An insect on the ground

9 Ways to Wage War Against Mosquitoes—and Win!

Mosquitoes are nasty creatures. They bite, they transmit terrible diseases to people and pets, and from what I read, have no redeeming value in the ecosystem.

An insect on an arm


Malaria, transmitted by the female mosquito, infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and in 2018 killed 405,000 people. Mosquitoes spread yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus, and West Nile virus.

If that’s not reason enough to hate them, they can turn a beautiful backyard, deck or patio into a nightmare area not fit for humans during mosquito season. But it doesn’t have to be that way provided you are diligent to take control of your home and property.

Mosquito trap

When I discovered we’d be dealing with mosquitoes here in northern Colorado, my research led to purchasing a Dynatrap.

This insect trap is engineered for 3-way protection. First, a UV fluorescent bulb generates a warm light, attracting insects.

Then a second lure, an exclusive Ti02 titanium dioxide-coated surface, produces harmless CO2, which mosquitoes find irresistible (no wonder they love you so much—you emit CO2, too).

Third, a powerful, whisper-quiet vacuum fan sucks insects into the retaining cage where they dehydrate and die.

Every few weeks I empty my mosquito morgue, I mean trap. A full trap is proof-positive that this thing is very effective. I’ve inspected carefully to see what’s getting trapped and while there are lot of moths, wasps, and flies, mosquitoes win the highest population prize. Dynatrap is definitely not a bug zapper. No sizzle noises, odors or other annoyances. I give Dynatrap two thumbs up and five stars, too.

DON’T MISS: Make Your Own Safe and Effective Ant Spray

Smoke ’em out

According to the EPA, coffee grounds are a safe and effective way to keep pests away. The smoke from burning used ground coffee is especially effective to send mosquitoes away because they are seriously repelled by the smell, which to humans is quite subtle. Remember this outdoor trick for your new summer barbecue.

Mosquito and Coffee

Start with completely dry, used coffee grounds. Place the grounds in a bowl or other flat surface lined with foil and light them with a match, the way you would incense. Add a few fresh bay leaves to amplify your repellant. Set the containers(s) upwind to get the scent moving.

Commercial repellent

It is important to make sure mosquito repellent is applied to any exposed skin during mosquito season. Repellents that contain Deet, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 are the most effective at warding off mosquitoes. Pregnant women especially should choose a repellent with Deet.

Health officials recommend Sawyer Picaridin, Natrapel 8 Hour, and Off! Deep Woods VIII as being the best at keeping the mosquitoes at bay.

Natural homemade repellent

Mix 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil for every 10 parts witch hazel. Rub or spray on skin.

Night protection

If you are going to be spending an evening outdoors, make sure to have adequate mosquito-repellent candles and torches (don’t forget fuel) nearby.

Plant lavender

Plant lavender with abandon. It’s easy to grow, produces a beautiful flower and smells fantastic! Even better: mosquitoes hate it and will stay away from it.

No standing water

This is where mosquitoes breed by the millions. Birdbaths, fish ponds, puddles, even flower-pot drip trays, and dog dishes are prime reproduction grounds.

Empty or drain as much water as possible. If you can’t drain a water source, try pouring a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil on top to deny access to mosquitoes and larvae. Note: Do not pour vegetable oil into fish ponds; it inhibits oxygen flow and can kill the fish.

Mosquito Bits

It’s not always possible to clear all swampy areas where water accumulates. That’s when you need to know about Mosquito Bits, to quickly annihilate the larval population. Corn cob granules coated in BTI, the Bits (do not last long but) provide a punch, turning water black with larvae, to a clear pool void of future mosquitoes.

Mosquito and Insect

Clean yard

Keep your yard clean and your vegetation under control. Mosquitoes prefer densely vegetated areas where they are protected from sun, wind, and rain. Keep your lawn well-trimmed and clear out piles of brush where moisture can accumulate. Rake up leaves and dispose of them when they start accumulating.

First published: 7-9-18; Updated 6-8-20

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6 replies
  1. Brenda Cornelison says:

    Hi, I don’t use drip coffee, can you use fresh coffee grounds? Will they burn like the used coffee grounds? I guess I can try it and let you know.


  2. Cheryl Bailey says:

    The redeeming value they have in the ecosystem is that they are food for things like bats. But I do see your point….

  3. Maggie Morgan says:

    I think most people know this, but, in case not: DEET damages plastic, so keep it away from plastic glasses lenses, etc.

  4. Tracy says:

    I have tried the DIY of the mosquito repellent and it really works! I don’t like being covered in stinky commercial mosquito sprays, which make me feel like I need a shower every time I use it. The lemon eucalyptus and witch hazel has a pleasant scent and works so well. Thank you for your tips, Mary!


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