Landscaping , Plants, & Mosquito Control
Lest the title of this blog mislead anyone, landscaping with plants mosquitoes don’t like is not an effective answer for mosquito control. It is simply one layer in a holistic approach to controlling mosquitoes that can help discourage these dangerous pests.
The Danger of Mosquitoes
The danger of mosquitoes should not be taken lightly – mosquitoes are considered one of the most dangerous pests on earth, not only for the diseases they spread but
because of their ubiquity. The diseases they spread kill more people annually than any other animal and they have been responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history! The Zika virus is making the news today, but West Nile virus, encephalitis, meningitis and malaria are among the other dangerous diseases mosquitoes transmit.
The Role of Plants in Mosquito Control
Plants that repel mosquitoes do so primarily through their fragrance that blocks a mosquito’s ability to smell what really attracts them. Using plants as a repellent is most effective in large quantities where the leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin to release their fragrance more effectively. The natural solutions that we and other landscaping companies offer are typically either chrysanthemum- or garlic-based. These natural solutions are repellents rather than insecticides and are effective for about 24 hours, so they are often requested by clients having a special occasion outdoor party.
Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
Basil, which is extremely pungent, is one of the few herbs in which you don’t have to crush the leaves to reap its benefits. Lemon basil and cinnamon basil are often recommended to discourage mosquitoes (and house flies) since these varieties have the strongest fragrance. (Basil is often used as a companion plant when growing tomatoes because it repels a number of insects.)
A number of research studies have found catnip, which contains nepetalactone, the essential oil that gives catnip its distinctive odor, to be more effective than DEET. Chris Peterson, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and Joel R. Coats, former chair of the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University, conducted studies that found it to be ten times as effective as DEET. Of course, some cats love catnip, too, so if you may want to think twice about including catnip in your garden if you have neighborhood cats that visit your property.
Marigolds have a distinctive smell mosquitoes don’t like and are often used as an ornamental border plant. Marigolds contain pyrethrum that is used in natural mosquito repellents.
Rose-scented bergamot (also called bee balm) is a colorful perennial especially rich in geraniol, which gives it a strong rose-like scent. Geraniol is highly repellent to mosquitoes, according to a study published in the Journal of Vector Ecology. Geraniol is the active ingredient in some commercial natural mosquito repellents.
Rosemary is another pungent plant that repels mosquitoes and a variety of insects harmful to vegetable plants. Rosemary grows extremely well here in Dallas as a perennial and you can also throw a bit of rosemary on the fire when you barbecue to release its fragrance.
The Bottom Line on Mosquito Control
As a company that offers lawn care services, landscape design, and mosquito control, we find the idea of using mosquito-repellent plants interesting, but unlikely to be effective as a sole means of mosquito control.
One of the best thing to do to ward off mosquitoes is to minimize or eliminate any areas of open water in your yard that might be places for mosquitoes to breed (they’ll either lay them on the water surface or on the ground next to it.) Larvae can live in very little water, even in wet foliage. Other obvious areas are flower pots, bird baths, roof gutters, rain barrels, streams and ponds, unused swimming pools and outdoor tubs.
Bonick Landscaping offers both natural repellents for temporary mosquito control and for clients who want more consistent and reliable mosquito control, either regularly scheduled sprayings or a permanently installed mosquito control spray system. Whichever your choice is, we use formulations that are safe for both pets and people.
Last year Dallas ranked #8 out of the Top 20 Worst Mosquito Cities in the U.S. With all the rain we’ve had this year we may find ourselves even closer to the top of the list. For help with your mosquito control challenges, contact us at 972-243-9673 or email us.
For over 30 years, Bonick Landscaping has served Dallas area clients with the highest standards looking for out-of-the-ordinary luxury landscape design and pools by offering the best in service, workmanship, and plantings. Services include hardscape and landscape design, pool designs, pool construction and installation, lawn care services and garden maintenance (overall estate management), pool maintenance, and more. For discerning clients in Dallas who want to express their own distinctive style through their landscaping, Bonick Landscaping can help you realize your dream. Call us at 972-243-9673 or visit our website at www.bonicklandscaping.com.