Mosquitoes can be a painful nuisance from the beginning of June until October and have generally been getting worse in Brooklyn over the past few years. We probably can’t avoid getting bitten by them completely, but there are a number of things we can do to avoid them as much as possible.
- Cover up. Wear long trousers, socks, shoes, long sleeves, a shirt with a collar and a hat.
- Wear neutral, light coloured clothing. Mosquitoes are attracted to bright and dark colours so avoid them.
- Avoid dusk/dawn. Mosquitoes tend to be active at this time so, if you can, schedule at least your longer visits to the garden during the middle of the day.
- Be clean. Mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of body odour and sweat.
- Don’t use strongly fragranced soap, deodorant, or shampoo. Mosquitoes are attracted to the smell of flowers so avoid smelling like one!
- Go to the garden when there is a breeze. They’re also attracted to the CO2 we exhale. You probably can’t hold your breath long enough to get anything done in the garden but wind does make it more difficult for mosquitoes to locate you so come to the garden when there’s a breeze.
Protect the garden:
- Remove potential places for water collection. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water so make sure there aren’t any places in the garden where water can collect. This means ensuring any buckets and containers without drainage holes are upturned. Almost anything that holds water — even a small amount — can turn into a mosquito nursery
- Pick up and throw away litter and any other unnecessary items
- Tidy away items that are useful so they do not collect water
- Wheelbarrows should be leant up or laid upside down
- Chairs with curved seats leant up
- Water barrels should always be sealed with a tight fitting lid
- Tarps and plastic bags should be taut so they can’t collect water or hidden
- Look for any concave surface and ensure the object is turned upside down or flattened!
- Add mosquito dunks to water barrels once a month from April to October. Mosquito dunks contain a bacteria that kills mosquito larvae when they eat it. They are considered suitable for organic gardening. Check to see the water barrels are already baited and if not, replace them. The dunks can be found in the shed and each water barrel needs less than 1/4 of a dunk. Try not to take the dunk which disintegrates and floats on the surface of the water when filling your watering can!
- Spray garlic concentrate every 2-4 weeks depending on how much it rains
- Maintain planted areas, including in and around your box if you are a box holder. Mosquitoes like to rest in tall foliage or among shrubs where it is moist and shady.
- Plant mosquito-repelling plants, including garlic, peppermint, lavender, marigolds, chrysanthemums, citronella grass, lemon eucalyptus, pennyroyal, and feverfew.
During a BBQ, place dried coffee grounds into an aluminum foil plate on a level surface, such as a table. Add a few pieces of hot charcoal from the grill. The smoke from the coffee grounds repels mosquitoes.