I live in Arlington, Virginia, and the mosquitoes around my home have been known to drive me to weed my garden in the heat of summer with long sleeves, long pants, and a head covering. I look ridiculous and am extremely uncomfortable. This year, I’m trying something different to keep the bugs away. The Mosquito Squad will be coming to my yard and trying to work their magic of repelling the bugs. The jury is still out on whether they’ll be successful, but a week and a half after their first treatment – a period filled with lots of spring showers – my kids are running around in the backyard without mosquito repellant being sprayed on them. Most importantly, they’re coming back inside at the end of the evening without complaining about endless bug bites. Last night, I sat in my yard with shorts on and plucked lettuce from my garden and came in with zero bites. I like this!
The Mosquito Squad has two types of spray – the “natural spray option” and the “standard spray.” Although the Mosquito Squad has been perfectly clear that they do not expect the natural spray option to be as effective as the standard spray (65% effective versus 90% effective), I’m using that for a few reasons. Mainly, I’m trying to walk with a light footprint, so choosing the least powerful treatment to start with seems appropriate. The natural spray option works to repel mosquitoes and must be applied every two weeks. The standard spray works by killing the mosquitoes, and leaving behind a residue that will kill new mosquitoes that come in the yard. It gets reapplied every three weeks.
What I can say this far is that my yard is usable! And it’s being used all day and into the evening – whenever my kids are around to kick balls, play in the sandbox, and swing on the swings.
For reference, this will be the third summer in our current home, and the last two summers have been filled with mosquito abatement measures. The first year, we removed many over-grown plants and vines that had the effect of making the air in our backyard very still. Breezes couldn’t get through easily, so mosquitoes could thrive. We consulted several landscapers before taking this project on, and they all said we needed to improve air flow. Things did improve, but we were still fighting the critters!
Last summer, we removed loads of wooden boardwalks from around our home in order to get rid of mosquito breeding ground. Then, we had Sun Design install a screened-in-porch so that if we couldn’t reclaim our yard, at least we could enjoy dinner mostly outside. This, for the record, is a pretty expensive way to avoid mosquitoes, but also very effective – at least behind the screen. But still, the yard could be miserable.
This summer, I’m crossing my fingers that we have finally sealed the deal on getting rid of enough mosquitoes to make our yard the lovely place we always dreamed of. Cross your fingers – and I’ll write more in a few weeks to see if the good luck continues, or if the last two mosquito-free weeks were a fluke.
Elaine blogs about the fun her children have outside at Connor and Helen Grow Up! With less time spent smacking mosquitoes, she’s hoping to work on her photography – and enjoy more mojitos! The Mosquito Squad is treating Elaine’s yard for free in May and June this summer. No additional compensation is being paid, and all opinions are my own. I was extremely skeptical about this method of getting rid of mosquitoes, but now I’m a believer! Come on over for a BBQ and see for yourself!