How to Keep Mosquitoes Away (Photos)

Porch fans, tiki torches, special lanterns, and other proven ways to keep mosquitoes at bay.

By: Mary Clare Glover, Marisa M. Kashino

As any Washingtonian knows, summer brings mosquitoes—lots of them. But that doesn’t mean you have to hide inside.

Joe Conlon of the American Mosquito Control Association says homeowners can discourage the insects by emptying all standing water, where mosquitoes breed. “You have to be fastidious,” says Conlon. “Mosquitoes can breed in a Coke bottle top filled with water.”

Damien Sanchez of the pest-control service Mosquito Squad recommends getting rid of grass clippings, fallen leaves, and other excess foliage: “By keeping your yard neat and tidy, you reduce places mosquitoes can harbor.” The insects are drawn to dark colors, so wear light, loose-fitting clothing.

Conlon warns that a lot of nonsense is out there. “Bug zappers are worthless,” he says. “They kill beetles and other bugs but not mosquitoes.” He also says to be wary of misting systems, which unnecessarily spread pesticides into the environment at the same time every day, killing mosquitoes as well as other bugs and contributing to resistance.

Check out our slideshow for more recommendations from experts.

This article appears in the June 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.