One of the most frequent questions we get asked by MosquitoTex customers is what else they can do—in addition to spraying their yards—to help reduce mosquitoes around their homesteads. While spraying for mosquitoes provides the most impactful approach, there are additional proactive measures that any homeowner can take to complement their overall mosquito eradication efforts.

Here are five simple tips to help with controlling mosquitoes around your yard.

1) Keep a well-maintained yard

Perhaps you already have this one down and have your yard in great shape. Realize that keeping a well-maintained yard doesn’t mean you have to be a contender for ‘Yard of the Month’ in your neighborhood. You should, though, be sure to trim back any overgrown areas of foliage around your yard and clean up any leaves, weeds and brush leftover from the fall and winter months. Mosquitoes like hanging out on the undersides of leaves and are attracted by the shade provided by bushes, shrubs and other overgrown foliage. Keep weeds and tall grass to a minimum, which helps avoid providing additional harborage areas for mosquitoes around your yard.

2) Light citronella candles

We’re big fans of using citronella candles and tiki torches that burn citronella oil to help strengthen your defense against mosquitoes. Place the citronella candles and tiki torches around commonly used outdoor spaces in your yard or on your porch. We recommend lighting them about 15 minutes before you plan to be outside for an extended period, which gives the aromatic time to permeate throughout the surrounding area. The citronella oil provides an added layer of protection around you to help repel mosquitoes—not to mention that we also think the glow of candles and tiki torches adds a nice ambiance to any outdoor space!

3) Use mosquito traps

If you experience high mosquito activity around your homestead, you may want to consider strategically placing mosquito traps in different areas. A simple online search for “mosquito traps” will lead you to a number of options. We recommend going with a CO2 mosquito trap. Such traps help mimic carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the gas you emit whenever you exhale, and also a universally recognized mosquito attractant. (Yes, mosquitoes are attracted to your breath!) When a mosquito follows the CO2 trail to the trap, they are sucked into a catch basket by a small vacuum where they dehydrate and die. Bear in mind that CO2 mosquito traps require a power source, so you will need to consider this when deciding where to place your traps. Also remember that since traps attract mosquitoes, you’ll want to avoid placing them too close to the specific areas in your yard where you hang out most.

4) Consider mosquito-repelling plants

Here’s what we know about mosquito-repelling plants: Some MosquitoTex customers swear by them, some are skeptical, and most don’t have strong feelings one way or the other. We think it’s worth a try if you’re looking for new ways to help complement your mosquito suppression efforts. Some plant and herb options to consider include: lavender, rosemary, thyme, basil, citronella, catnip, sage, lemon grass, mint, and marigolds. The key is placing the mosquito-repelling plants in close proximity to your sitting areas or other common outdoor spots. The idea is that the aroma produced by these more fragrant plants can disrupt a mosquito’s senses and help keep them away from you. Again, your proximity to the plants is what makes the difference. Simply having rosemary planted somewhere around your yard—which many homeowners do—will not help as much.

5) Avoid any standing water

When it comes to controlling mosquitoes, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get rid of any standing water around your property. Water provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes to breed. All it takes is one ounce of water—about a capful—for one mosquito in your yard to lay hundreds of eggs. So, you want to keep an eye on any spots around your homestead where water might collect after it rains or after your sprinkler system runs. Take action by turning over empty flower pots, buckets, yard toys or other small containers in which water can collect. If you have a bird bath, be sure the water doesn’t become stagnant by emptying it out occasionally. The goal is to get rid of potential mosquito breeding areas around your yard by staying proactive and regularly monitoring for any standing water. And, while we saved the most important tip for last, we recommend you implement this approach first in your efforts to suppress mosquitoes. It costs nothing and requires minimal effort on your part, but can have a significant impact on reducing your mosquito population.

While spraying your yard will indeed help with reducing your mosquito population, taking additional proactive measures is important as well. Keeping a well-maintained yard, using citronella candles, strategically placing mosquito traps, trying mosquito-repelling plants and, most importantly, getting rid of any standing water are all tactics that can help lower mosquito activity around your homestead. Keep these mosquito eradication tips in mind, and you’ll help avoid unintentionally inviting those annoying yard guests over for your next outdoor get together.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about!