5 Things You're Doing That Attract Mosquitoes to Your Yard

by Shelley Frost
abandoned plastic bowl in a vase with stagnant water inside. close up view. mosquitoes in potential breeding..proliferation of aedes aegypti, dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, mosquitoes.

Ants can march in and interrupt a well-planned picnic, but mosquitoes are really one of the peskiest pests of the summer. The distinct mosquito buzz in your ear is maddening, and the resulting bug bites keep bugging (and itching) you for days.

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But did you know that there are things you could be unknowingly doing to encourage their visit? Find out how to stop attracting mosquitoes so you can enjoy your time outdoors. 

Some Things You May Not Realize Are Attracting Mosquitoes to Your Yard

Knowing what these pests like can help you figure out how to stop attracting mosquitoes to your yard. Breeding grounds and protection are the two main things that draw the insects to your yard. Here are some common backyard issues that create a mosquito haven. 

1. Standing Water

Stagnant water is the ideal mosquito breeding ground. It doesn't take much water for them to lay their eggs, so even small puddles of water can be a problem. Some common offenders are sources of water you intend to have in your yard, such as a decorative pond. Others are containers that collect and trap rainwater. Common spots include:

  • Pet water bowls
  • Birdbaths
  • Flowerpots or saucers
  • Buckets
  • Tires
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Buckets
  • Trash cans
  • Grill or furniture covers
  • Kids' toys
  • Tarps
  • Rain barrels
  • Areas in the yard with poor drainage

To fix the issue, scour your yard for stagnant water and eliminate it if possible. For instance, if your yard has drainage issues that cause soggy puddles to form, you might aerate the lawn, fix the grade of your yard or add a drainage system. Turn buckets, wheelbarrows and similar containers upside down, or store them in a shed to keep them from collecting water. 

2. Tall Grass and Overgrown Landscaping

You might like cool breezes in the summer, but mosquitoes aren't fans of the wind, which can send them flying in the opposite direction. For that reason, the buzzing pests love tall grass and thick vegetation. It shelters them from the wind and other weather elements. 

Waiting too long to mow your lawn or trim back your shrubs creates increased shelter for mosquitoes. Stick to a regular mowing schedule to keep the grass at a manageable level. Cutting it too short can affect the health of the grass, but letting it grow out too much could increase your mosquito population. Thin out vegetation so it's not as thick and doesn't block the wind as well.  

3. Debris

Yard debris can also shelter mosquitoes from the weather. This might include piles of sticks, grass clippings, leaves or compost piles. When you trim your landscaping, dispose of the removed branches right away to prevent a buildup. Avoid leaving garbage, old items or other debris around your yard. Keeping your yard clean not only boosts curb appeal but could also help repel mosquitoes.

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4. Clogged Gutters

When you don't clean your gutters, you potentially create a double whammy of stagnant water and debris. Leaves, sticks and other gunk build up in gutters, creating little hiding spots for mosquitoes. As the debris builds up, water might pool behind the blockages to form a breeding spot for the insects. 

Cleaning out the leaves from your gutters at least twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall, can eliminate the mosquito area. If you have lots of trees on your property, you might need to clean your gutters more often. Gutter maintenance also helps prevent water damage to your home. 

5. People

Spending time outdoors could attract mosquitoes, depending on your habits. One potential draw is wearing dark clothes. The darker colors make you more visible to mosquitoes, which could attract them to your area. They can detect carbon dioxide in the air. If you have lots of people gathered in your backyard, all that exhaling could attract more mosquitoes. Strong smells can also help the biting pests find you. That could mean body odor from a heavy workout or fragrances you wear. Even strong-smelling food you eat outdoors could alert mosquitoes to your location.

You can't avoid all the people-related triggers, but you can minimize some of them. Wear light-colored clothes when you head outdoors to make yourself more difficult to detect. Cut back on personal odors if possible. When you dine outdoors, move the food back into the house after you're done eating. If you throw away food or plates outside, make sure they're sealed in a trash bag or closed tightly in the trash can. 

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