Constant rain/mosquitoes

ryseryse_2004June 30, 2014

Everything looks so lush and beautiful because we have had a wetter spring than I ever remember - almost daily rain. BUT much of the 'lush' is weeds growing into bushes. I desperately need to get out and weed all of the gardens but the mosquitoes are very numerous and hungry!

I hate to use Deep Woods Off and even it doesn't seem to faze these critters. It is so hot to have on a mosquito hat and long sleeves and jeans but that is the only answer.

The barn swallows and bats are loving this season!

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karin_mt(4 MT)

We have had similar conditions Ryse. Lots of rain throughout June which is normal, but tons of mosquitoes too, which is not common for us. I keep waiting for windy conditions to go into the back gardens, otherwise it's nearly impossible to stand still. The only effective attire I've found is a thick hooded sweatshirt, which they can't get through. But like you said, it's awfully hot to wear that.

We're scheduled to dry out now and it will be in the high 80s by late this week, and that usually does them in. I hope so because it's such a tease to have the time, energy, and materials to make progress out there, but to be stalled out by bugs!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:07AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I think I had my hose out once early this spring. That's it. We've had about 3 times our normal June rainfall and I'm loving it. The garden is so lush and green I keep thinking it must have been hit with some super fertilizer when I was sleeping. After years of some degree of drought, you won't hear one peep of complaint from me.

It's kind of amazing how your mood changes when you're not dealing with the constant question: "When is it going to rain?" Last year I spent so much time online checking and rechecking the radar weather - just watching the storm clouds somewhere hoping they would head our way. I drove myself nuts.

I tend to garden in the blazing sunshine, so the mosquitoes haven't been noticeable to me, but I know they're there.

Kevin

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:29AM
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lilsprout

I had the same problem one year while digging up new beds. It was soo hot and humid and they were eating me alive! I was so desperate for relief I grabbed my spray bottle that I use on my dogs for fleas. A mixture of neem oil and tea tree oil diluted in water.

Ahhhh is was so refreshing and soothing (tea tree)and such a relief! It worked very well, although I did have to keep reapplying due to the heat and sweating bullets.

I much prefer to use this vs the store bought stuff. Try it....you might like it.

Note....neem smells horrid...tea tree oil helps with the smell and is also very soothing/refreshing.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:51AM
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SunnyBorders(5A)

Re mosquitoes: our main problem is a lovely well maintained swamp cedar hedge at the back of our wide, but shallow, back garden. Numbers of folk, including a real estate agent, have said what an asset that cedar hedge is.

We also keep our garden watered as per our perennials need.

Luckily, I'm quite slow at getting going in the morning, so like Kevin, I frequently garden in full sun (the orientation of the hedge is great in not reducing sunshine much).

We don't meet mosquitoes with the sun full overhead.

I am quite conscious of UV radiation and often garden covered up, with hat, sunglasses and sunscreen on.

Coming from southern England to the lovely bright (but humid) summers here did necessitate some adaptation.

This post was edited by SunnyBorders on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 21:07

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 12:42PM
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catkin(UDSA Zone 8)

Google *home made mosquito repellent*. There are many recipes using essential oils as mentioned above. I made some with cedar and lemon oil with a base of witch hazel (which you can find at a drugstore--used to use it as a facial skin toner)--put it in a mini mister bottle. Piping Rock sells essential oils for a decent price. You can find concoctions pre-made online but I've not tried them. Before going out, I spray some on the palms of my hands and dab it on my face, ears and neck and also on my shirt front and sleeves--they don't come near me and I love the scent! DH swears by his Old Spice after shave, though.

For any standing water such as birdbaths, you can get mosquito dunks/donuts. They prevent any mosquito larvae from maturing and do not harm birds that drink the water. I put mine in a cheesecloth pouch (so they don't flake into the water) under a rock in the birdbath so birds aren't able to pick them out and fly away with them. I hate thinking I'm providing breeding grounds for the bugs so I use the dunks.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:45PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Aren't dunks kind of a waste in birdbaths? I guess if you have some sort of birdbath where you rarely change the water, but I have to change mine once if not twice a day because it gets so much use by the birds. Mosquitoes don't go from egg to adult overnight. I believe for most species it takes at least a week.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:57AM
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GreenHearted(5a IL)

I'm loving the rain; had to plant/transplant in mid-June (and am still going) and haven't hardly had to give any additional water. But the skeeters are definitely a downside. I tried lemongrass essential oil (because it was what I had) and it didn't deter them. Perhaps I'll try the neem and tea tree.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:36PM
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catkin(UDSA Zone 8)

Kevin, certainly I can only speak from my own experience. I also keep a few water hyacinth plants in the birdbath and it stays pretty clean. I also plan to put a donut and a few water plants in the kiddie pool (shaded) we stick our feet in when it gets too hot around here.

Hatching of mosquito eggs may occur within 24-48 hours (even in a very, very small amount of water) according to several online sources and I'd rather not take the chance. I walk around outside the house early in the season and make sure there's nothing sitting around holding water.

Greenhearted, did you put the oils on yourself/clothing? I find they work as a barrier--the mosquitoes don't come to near me let alone land on me, but would dilute them before putting directly on the skin. No way could I treat the whole property so I treat myself. I live by water so it's the best I can do!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:02PM
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GreenHearted(5a IL)

Hiya, catkin. What I did (in my moment of desperation) was grab a cotton pad, soak it in water and add a drop of the lemongrass EO. I swept it over my face, added more water and another drop, over arms, added a drop. etc. I definitely smelled great but the mosquitos seem undeterred. Maybe there are more effective EOs for this? I always thought lemongrass was supposed to be good for insect repellent.

Do you remember what your recipe was (if you are willing to share, of course)?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:57PM
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ryseryse_2004

Avon Skin So Soft oil works unless the mosquitoes are VERY hungry and then nothing works. I prefer it to "Off" but hate the oily feeling. My skin can't breathe.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 3:02PM
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catkin(UDSA Zone 8)

Here you go...

Fill an 8oz. spray bottle half full of distilled or boiled water OR plain vodka--I used distilled.
Add witch hazel almost to the top.
Add 30-50 drops of assorted essential oils--a mix of the ANY of the following--to your scent preferences and shake well before using, just adjust the amounts to whatever size spray bottle you have:

eucalyptus
geranium
peppermint
wintergreen
cedar
lavender
clove
citronella
lemongrass
lemon
rosemary
tea tree
thyme

Some recipes use *carrier* oils such as jojoba or olive oil for a base, I thought that unnecessary and didn't use them.

I had some both dark brown and blue mini mister bottles, so I've been using them. These may be for sale wherever you get your essential oils. I store the preparation out of direct light--just because! LOL! I've found that the mix lasts a long time.

My next batch I'll switch up the scents, however I will always use some version of lemon because it's a favorite of mine--and maybe some wintergreen, too! You can do a search and find out lots more info, if you like.

Wishing you the best. More than one season I've confined myself to the house rather than be swarmed by mosquitoes--which I see as pure torture. I hated using the OTC preparations so I searched out a homemade version and lo and behold it worked for me! Wishing you the best!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:10PM
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GreenHearted(5a IL)

Catkin, thanks for taking the time to post this. I'll give it a try with lemon and cedarwood since you had luck with those two and I happen to have them both at home. Appreciate it!

Ryse, I remember reading something like that before about the SSS... But I agree, being covered in sweat AND oil doesn't sound appealing.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 5:38PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

catkin - True about the eggs hatching so quickly, but if you dump out the water on a daily basis and replace it, the eggs and larva croak on the ground. They never develop into adults.

Also water hyacinth are not going to filter out bacteria and pathogens from bird poop. Birds poop in the water and disease can be spread from bird to bird this way. It is rare, but it does happen.

A few years ago, about 1/2 of the Greenfinch population in Britain was wiped out by a disease and dirty birdfeeders and birdbaths were thought to be a one of the main causes.

For me, emptying the water daily is simply a routine I've accustomed myself to and it gives me a bit of piece of mind knowing I'm at least trying to protect the birds that visit my garden.

Kevin

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 7:12PM
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