When I was a kid, I would wonder why I’d always get eaten alive by mosquitoes while outside on summer nights. My mom would always come back with “It’s because you have sweet blood,” which I genuinely believed to be the case. Maybe I still do, I don’t know. Regardless, there’s nothing worse than hanging out on a buddy’s porch and having to slap your arms, legs and neck due to constant mosquito attack.
To learn about mosquitoes and ways folks can go about abating the threat of mosquitoes, I had a conversation with Brian Kelly of East End Tick & Mosquito Control. I was surprised to learn that his company takes a seriously green approach to pest prevention. “Some people use citronella, that keeps mosquitoes away. I strictly use garlic, pure garlic oil mixed with water. One gallon of garlic oil per 100 gallons of water. It’s the sulfur in the garlic that’s keeping the mosquitoes away,” Kelly said. “Not the garlic smell itself. We do this on a weekly basis, so, we go in early, spray the garlic/water solution around the yard or whatever location we’re covering, the garlic smell is gone within a half hour and the mosquitoes are kept at bay for quite some time, though, that’s all in Mother Nature’s hands.”
“Spraying for mosquitoes is tricky here on Long Island, because there’s all these little ponds and salt marshes,” Kelly said. “There are so many areas for mosquitoes to breed. Application is important and it makes a huge difference.” For big events, it’s important to keep mosquitoes at bay. Hosting a party, going through the stress of planning and inviting folks can all be ruined by not providing adequate mosquito prevention.
“We usually do a combo spray for ticks and mosquitoes, which, although not organic-based, will kill both. Then we’ll go through the steps to keep the mosquitoes away, using the organic, garlic-based spray,” Kelly said.
I was curious to know what kind of steps people can take at home to prevent or eliminate mosquitoes on their own. The use of garlic spray seemed simple enough, with plenty of instructional videos online detailing the steps to making a suitable spray (hint: a blender, garlic cloves and water) to keep pests away. “There are a lot of great tricks homeowners can do,” Kelly said. “Paying attention to wheelbarrows, buckets and other items that can accumulate water due to rainfall is a good way to abate mosquitoes. Mosquito larvae grows in water, so getting rid of any standing water is one way to go about eliminating mosquitoes.”
“You’d be surprised how many backyards have a few ounces of water just sitting there. All sorts of little places hold water, all over your property. With all the rain we’ve been having the past few weeks, any little bit of water is a mosquito breeding area,” Kelly said.
“Keeping your gutters clean is a great way to keep mosquitoes away. The other day, I noticed that my own gutters were getting full, the rainwater wasn’t draining, so I climbed up a ladder and sure enough, there was water in there, a mosquito breeding ground. Gutters around the home, if there’s any standing water, there’s going to be mosquitoes breeding right around your living area.”
Other helpful tips like keeping one’s lawn cut short, as well as not overwatering are powerful steps to mosquito prevention.
“Mosquitoes like to rest in cool, shaded areas during the day, so your hedges, tall grass, those places are all spots for mosquitoes,” Kelly said. “We find that overwatering results in an abundance of mosquitoes.”
“We don’t use that harsh chemical mix from the ’70s, we use very environmentally-friendly chemicals and natural products which are very powerful and stick around for up to three weeks,” Kelly said. “When I started this company, I started as a strictly-organic company. The ticks are so bad out here, the products weren’t powerful enough at the time to handle the problem, so I came up with an alternative that’s approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation that’s the best stuff to use with minimal impact on the environment. It kills the ticks without getting into the groundwater and biodegrades in sunlight within 30 days of use.”
For more information, visit tickcontrol.com.