Mosquitoes have to win the award for being the most annoying yard pests ever.
And mosquitoes are practically impossible to get away from during the warm weather months: in your backyard, during cookouts, picnics, while camping out, at concerts, etc. It often feels like no matter how much bug spray you use, it's never quite enough to escape their itchy bites.
But the more you know about mosquitoes, including where their favorite habitats are, the more you can do to keep mosquitoes away.
Where Do Mosquitoes Live?
Mosquitoes prefer warmer, tropical habitats, but they are resilient and can adapt to many environments--however, regardless of what climate they live in, they do need standing water (fresh or salty) to breed and develop. Also, their existence is stifled and they become sluggish and less active in cold weather.
These flying nuisance insects favor marshes, tall weeds and grasses, forests, chronically wet areas, etc. Different species prefer different types of water and habitats, but many species will take advantage of just about any standing water they can find to develop through the four stages of their life cycle.
Female mosquitoes typically lay their eggs on the water's surface or in areas where water may rise so they can hatch. Mosquito eggs, as well as mosquito larvae and pupae all develop in the water. Mosquitoes typically stay relatively close to the areas where they've bred, unless they get carried far away by high winds.
Mosquito habitats can be classified in two types: permanent water and flood water.
Permanent Water Mosquitoes
For permanent water mosquitoes, bodies of stagnant water such as ponds, marshes, and lakes are the optimal habitat for them to thrive and breed. These mosquitoes can lay eggs in clumps of about 300 at a time anywhere in stagnant water bodies where they can find vegetation.
Permanent water mosquitoes can also lay eggs in man-made containers like buckets, pet dishes, tires, and plant vases. Species that favor stagnant water include:
- Anopheles quadrimaculatus
Flood Water Mosquitoes
Female flood water mosquitoes have a natural preference for laying eggs in waterlogged, wet, or damp soil. If a puddle or the ground dries up, the eggs go into a type of hibernation until the ground gets "flooded" again, after which the eggs will hatch within a few days. Mosquito eggs can survive in completely dry conditions for up to four months before the water returns to revive them.
Favorite habitats for floodwater mosquitoes include flood plains, irrigated fields, pooled water in wooded areas, drain ditches, and even areas of your yard that get swampy when it rains. Flood water mosquitoes especially love rural areas because of the long stretches of grass with plenty of pockets of water. These mosquitoes may also breed in man-made containers (like permanent water mosquitoes).
Note that flood water mosquitoes can survive in acidic and even in polluted water.
Floodwater mosquito species include:
Dry Land Mosquito Habitats
Yes, mosquitoes need water to breed and develop, and it's true, they do thrive better when standing water is nearby. But they can also live in areas with drier soil (e.g., mosquitoes transmitting West Nile Virus can thrive in more arid regions, and even in regions going through a drought). They only need a little bit of stagnant water to breed (rainwater pooled in old tires, rain gutters, bird baths, etc.), and can develop from egg to adult in as little as 8 to 10 days.
Urban Mosquito Habitats
Some mosquito species, like the Asian Tiger mosquito, can thrive in urban environments. These mosquitoes prefer man-made structures like houses, buildings, and sheds for breeding and development.
Targeting building interiors with pest control products to help control urban mosquitoes is a standard approach.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes
So you've got pesky mosquitoes in your yard, garden, and patio that disrupt your cookouts and summer fun.
Try an effective plant oil-based mosquito control product for spot treatment, like Maggie's Farm Home Bug Spray, Maggie's Farm Flying Insect Killer, or Maggie's Farm Mosquito Fogger. Plants hate mosquitoes and other bugs just as much as you do, and the natural oils they produce to protect themselves are amazingly effective at killing and repelling bugs of all sorts.
For longer term, more thorough coverage, you can treat wider areas of your lawn with effective hose-end plant oil-based pest control products like Maggie's Farm Mosquito & Tick Killer and Maggie's Farm Yard Bug Spray.
An effective plant-oil based DEET-free personal mosquito repellent, like Maggie's Farm Natural Insect Repellent can help you keep mosquitoes away from and off of you and your family members.
Citronella candles and electric mosquito traps can also come in handy in repelling and controlling mosquito populations around your patio and yard. For ornamental water around your yard, you may want to consider using mosquito dunks.
Helping Prevent Mosquitoes
Because so much of mosquito reproduction is dependent on the availability of water, the first and most effective thing you can do to help prevent mosquitoes in your yard and garden is to eliminate standing water outdoors. Wherever water may collect or puddle (an inch or deeper for as little as four to seven days) as the weather warms up, mosquitoes can take advantage. The warmer the weather and the longer standing water is left, the faster mosquito breeding can occur.
Stay on top of eliminating standing water in:
- Kiddie pools and toys
- Pet bowls
- Plant saucers
- Tires and tire swings
- Rain gutters
- Trash cans (and lids)
- Pool covers
- Unused, uncovered hot tubs
- Do what you can to ensure that gravel, sand, and soil along driveways and pathways do not collect to block the draining of rainwater from your yard. Keep pavement in good repair to help reduce any water collection.
Refresh birdbath and pet bowl water frequently (at least every three days), drill holes in the bottom of uncovered trash cans or flower pots, turn buckets and any other containers upside down, and drain pool covers regularly--these are all ways to help curb mosquito breeding.
Also keep your lawn and yard foliage trimmed short, and remove piles of lawn debris wherever and as frequently as possible. This will also help prevent other yard pests such as fleas and ticks.
For more on controlling mosquitoes, read the following articles:
You May Need to Call a Professional
There's a lot you can do yourself to help manage mosquitoes around your home and yard. If you've got an overwhelming mosquito infestation around your home, consider calling a pest control company.
How do you control mosquitoes in your yard? We want to hear your tips and tricks! Leave us a comment below!
For scientifically-tested, effective mosquito control in your home that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.