Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mosquitoes, Help!

Its a bird, its a plane, its... no not Superman, but a huge Mosquito!
This big guy paid me a visit the other night.  Most pesky mosquitoes aren't this big, but all leave an annoying itchy bite that will last for several days.  Some people are more reactive than others and it seems they are the preferred victims of these blood-suckers!

Growing up we used a ~98% DEET mix, which you could feel burn when you applied it.  Dad said it was similar to the stuff they used in Viet Nam (lots of great chemicals used over there back then).  It sure kept the mosquitoes away, which were unbelievably bad with the Iowa River and its backwaters on and near my family's property. 

Unfortunately, when putting up firewood on hot humid days you would sweat it off pretty quick so it would need reapplied often.  Although effectiveness can last for several hours, some people experience adverse reactions to DEET, or other repellants so be sure to follow the directions on the container.  Consult your physician or local health department about use on children.
Luckily in the suburbs, we don't have the numbers of mosquitoes encountered in my youth.  And even with the wet rainy year we've had, we haven't had the population as high as in years past.  But even a few can make for an itchy, miserable night sleep.

What are some ways to control mosquitoes without using dangerous chemicals?
One completely chemical-free way is to bring out some fans to your deck or patio.  Mosquitoes find it hard to navigate the turbulent airflow and will avoid the area.  But, if you leave venture too far out of the breeze, watch out!

Other ways to control mosquitoes is to bring in some natural allies.  We can encourage bats to take up residence by building a bat house.  A fun family activity that can expose children to bats in a real and informative way.  These little furry fliers can eat up to 600 mosquitoes per hour!

Dragonflies are also voracious mosquito eaters and can consume their body weight every thirty minutes!  Dragon flies need water to breed, so consider a pond or rain garden and include water lilies, cattails, snake weed and swamp milkweed.  If you don't have a water feature consider taller plants, or even some garden stakes, for perches.  (Concerned about raising more mosquitoes in your pond? See the organic Bt dunks at the bottom of this page)

Don't use "bug zappers" which kill pests and beneficial insects indiscriminately!

We use a combination of methods at our home, like wearing long sleeved shirts or timing activities off peak mosquito hours, if possible. 

Mostly though, what helps us enjoy the outdoors annoyance free is by spritzing ourselves with this homemade recipe using essential oils.
     10 drops Purification essential oil
     10 drops Peppermint essential oil
     5   drops Lemongrass essential oil
     Splash of vanilla extract
     4oz water
     Mixed in a glass spray bottle
     Shake Well each time before use.

We use Young Living oils for their high purity and quality, which you can purchase here.

Enjoy your time outside!


Concerned about raising more mosquitoes in your pond?  Consider these Bt Dunks from Amazon (affiliate), which target only mosquito larvae and are certified for organic gardeners.

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