GARDEN: How can you get rid of mosquitoes in the yard? Try these tips

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GARDEN: How can you get rid of mosquitoes in the yard? Try these tips

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If you don’t want these in your yard, take steps to prevent them. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

Recently, we tested which insect repellents work best in our scientific test, but what about just getting them out of your yard?

Ryan Larsen, a civil engineer at storm water management company NDS Inc., calls himself Dr. Drainage and has these recommendations:

1. Eliminate standing water around your home. Keep gutters clear of debris; check at least once a week for any discarded cans, buckets, pots, overturned children’s toys and anything that can hold water. Cover trash containers; change water in outdoor pet dishes daily; and change water in bird baths several times a week.

2. Move potted plants indoors. Potted plants also tend to fill up with excess water, which is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Keep them indoors during the muggy summer months.

3. Place herbs and scented oils around your backyard.Certain plant herbs and essential oils can naturally repel mosquitoes. For instance, the scents of citronella, lemongrass and chrysanthemum, are nontoxic and keep mosquitoes at bay. Scented oils and candles placed on your outdoor tables will keep any bugs away from food.

4. Scatter coffee grounds. Sprinkle coffee grounds wherever you discover standing water in your yard. Any mosquito eggs present will be forced to rise to the surface and be deprived of oxygen. This will kill any mosquitoes before they hatch and will prevent them from breeding further.

5. Grow insect-repellent plants. Discourage flies with plants like lemon balm, mint, chrysanthemums, marigolds, basil, garlic, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and more. Luckily, these herbs and plants are loathed by mosquitoes, but quite pleasant to look at and smell.

6. Install a drain in planter boxes. Consider using a drainage solution in planter boxes like a catch basin connected to a drainage pipe. Excess water enters the basin through a raised atrium grate, which prevents leaves, mulch and other debris from entering the system, and connects to a drain pipe where the water can drain to a safe location.

7. Install insect-repelling lights around your yard. Installing sodium lamps, yellow bug lights or LED lights in your backyard to deter those irritating buggers. All-in-one outdoor lighting and mosquito repellent fixtures can be purchased at home goods stores.

8. Hire a professional to spray your yard with an organic treatment. Nontoxic bug control solutions can work wonders and will kill off fleas, ticks and other insects, while not harming the family pet. Choose products labeled natural or organic and pet friendly, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions completely.

9. Install a French drain. A common solution for eliminating standing water around your home is with drainage solutions that can be purchased at a home improvement or hardware store. A French drain is a popular choice, which consists of a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel surrounding a perforated pipe. It provides an easy channel for water to flow through, collecting water over the entire length of the drain instead of one particular spot and redirecting the surface and ground water away from your home.

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