Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

mosquitoLast month we learned that the so-called mosquito repellent plants don’t actually keep our yards pest free. Does that mean we have to suffer annoying, itchy welts? Thankfully, there are alternatives. We start by preventing mosquitoes from breeding.

Most of us know that mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae. In as little as three day (depending on the temperature), those larvae become flying adults. The males leave us alone, but the females suck up a gut full of nutrient-rich blood to support egg-laying. And often, that blood comes from us.

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Mosquito Repellant Plants? Caveat Emptor

mosquitoI sometimes wonder why God made mosquitoes. They’re so… annoying! No one enjoys getting bitten. It’s more than just the never-ending itch—they carry some very nasty diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and chikungunya. Even here in the U.S. we’re at risk of West Nile, dengue, viral encephalitis, and now zika.

Lavendula - Lavender @DianeBrunjes-GlenEagle 22july05 LAH 003rMy Facebook feed is suddenly overflowing with lists of plants that supposedly repel mosquitoes. Just plant these flowers and herbs and your yard will be pest-free! Or, as one post on Pintrest claimed, “Plant a Mosquito Control container so you can sit and unwind in the evenings.” Unfortunately, anything that simple raises a red flag for me. Can controlling mosquitoes really be as easy as planting marigolds and lavender? It took some research to get past the hype, but I eventually found some scientific studies that look at this question.

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