As summer once again highlights the true colors of an Australian way of life, it also brings a few unwanted guests – mosquitoes. These pesky buzzing pests not only cut short an alfresco moment, they can also transmit deadly viruses and diseases which are becoming more of a concern around the world. Mosquitos can be a very persistent problem if you have them and if you love lounging alfresco, mosquitoes are your worst nightmare! This prompted us to have a look around for the most effective and safest way to stop mosquitos from taking over your backyard.
Thanks to today’s growing environmental awareness and level of social responsibility, there are now a couple of sustainable ways to control mosquitoes if not totally eradicate them (at least in your own backyard). Here are 3 proven safe and effective measures to eliminate one of the most annoying creatures on your property:
Mosquito Magnet is a fairly new technology developed in 2010. The device is engineered to attract, trap and kill mosquitos by the hundreds. It works by using the same things that attract mosquitoes to humans as a lure. These are heat, carbon dioxide and sweat.
Photo by Mosquito Magnet
The device mimics a sweaty human with the help of octanol, a substance in gel form that’s slowly released in the air to attract female mosquitoes as far as 50 metres away. Human and animal breathing are also simulated using an attached propane tank connected to a combustion chamber at the upper compartment of the device. The chamber slowly releases carbon dioxide, water vapor and heat. This combination is an effective bait to mosquitoes attracting hundreds of them to follow the source. Once they are close enough, the thirsty parasites are vacuumed into a trap to die.
This ingenious device was invented by Bruce Wigton who is also part of the company that produces it. The device looks like a barbecue grill with attached gas tank and a cord. There are now a few variations of this product that are available in Australia and one of which is the Mega Catch. It works similarly and has a more compact design. Its manufacturer claims that this version is more effective than any of its competitors through a self-test they’ve conducted.
Photo by Mega Catch
Both products are available in Australia and you can check out more about them with the links below:
These two innovations might be just the thing we need to inhibit the swarming mosquitos in the backyard but how do we deal with those that aren’t flying yet? Eliminating mosquito larvae before they can spread their wings, reproduce and feed on your family is also a big issue. Now there’s BTI for that.
Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis or BTI is a naturally occurring bacteria that kills its target in an hour or so. It was discovered in Israel around 1976. As deadly as it may sound, BTI is actually safe to all other organisms including humans and animals. It’s so safe that various environmental agencies certified it as safe for organic gardening. It’s only lethal to mosquito larvae, black fly larvae as well as fungus gnats and midges.
Photo by: UK Aquatic Plants Society
BTI kills only those that have the right type of enzyme and gut alkali combination. As the target larva ingests BTI, it mixes with gut enzymes and releases toxic crystals that kill the insect in an hour or so.
Two of the most known BTI products available to market today are Summit Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits. These products are placed in a pond or any body of water prone to mosquitoes. Mosquito Dunks come in a small cork-like donut that lasts for 30 days.
Mosquito Bits comes in a pellet form that releases BTI in the water faster therefore killing the larvae faster as well. Since its designed a faster release, it also requires reapplication every 7-14 days. These products are available in Amazon, Aussie Pest Control, Fishpond and more. Check out the links below:
Given that both Mosquito Magnet and BTI are effective, their function requires human assistance. Going on vacation for some time also means a break for mosquitoes as the use of these products will likely be discontinued. As such, there’s a chance for the mosquitoes to thrive again in your property. The best remedy to that is Mother Nature. We’ll be listing 5 maintenance-free plants that deter mozzies from taking over the party in your backyard in our next article that will be posted shortly so stay tuned!