After an entire year of quarantines and restrictions, the long-awaited return to a “normal” summer has New Yorkers buzzing.
But we aren’t the only ones — just as people are emerging from quarantine, so are ticks, mosquitoes, flies, and even the so-called 17-year cicadas.
Due to their person-biting tendencies, mosquitoes and ticks are a particular summer problem in New York City. Not only are their bites itchy and annoying, mosquitoes and ticks can also carry various diseases such as Lyme disease (ticks) and West Nile virus (mosquitoes).
Here are 3 ways to keep these unwelcome guests off of your property and stop them from putting a damper on your summer fun, ranging from prevention to repellents to professional help from your friendly neighborhood exterminator.
1. Establishing a Pest-Free Space
Whether it’s your home, backyard, rooftop, or business, keeping mosquitoes and ticks away is a must. If you’re hosting friends on your terrace, managing an outdoor dining space for a restaurant, or something in-between, preventing pests from biting your guests can make or break their experience.
Establishing a pest-free space means reducing or eliminating the conditions that allow pests to live and reproduce. This is one of the cornerstones of a successful integrated pest management program.
At the same time, it’s relatively easy to do — there are two steps that we recommend you can take immediately to help significantly reduce the summer mosquito and tick population on your property:
- Keep outdoor spaces clean and free of clutter
- Keep landscaping well-maintained
- Eliminate standing water
Mosquitoes require standing water to reproduce, and most pests — including mosquitoes and ticks — will take advantage of unkempt vegetation as resting and nesting areas. Taking the steps above will make your property less hospitable to pest insects, curbing their population.
In addition, here are some other preventative measures that will help reduce the number of mosquitoes and ticks around your space:
- Mosquito Dunks — While eliminating standing water is the best way to curb a mosquito population, sometimes it’s not feasible if you have a birdbath or small outdoor pond. For places with standing water that you don’t want to get rid of, treat it with mosquito dunks. These are small, dissolvable tablets containing BTI (bacillus thuringiensis israelesis), a naturally occurring type of bacteria that eliminates any mosquito larvae hatching in the water.
- Fish — Introducing fish that eat mosquito larvae is another way to disrupt the mosquito life cycle and provide population control. Some examples of mosquito-preventing fish include koi, golden orfe, goldfish, minnows, and mosquitofish.
- Plants — There are a variety of plants and flowers that are known to deter mosquitoes, ticks, and a variety of flies. Like with citronella, the natural oils produced by these plants can help keep pests at bay. Examples include mint, basil, lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, sage, chrysanthemums, marigolds, petunias, geraniums, and floss flowers.
Implementing some of these strategies may provide the modest approach to mosquito and tick prevention that your space needs this summer.
2. Using Insect Repellants
The preventative methods above are great for summer-long mosquito and tick control, but they require some time to take effect. If you’re looking for an immediate, short-term fix, using repellents that can be directly applied to skin and clothing can be a good option to ward off mosquito and tick bites.
To keep mosquitoes away, we recommend using EPA-approved repellents containing these thoroughly-tested ingredients:
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE or PMD)
DEET and Picaridin are two of the most common and effective chemicals found in mosquito and tick repellents. Products containing DEET and Picaridin typically provide up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other flying insects.
Lemon Eucalyptus oil and IR3535 are synthesized plant oils that are also EPA-approved for repelling mosquitoes. These can be great alternatives for people who want to avoid DEET and can provide 6-8 hours of protection.
For ticks, we also recommend wearing tick-repellent clothing treated with permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide — not exactly a repellent — but it can be sprayed on clothing for long-lasting protection, making ticks unable to bite and killing them within 30 seconds of exposure.
Notable DIY Repellents
- Fans — Airflow is an easy and eco-friendly way to keep mosquitoes from invading your space. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, the breeze created by fans is a comfort to guests and a challenge for insects.
- Netting — Consider installing a tent or netting around outdoor dining areas to keep insects at bay. The physical barrier can be an effective solution during peak bug bite season.
- Citronella Candles — Citronella candles are a popular home remedy for repelling mosquitoes. However, its effectiveness is often exaggerated. Studies have shown that although citronella oil is unsavory to mosquitoes, most citronella candles and grasses do not produce high enough concentrations of the oil to effectively repel them.
- Other Essential Oils — There are a variety of make-your-own bug spray recipes from DIY gurus and Pinterest experts, usually involving a combination of essential oils, carrier oils, and sometimes alcohol. Although these concoctions are not thoroughly researched, many people swear by them.
- Bounce Dryer Sheets — These dryer sheets contain a chemical called linalool and beta-citronellol, which are ingredients sometimes used in mosquito repellents. Linalool is the same compound that makes mosquitoes dislike lavender. Placing dryer sheets under seating in outdoor dining areas, or handing them directly to guests, can help deter mosquitoes for a few hours.
3. Professional Mosquito and Tick Control in NYC
While there’s a lot you can do on your own to control summer mosquitoes and ticks, working with a professional exterminator can save you a lot of time (and bites) while offering a much higher chance of success.
The experience that pest experts bring to the table will cut out the guesswork and help you get straight to the most appropriate solutions for your situation.
At MMPC, we offer a comprehensive and eco-friendly approach to mosquito and tick control. Our summer insect control programs include:
- Identifying and removing breeding areas
- Sealing or covering gaps in windows, doors, and walls
- Exterminating adult mosquitoes using natural, EPA-approved pesticides
- Eliminating larvae and eggs with mosquito pods
MMPC is proudly featured as one of the “Best Exterminators in New York” by New York Magazine for 2021. We have 25+ years of experience providing discreet, customized, eco-safe pest solutions in the Tri-State area.
Our team is geared up for a busy mosquito season. Contact us to inquire about mosquito and tick solutions, request a quote, or schedule a treatment.