older couple hiking in the forest. The woman is spraying mosquito repellent on her husband.
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The best way to get rid of mosquitoes in the summer

May 15, 2024
5 minutes
Personal Health
Seasonal health

Mosquitoes are pesky little creatures and the bane of everyone who enjoys outdoor living. Besides being annoying when we're cooking outside, taking a hike, or doing other activities, mosquitoes are a vector for several diseases. These include yellow fever, malaria, Zika, dengue, and West Nile virus.

A big part of outdoor safety is repelling mosquitoes. To control mosquitoes in and around your home, you'll have to take a multi-pronged approach. This begins with controlling their breeding sites, but we'll also share some other tips to keep you as mosquito-free as possible.

Eliminate standing water breeding sites

What's the best way to get rid of mosquitoes outside? The first step to preventing a mosquito infestation is to control the sites where they breed. Mosquito larvae develop in standing water. While ponds and containers can attract mosquitoes, the larvae can also thrive in small amounts of water, such as what would fit in a rain gutter or bottle cap.

Mosquitoes love to nest and rest in humid, dark areas. This includes not just standing water containers but also under patio furniture and even inside the garage or carport. If you regularly eliminate any standing water around your yard, you'll go a long way toward mosquito control. Be sure to check all of these areas:

  • Used tires in the yard or garage
  • Birdbaths
  • Puddles
  • Tree stumps
  • Kiddie pools
  • Trash cans
  • Rain gutter extension pipes
  • Fountains
  • Uncovered rain barrels or cisterns

Containers that stay outside need to be emptied and scrubbed on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests doing this once a week. You can treat water features like ponds and fountains with a dissolvable disk available at home improvement stores or online. These disks are toxic for the larvae.

Install protective screens and netting

Barriers are one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family. Window screens or mosquito netting are an effective second line of defense after eliminating water breeding sites.

Window screens

To control mosquitoes inside your house, one important step is to make sure you have screens on any windows or doorways you like to open. Window screens can be fixed and attached to the outside of your windows, or you can install roll-up mosquito screens.

For windows and doors that are sometimes opened, use a fine mesh screen with openings too small for mosquitoes to enter. Also, consider screening on your porch or deck. You can choose a permanent solution if you live in a warm climate. However, options are also available for roll-down patio screens.

Traditionally, door screens are a separate door, but we mostly see this type of screen in older homes. If your doors don't have screens, you can opt for a net-like screen that allows people to walk through. This option is a solid mosquito repellent for doorways. Just keep in mind that mosquitoes can enter quickly.

Mosquito netting

Insect netting provides a protective barrier mesh. These nets are typically made of woven polyester. Most of us don't have an indoor mosquito problem. However, some climates struggle with this issue more than others. Mosquito infestation is especially common in warm, humid climates.

If indoor mosquitoes are a concern, try a mosquito net placed around beds. You can also find mosquito nets designed specifically for your needs. For instance, we see door nets, window nets, and bed nets.

Mosquito nets are useful for doorways without screens. Letting fresh air into the home in the spring and summer is an excellent self-care activity. If you have a sliding glass door without a screen, you don't have to forego the pleasure of opening your doors to let fresh air into your home. Find an appropriately sized window net and install it correctly to deter mosquitoes and other insects.

Mosquito netting is particularly useful when you're camping or spending a day outdoors. For example, a large mosquito net or tent net is ideal for draping or placing around a patio table.

Using mosquito repellents and insecticides

According to the CDC, anything with DEET is effective as a mosquito repellent. This chemical doesn't actually kill mosquitoes. Rather, it makes it hard for mosquitoes to smell humans.

While many people see DEET as a harsh chemical, both the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency confirm that using DEET-based spray properly doesn't present a health concern to most people, including children.

Insecticides can be used in most of your outdoor areas. Using larvicides like capsules in water will eliminate mosquito larvae before they become adults. There are EPA-registered mosquito foggers and sprays formulated to spread toxins in outdoor areas.

Employing natural mosquito control methods


Mosquito infestation in yard areas is a huge problem. In addition to insecticides, there are several natural methods for controlling mosquitoes. To get rid of mosquitoes on porches or other outdoor gathering spots, placing specific plant varieties around your home's high-traffic outdoor areas can help. This might include putting plants around your deck or porch, in window boxes, and along your walkways. Mosquitoes tend to avoid areas where these plants are present:

  • Feverfew
  • Catnip
  • Tulsi (also called holy basil)
  • Citrosa (sometimes referred to as citronella plants)
  • Lemon thyme
  • Rosemary


A few naturally derived oils can be combined with water to make a natural mosquito repellant spray. These include camphor, peppermint, lemon eucalyptus oil, and citronella oils. Apply the oil and water mixture directly to your skin when going outside.

Specifically, a study conducted by the Journal of Insect Science found both lemon eucalyptus oil and DEET-based products perform well for repelling mosquitoes.

Bug zappers

Mosquito zappers—also called electrocutors—use carbon dioxide and heat to attract and kill harmful mosquitos. Another option is high-tech mosquito traps that use combinations of scent and heat to imitate human targets. This attracts the mosquitoes, and when they fly in, a vacuum built into the unit draws them into a special chamber where they're eliminated and trapped.


We can't allow mosquitoes and other insects to prevent us from enjoying our favorite outdoor summer activities. Proactive steps for protecting yourself and your family against mosquitoes will ensure you're ready to enjoy healthy outdoor living. From repellents such as DEET to natural oils and plants, there's a solution for everyone concerned about controlling mosquitoes around the home, yard, and beyond.

With Evidation, you can participate in health programs, along with receiving personalized content and tips for better health. Download the Evidation app today to learn more about how to track healthy habits.

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