News & Politics

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away (Photos)

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

Photograph by Fotosearch/Getty Images.

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

Check out our slideshow for more recommendations from experts.

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

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a possible wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.