We are outdoor people and can be found on our patio enjoying life, weather permitting on a year round basis. Each spring we enjoy preparing our flowerbeds, selecting the flowers, planting & preening, then stepping back and enjoying the bounty. This year our planting criteria has changed, all due to the growing concerns about the mosquitoes, specifically the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus.
After reading up on the 2016 dreaded mosquitoes, it became clear that if we were to enjoy our patio we needed to make every attempt to illuminate these potentially harmful insects. There was plenty of available research and existing common knowledge to help make this happen. There are ways to deter these horrible creatures and it’s simple.
First, eliminate any standing water. Even a teacup containing still water can attract female mosquitoes. The Aedes aegypti, especially likes man-made containers of any kind to lay its eggs. We don’t have a birdbath but if we did, we’d need a bubbler of some sort, a schedule for scrubbing the bowl every two days, then changing the water to attract the birds.
Next plant flowers/herbs around the patio that are actually known to repel mosquitoes. Insects in general rail at the smell of marigolds, ageratum, geraniums, scented geraniums, eucalyptus, pennyroyal and citronella grass, as well as lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, peppermint and basil.
We selected the following plantings that say “Get Out” to mosquitoes:
Additionally, lantana is so effective in warding off mosquitoes it’s recommended that you plant them near doors that are opened frequently. The last things you need are mosquitoes inside your home. So this year lantana will be in a large decorative pot by the door.
Of course, there are other flowers/herbs that I would prefer to plant in the patio area; especially ones that are vibrant with color and loaded with nectar that would naturally attract butterflies…but this year we’re planting defensively, at least around the patio area.
Speaking of butterflies, in my research I found an interesting article about the beloved butterfly bushes and how science has discovered that these lovelies, while they attract butterflies with their yummy nectar, they also attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are drawn to these bushes just like the butterflies. The source of the article is quite credible and can give pause to those of us who have these bushes planted in our yards. The article states that research is underway and….go to:http://www.glacvcd.org/2016/01/study-highlight-butterfly-bushes-attract-mosquitoes-laying-eggs/ for more details.
Our “scat mosquito” landscaping will be planted soon. Look for updates.