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The 8 Best Mosquito Repellents to Prevent Bugs From Taking Over Your Yard
With warmer temperatures comes summer cookouts, backyard pool parties, and — we hate to say it — tons of mosquitos. While humid environments are better breeding grounds for these pesky bugs, they can survive anywhere, as long as they have access to water. But just because their presence is inevitable doesn't mean you have to suffer through itchy bites and annoying buzzes: Take matters into your own hands by protecting your yard with the best mosquito repellents and bug sprays.
Follow the guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure that you're buying the most effective repellents. To be clear, the insecticides that you use in your yard shouldn't be the same ones that you spray on your body and clothes. Normal bug sprays contain EPA-registered active ingredients like oil of lemon eucalyptus, DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 — and while they can effectively repel mosquitos, ticks, and flies in your yard, they won't be nearly as effective for large spaces. The right insecticides and pesticides should control mosquito larvae as well as adult mosquitos, according to the EPA.
As a general rule, the best way to reduce mosquitos — besides using top-of-the-line sprays and repellents, of course — is by emptying anything that holds water. "Remember 'Tip and Toss': Tip over items that you can’t dispose of to empty water where mosquito larvae may be found. Then toss any items in your backyard that you don’t need anymore and may be sources of mosquito breeding," Craig Stoops, chief science officer for Mosquito Authority, recommends. Even further, the EPA suggests getting rid of any potential mosquito habitats by:
- Draining standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, and toys
- Emptying and changing the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels, and potted plant trays at least once a week
- Draining or filling temporary pools of water with dirt
- Keeping swimming pool water treated and circulating
Along with replacing your outdoor lights with yellow-hued lightbulbs that attract far less mosquitos, lean on these sprays, repellents, lanterns, and candles for a bug-free summer.
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1) Backyard Bug Control
Attach your hose to this sprayer bottle to reach every nook and cranny of your yard. The entire bottle can treat up to 5,000 square feet of landscaping, lawn, and other outdoor spaces. Even rainy or humid weather won't get in its way: It kills mosquitos, ants, fleas, ticks, and other insects for up to 12 weeks (a.k.a. all summer long).
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2) Patio Shield Mosquito Repellent
If you're opposed to sprays or smoke, opt for this cordless, scent-free repellent. Once you stick the 12-hour fuel cartridge and repellent mat inside, it'll create a 15-foot protection zone for up to 12 hours.
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3) Mosquito Dunks
Stick one of these small (but mighty) circles in any bird baths, ponds, plant trays, or flood-prone areas up to 100 square feet to kill mosquito larvae for 30 days. But don't worry about fish or other wildlife: BTI, the EPA-registered ingredient in this product, only kills mosquito larvae and is non-toxic to people, pets, and other animals.
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4) Quick Kill 32 oz. Mosquito Yard Spray
Connect this concentrate to your outdoor house to effectively get the job done. Unlike other preventative measures, it's a contact killer, which means it gets rid of mosquitos (not ticks, flies, or other bugs) instantly — if they're present, of course.
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5) 5 lbs. Mosquito Repellent
Sprinkle this natural formula straight from the container, or apply it to your lawn (up to 4,000 square feet) with a fertilizer spreader. The unique combination of lemon grass, mint, and garlic oils naturally repels mosquitos within an hour of spreading, and lasts from two to three weeks.
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6) Flea & Tick Spray
For a more natural option, treat up to 5,000 square feet with this plant-based option, which uses a combination of cedarwood oil, sesame oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate to kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, at any and every stage of the life cycle. Spray twice within two to 10 days to ensure that you're getting rid of all pests, and then continue to spray as needed.
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7) Mosquito Repellent Lantern
With this two-in-one option, you'll light up your patio or deck while warding off biting mosquitos. Similar to the Thermacell Patio Shield, this flameless lantern repels mosquitos within a 15-foot radius for up to 12 hours, and can easily be moved from one spot to the next because it's cordless and battery-operated.
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8) Mosquito Repellent Candle
Although it isn't a permanent solution, lighting a citronella candle is a tried-and-true option to get rid of mosquitos. This pick from Murphy's Naturals has glowing Amazon reviews due to its 30-hour burn time, and refreshing scent of rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood.