Although we all hate mosquitoes – their nasty biting and ability to transmit serious disease – we must consider the best, eco-friendly and people-friendly methods of control. Below are some steps we use, in addition to requesting exclusion from wide-area pesticides application by the state of Massachusetts.
2021 Update: Visit the Northeast Organic Farmer Association’s MASSQuito Coaliton Resources page for more information. The Coalition’s mission is to “advocate for effective, affordable, transparent, ecologically responsible, and scientifically-based mosquito disease management in Massachusetts.”
Some steps we take to reduce mosquitos in our area:
DUMP OUT STAGNANT WATER
You’ll be amazed at how many aggravating insects are reduced by the simple act of yard policing. Monitor bird baths, forgotten buckets, little puddles, clogged gutters, and other out-of-the-way breeding areas provided by we, the people.
For larger areas in your control that can’t simply be dumped out, such as a fish pond: add more fish! They love to eat mosquito larvae, and can’t get enough of them.
The American eels’ population needs our help to restore – baby eels can out-compete any fish in our rivers and streams to control mosquito larvae numbers!
If not fish, BTI (bacillus thuringiensis, strain israelensis) “Mosquito Dunks” or “Mosquito Bits” are used to specifically target and kill off mosquito larvae when inserted into standing water.
However, it is not without impacts as it may also affect dragonfly populations. Dragonfly nymphs, or naiads, feed on mosquito larvae, while adult dragonflies feed on adult mosquitoes.
If you live near woods or wetlands like we do, one of our favorite and effective products is “Mosquito Barrier,” a garlic spray applied throughout your yard.
Pine goes out every couple of weeks at dusk with a backpack sprayer, making the yard smell like garlic and drastically reducing the amount of troublesome mosquitoes.
RED CEDAR SPRAY
Red cedar spray is another very effective product for collapsing the mosquito and tick population; sprayed throughout the yard once a month or so in the warm seasons, preferably before rain.
Red cedar oil is relatively expensive, but well worth it – the red cedar oil from Texas is the greatest!
Wear bug repellent when outdoors. This protects you and saves the environment from unwitting errors.
- Mass.gov: How to Request Exclusion from Wide Area Pesticides Application →
- Exclusion requests may be submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) at any time during the year by mail or online. Keep in mind an exclusion request goes into effect 14 days from the date it is made, and expires on December 31st of the calendar year in which it was received, so plan ahead to avoid aerial or ground spraying in your area.
- Northeast Organic Farming Association of Massachusetts MASSQuito Coalition resources: nofamass.org/
- Mass Audubon’s Mosquito Control Frequently Asked Questions →
- Mass Audubon’s Position on Mosquito Control →
- Blake Dinius, Entomologist, County of Plymouth: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ellen Bidlack, Entomologist, Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project:
Office – (781) 585-5450
Fax – (781) 582-1276
(Hours: 8:00am – 3:00 pm)