Vermont Garden Journal: Mosquitoes

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Charlie will be doing a live Q&A on Facebook June 21st from 4 until 5pm!

With record rainfalls, you can expect a record number of mosquitoes this
year. This week, Charlie Nardozzi debunks mosquito myths and shares
some advice for coping with mosquitoes without harming the environment.

I’m Charlie Nardozzi and this is the
Vermont Garden Journal. The only critters that loved the flooding this spring
were some fish species and mosquitos. In fact, it’s gearing up to be a doozy of
a mosquito season.

While the mosquito season has been
delayed because of high lake and stream levels, once the waters recede, the
warm, stagnant pools left behind will be a perfect mosquito breeding ground. It
won’t take long for the mosquitoes to start ruining your summer picnics. They
can go from egg to adult in about a week under the right conditions. Plus,
there have been reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus disease in
Vermont. It’s enough to make a gardener want to build a greenhouse.

So how can you enjoy your gardens
without becoming lunch? First, drain or remove any standing water in your yard.
This could be in small buckets, old tires, or rain gutters. Every little bit
helps reduce the breeding area. Consider using Bacillus thuriengensis
mosquito dunks in water gardens and pools. This bacteria kills mosquito larvae
before it becomes an adult and is safe for the environment.

To control adult mosquitoes, use
carbon dioxide emitting traps that lure them in to be killed. Avoid those bug
zappers, though, since they kill more beneficial insects than mosquitoes. Burn
citronella candles in areas you’ll be working. Wear a hat, dark clothes and no
perfumes or scented deodorants. Mosquitoes love those. Don’t bother with
mosquito repelling plants such as citronella geraniums. They only work if you
rub the leaves on your skin. Speaking of which, some people have had success
rubbing garlic; clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon oil; or Skin so Soft lotion on
their skin. Visit (our) the Vermont Garden Journal Facebook page and let us
know what mosquito repellents you’ve found effective.

Now for this week’s tip, it’s time
to spray beneficial nematodes on lawns to kill the grubs that will later turn
into Japanese and other beetles. Spray in the early evening and water the
nematodes in well.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I’ll be talking about peonies. For now, I’ll be
seeing you in the garden!



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