Mosquitoes bugging you? Keep them out of your WNY landscape

mosquito Culex pipiens
Culex pipiens is the most common mosquito in New York State. Photo courtesy Ary Farajollahi,

One way to keep mosquitoes from biting you is by keeping them out of your yard in the first place.

The most common mosquito in New York State is Culex pipiens, which has a very small territory. It usually stays within 300 feet of its breeding site, according to this page on mosquitoes from New York State Integrated Pest Management (NYS IPM).

If you and your Western New York neighbors make sure there are no breeding sites, everyone can have a more comfortable summer.

Prevent mosquitoes from breeding

Mosquitoes can lay eggs in any standing water–even a bottle cap full of water can provide a breeding site, according to NYS IPM.

Check your yard for water in containers, tires, tarps, boats, children’s toys, rain gutters, bird baths and unfiltered pools. Don’t forget to check your recycling bin.

When you find standing water, simply dump it out. Any existing eggs and larvae will desiccate (dry out) and die.

More prevention tips are:

  • Clean debris from rain gutters early in spring and check them regularly. If you are unable to clean them, ask your landscaper or pest control technician. A huge number of mosquitoes can result from clogged gutters.
  • Clean, filter and treat pools. Empty children’s pools and turn them over when not in use. Keep pool covers clean by propping them up to drain water.
  • Encourage natural enemies. For example, stock ornamental ponds with goldfish. Mosquitofish (a type of minnow, also known as Gambusia) devour mosquito larvae. Dragonflies and damselflies are mosquito predators.
  • Construct goldfish ponds properly. Large goldfish are unable to reach sloping edges of ponds where mosquitoes breed, so be sure your pond has vertical sides. A pond fountain will also reduce mosquito breeding.
  • Change the water in birdbaths and fountains twice a week.
  • Bti-containing products may be applied to containers by homeowners or renters on property they own or rent. They can be a good option for containers that are difficult to empty regularly (like a lined pond).
  • Consider discussing mosquito concerns with neighbors, and work together to reduce breeding areas. This has been a very successful strategy in neighborhoods in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Avoid mosquito bites

If you have mosquitoes, check out these tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how to prevent mosquito bites.

Note: There aren’t any plants that keep mosquitoes away, said Carolyn Stanko, associate professor of horticulture and biology at Niagara County Community College and a senior CNLP.

2 Comments on “Mosquitoes bugging you? Keep them out of your WNY landscape

  1. Thanks for the tips. I find hanging plants on my porch become breeding grounds even if no standing water is in them.

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