The No. 1 Thing Attracting Mosquitoes to Your Yard

There are so many amazing things about summer—BBQs, pool parties, and picnics, to name a few. But each year, mosquitos buzz in, threatening to ruin our good time. Not only can mosquito bites cause unsightly red bumps and itchiness, but they can also transmit serious diseases and viruses, such as malaria, dengue, Zika, and West Nile. Suffice it to say, you'll want to keep them away from your home as best you can. Read on to discover the number one thing pest control experts say attracts mosquitos to your yard. By eliminating it, you'll set yourself up for a mosquito-free summer.

READ THIS NEXT: If You See This Bug in Your Home, Call an Exterminator Immediately.

Standing water can attract mosquitos to your yard.

If there's one thing you should be diligent about removing from your yard to prevent mosquitos, it's standing water. "Mosquitos are attracted to standing water because it is a stable environment where their eggs can develop and hatch," says Diana Ludwiczak, NYC-certified bed bug and pest inspector and founder of Doctor Sniffs Bed Bug Dogs. "The larvae need still water to survive, so standing pools of water are ideal breeding grounds."

According to North Carolina-based pest management company Terminix Triad, they can "lay their eggs in as little as a bottle cap of water." Adult mosquitos are also able to rest on still water, meaning these areas fulfill all of the mosquitos' basic needs.

Standing water can be present in places you might not expect.

When you picture standing water, you might imagine dirty puddles and wet tarps. However, pest control experts say still water can accumulate in many other areas. "Common unexpected sources of standing water can be kiddy pools, sandbox lids upside down, bird baths, old tires, old or non-functioning rain gutters, rainwater collection items, yard toys, toys left out in the rain, pools, and dips in patios or ground where water can pool," says Megan Wede, co-owner of pest-control company Done Right Pest Solutions.

Terminix Triad explains that another very common place where standing water collects is in clogged gutters. "When leaves and twigs are allowed to gather and clog drains, gutters, and drainage pipes," it traps water, they explain. Not only does this provide mosquitoes with a nice, moist setting, but they like to take shelter in this type of debris since it shields them from the wind.

READ THIS NEXT: This Is the Most Hated Insect in the U.S., New Survey Shows.

Prevent standing water like this.

It sounds obvious, but regularly scanning for standing water is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. "Be mindful of where you place your outdoor furniture or take things in when it rains," says Wede. "You'd be surprised how many kids' toys can collect water, so cleaning up before rainfall is a big tip." For items that commonly get left lying around (like trashcan lids and grill covers), Terminix Triad suggests drilling a hole in the bottom "so that water is able to drain when it rains."

Machines that move the water—such as a fountain for your bird bath—can help, as mosquitos don't like to lay eggs in moving water. Thomas Dobrinska, a board-certified entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control, also suggests measures such as keeping grasses short and using oscillating fans during outdoor gatherings in mosquito season. Finally, an insecticide or natural mosquito killer with a weeks-long residual effect could be appropriate for areas that aren't meant for kids, pets, or welcome garden birds and animals.

For more home advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Try this as a last resort.

If you've taken these steps and still have a mosquito problem, it's time to call in the big guns. "Consult a pest management professional that can provide pinpoint applications, larviciding as necessary, and provide feedback on how to best keep your property mosquito-free," says Dobrinska.

Additionally, a heavy infestation may indicate a city-wide issue. "In those cases, please contact your local municipality," Dobrinska advises. "They may have plans for larviciding and adulticiding on a broader level."