A front porch is like a warm embrace inviting visitors into the heart of the home. It is where we share a balmy evening dinner with friends, where a porch swing beckons a first kiss, or where a boy might share his sad day with a puppy. However, the peace is shattered when we hear that familiar high-pitched buzz of persistent mosquitoes. We’ve spent so much effort adorning our lovely open porches and when we refuse the eye-sore of permanent screening, we ask, “What else can we do to protect ourselves from the nasty blood suckers that hunt us?
A temperate winter has not produced the sustained cold that seasonally reduces mosquito populations. This year might prove to be a very bad year for these disease carrying micro-monsters. Mosquito control has become big business offering products with varying degrees of effectiveness. People will try just about anything short of napalm for relief and we would like to share a few alternatives you can use to protect your family.
Nothing is more effective than a physical barrier to separate you from mosquitoes. Mosquito curtains are a removable and washable alternative to permanent screening. Originally designed for upscale homes, they are elegant and attractive, yet are much more affordable than traditional screening.
Mosquito Curtains are offered in various colors such as White, Ivory, and Black as well as a “no-see-um” mesh for coastal sand flies. A typical 40ft. porch cost $720 and may be hung using a variety of attachment methods including curtain tracking similar to what is used for hospital privacy curtains.
Our favorite home-made remedy is a very simple and inexpensive “plate trap.” Fill a white dinner plate with water and a few drops of lemon scented dishwashing soap. Set a few traps outside and count your dead. The mosquitoes are attracted to both the white color and lemon scent. As they land to lay their eggs they get stuck in the soapy emulsion and cannot escape. In an informal field test, five of these plate traps killed as many mosquitoes as an expensive one-acre propane trap for a fraction of a penny.
Propane traps kill mosquitoes. However, at an initial price tag of $400 and $30 per month for propane and lure replacements, they can be costly and a hassle to operate. Often they attract mosquitoes from a broader area than you wish to control. And while your neighbors will appreciate your good deeds, mosquito populations may not be reduced as quickly as you might hope.
MOSQUITO MISTING SYSTEMS
Mosquito misting systems are certainly the new rage among upscale homes that can afford the relatively high installation and maintenance cost. A word of caution though as some manufacturers have come under scrutiny for misleading advertising claiming that the chemicals are completely safe. While the headline insecticide may be harmless, it is sometimes supplemented with dangerous ingredients. One need only read the WARNING label to assess the dangers of this system.