5 Surprising Reasons Your Backyard Is Full of Mosquitoes
There are a lot of things that could be attracting them, pest experts say.
Nothing is worse than enjoying time outside only to realize you've been eaten alive by mosquitoes. While these pesky insects might be taking up residence due to sweet-smelling flowers or food residue, there are also some surprising reasons why your backyard is full of mosquitoes, especially during this time of year. Luckily, pest experts know why they're invading your space and have tips on how to control them. Keep reading to find out why you're being mobbed by mosquitoes.
There's even a tiny bit of water in the yard.
Mosquitoes have a plethora of breeding spots in the backyard, and perhaps their favorite place is anywhere with moisture.
"It only takes a bottle cap full of water for a female mosquito to lay 20 to 30 eggs," says Shannon Harlow-Ellis, associate certified entomologist and technical specialist at Mosquito Joe. So, even if the water isn't noticeable, it could still be attracting the insects.
It's important to inspect your yard after any "water-yielding event" such as rain or sprinkler usage, notes David Lundquist, owner of Mosquito Hunters of Austin.
Though it is impossible to eliminate all standing water, especially if you live by a creek or stream, but you can get rid of excess water in your yard by adjusting sprinkler times and being vigilant, Matt Smith, owner and licensed professional pest control technician at Green Pest Management, tells Best Life.
"You really have to be diligent in looking for places that might hold water and empty them," says Smith, and that includes drain pipes, water spigots, gutters, and potted plants.
Kids' toys are everywhere.
As we know, if it can hold water, mosquitoes will find it and get comfortable—and one of the most common culprits is kids' toys in the yard.
"When I've done inspections and looked under back decks that are close to the ground, I will find upside-down frisbees or other toys with mosquito larvae in them," says Smith.
Harlow-Ellis says another common breeding spot is a play set slide, either in the water that pools underneath or at the end of the slide itself.
Anything that can be turned over should be tipped so it doesn't hold water, and any toy that's holding water already should be tossed out.
Your yard is poorly maintained.
"Adult mosquitoes typically reside in tall grass, shrubs, hanging baskets, and other damp, shaded harborage sites deep within the landscape, waiting for the opportunity to attack," says Brian Feldman, senior director of technical operations at TruGreen.
When you don't cut your grass or keep shrubbery trimmed, mosquitoes are more likely to stay in your yard. "Simply overwatering your lawn and bringing more plant growth is a breeding ground," says Harlow-Ellis.
Lundquist notes that ivy, bamboo, or any dense vegetation can provide cool, humid habitats that are perfect for these pests.
There are a lot of people around.
As creepy as it sounds, mosquitoes need nutrients to keep breeding and living, and they aren't going to find that if they don't have any people around.
"Even though only half of the mosquito population around the world bites humans (that being female mosquitoes), host-finding is crucial for the survival of mosquito eggs and the promotion of future mosquito generations," says Emma Grace Crumbley, entomologist at Mosquito Squad.
If you're hosting something in your yard during peak egg-laying time, you can probably expect to see an influx of mosquitoes.
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You're wearing things that attract them.
One of the more surprising reasons your yard may be full of mosquitoes could have to do with your lifestyle choices, from the clothes you wear to the scented deodorant you use. Crumbley mentions that mosquitoes use all their senses when looking for hosts.
"Colors, lights, aromas, movement, heat, and CO2 are all indicators that mosquitoes pick up on when finding a host," she says. Sometimes even your breath can attract them depending on what you've eaten or your type of toothpaste.
Feldman advises wearing light colors and avoiding floral perfumes if you know you're going to be outside for an extended period of time.
Pregnancy and alcohol consumption can also bring more mosquitoes. "Though expecting mothers and partygoers are not the same, the increased attractiveness to mosquitoes may come from similar origins: Heavy or frequent CO2 expulsion and increased sweat production," explains Crumbley.