants, they stops about 98% of them.

Yes, they look goofy.

Yes, they are very effective.

If you have a choice, get the kind with straps that go under your arms and cover your shoulders.


I built a house on a rural piece of property in Ontario, Canada.  Several other newcomers moved in at the same time.  We had plenty of wetlands/swamps.  The mosquitos were bad, and the black flies and deer flies were worse.  You could torture someone to insanity with those bugs.

The first year, they laughed when then saw my mosquito net/hat.

The second year, they all had them too.

I swell up and get sick if I get too many bites, so this is not an academic discussion for me.


I even have a boonie hat with a zippered pouch that holds the net.  Wear it as a plain hat, or unzip and presto, a bug veil.

HTH,

troy
 
Dave Miller
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I have built 3 bat houses, all of them have been used by bats.   Bats are very finicky about their roosts - if you have a bat house that is not being used, send me a PM and I can help you figure out why.

As others have said, bats will eat mosquitoes but generally speaking, they eat mosquitoes only when there is no other food available.  Their first choice is moths, beetles, and flies, probably because those have a better energy ROI than mosquitoes.  But I have noticed that people who have a bat colony on their property have very few mosquitoes.

I am curious if anyone here has dragonflies in their yard/pond, and if so, what features of your pond/plants seem to be attracting them?

Here are a couple of my bat houses.
Kind of hard to tell, but there are 5 bats (little brown bat) in this house:


And 1 bat in this house:


Mud daubers & paper wasps live there as well.   For the most part they don't seem to bother each other.  In fact I wonder if there is some sort of symbiotic relationship where the wasps eat the "bat bugs" which bother the bats.

I do clean out the mud dauber & wasp nests every once in a while because they tend to fill the crevices over time.
 
Troy Rhodes
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I have some bats, but no bat houses yet.  Do you have plans for yours?

That would be excellent.

troy
 
Dave Miller
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solarguy2003 wrote:
I have some bats, but no bat houses yet.  Do you have plans for yours?

That would be excellent.

troy


Here's the plan I came up with.  It is a little more complex than most (sloping crevices, attic nursery) but it could easily be simplified.  I have updated the design slightly, if you are serious about building it, I'll send you the updated version.  I found that the front-most crevice is too big, also the rigid insulation delaminated so I changed the design.









If you look carefully in the last photo, there is actually a goose sitting on a nest at the top of the stump above the bat house.
 
George Lee
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Nice crafting there..Good work. I bet they love that shit. (Off to make boxes....)
 
Sam Surman
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Great looking bat houses, I'd like a copy of the plans please, they look quite difficult to make, but I'd like to try.

(email addie removed) ;-(

TIA

Cheers

 
John Polk
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Those bat houses look too close to the ground.  Bats have predators too.
Ten to 12 feet above ground will attract more bats.
 
James Stark
Posts: 79
Location: Manitoba Canada
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John Polk wrote:
Those bat houses look too close to the ground.  Bats have predators too.
Ten to 12 feet above ground will attract more bats.



Looks to me like 12"X12" tiles, which would make the house three feetish tall. That'd be about 12 feet off the ground, at least in the first pic. I was thinking it looked low too, but upon further inspection, looks like they're bang on the money.
VERY nice bat houses. Well done Adunca!
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
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Get a bunch of these guys


Place some in a bunch of these


broadcast with one of these


 
Dave Miller
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Here's a big JPEG of the updated plan (click on it for the full size file):



Here are some photos of the construction & installation of the houses: http://www.flickr.com/photos/70097310@N00/sets/72157604770522093/show/

Regarding the height, I am fully aware that bats like their houses to be as high as possible.  The houses don't look that high in the photos because the vegetation is about 6 feet tall.  Also the ground has quite a slope to it (both locations), my ladder was extended almost all the way.   But bats do use houses that are even just 8 feet off the ground.

Around here the main bat predators are owls and hawks.  Thus it is important to not place the bat house next to branches which the owls & hawks can sit on.
 
John Polk
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Nice looking houses.  Does the slate help them with their echo location?
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
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John Polk wrote:
Nice looking houses.  Does the slate help them with their echo location?



No.  I used the slate for several reasons:

1. Aesthetics.  The bat houses are placed on a wildlife refuge, where generally speaking artificial roosts/houses are not allowed for a variety of reasons, aesthetics being a key reason.  So I had to design it to blend into the environment.

2. Color.  In our area, Bat Conservation International recommends a dark color.  I picked out dark colored slates (which are only about $2 each BTW).

3. Maintenance.  Slate lasts a very long time, and does not need to be painted.  Note that I melted wax onto all the external wood surfaces, which both protects the wood for a very long time, and darkens it over time.

4. Thermal mass.  Bats prefer fairly warm (even hot, for babies), stable temperatures for their summer roosts.  The slate warms quickly in the sun, and holds heat for a while after sunset.

5. Longevity.  As I mentioned, slate lasts a very long time.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Excellent!

Plans copied.

Boy, you guys are making my todo list just get longer instead of shorter.

troy
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
richsoil.com/wdg


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