How To Get Rid of Mosquitoes Indoors and Out

man stopping mosquito from coming near him

Everyone agrees that mosquito bites are annoying, but they can also be life-threatening, causing disease in you and your pets. But how do you prevent them from getting into and living in your home? And what can you do about your yard? Here’s how to get rid of mosquitoes indoors and out.

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House

worker installing mosquito net screen
Window Screen
Photo Credit: ronstik / Canva Pro / License

Install or Repair of Window Screens and Caulking

It’s simple math. Mosquitoes cannot bite if they cannot get inside your home. The best way to prevent them from entering your home is to install window screens. If you already have screens, fix any holes; use patches available commercially for small holes, and use adhesive glue to fix very fine tears.

Remember the caulking around the window too. Check it for holes or cracks that a mosquito could squeeze through. Replace the caulk if it isn’t in good condition or reseal questionable areas. And don’t forget about your door. Place or replace door sweeps to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.

Use Air Conditioning and Fans

When you use your air conditioner, you close your windows, which can help prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. Air conditioning also takes away the environmental conditions that mosquitoes favor: humidity and warmth.

But if you don’t want to turn your AC on quite yet, consider a fan or fans. Oscillating fans work because mosquitoes cannot fly around in the wind current created by them. Fans also dispel the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans exhale and that mosquitoes use to find their victims.

Employ Essential Oils and Candles

Essential oils and essential oil candles may be effective against mosquitoes. Essential oils can be used in homemade mosquito repellents. Candles are another popular option that can be burned to help prevent mosquito bites

Several essential oils are commonly used as mosquito repellents. Some of these include the following:

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bergamot
  • Citronella
  • Coriander
  • Marigold
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

For store-bought options, check out our list of the best natural mosquito repellents, which includes a product made from essential oils.

Set Traps

A mosquito trap can be as simple as sticky tape and as complicated as gas- or electricity-powered machines. These traps work by using CO2, which female mosquitoes use to find their prey, to draw the insect in and kill it. However, a hefty price difference exists between the sticky tape and the machine.

Use Indoor Sprays, Aerosols, and Foggers

Several products can be used to eliminate mosquitoes indoors, including foggers, sprays, and aerosols. Apply sprays in places where mosquitoes live to kill them when they return to those surfaces, which tend to be cool, dark, humid sites such as in closets and showers, under sinks and counters, and behind or under furniture.

Indoor spraying also includes aerosols and foggers; however, you, your children, and your pets must leave your home until these products dry, and aquariums should be covered. Indoor sprayers use pyrethroids (e.g., permethrin) and organophosphates (e.g., malathion, naled).

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Outside

Mosquito control illustration
infographic by Juan Rodriguez

Some of the same strategies that work indoors may work outdoors too. Fans, traps, essential oils and candles, aerosols, and mosquito foggers work in both places, but the directions or ingredients may differ. Ensure that you’re using your repellent in the correct setting. Once you spray DEET or another mosquito repellent on yourself, you’re ready to go to a DIY battle.

Standing Water

Mosquitos lay around a hundred eggs at a time and can do so in standing water in a container as small as a bottle cap. It makes sense, then, to eliminate these breeding grounds. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Old tires (get rid of or drill holes in them)
  • Rain barrels (cover them or place mesh over them)
  • Boats (clean the boat itself and its drain holes)
  • Tarps, pool covers, and buckets (turn over)
  • Drainage ditches or gutters (unblock)
  • Cups, bowls, or plates left outdoors (pick them up)
  • Bird baths and pet dishes (replace water at least once a week)
  • Tree holes (fill them or use mosquito dunks if they collect water)
  • Planters and flowerpot saucers (clean them out)
  • Septic tank vents and plumbing pipes (clean out and use mesh wire over them)

Larvicides (Dunks)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), larvicides should be used to kill mosquito larvae in stagnant water or in water not used for drinking and that cannot be covered, dumped, or removed. Most larvicides are not harmful to fish, waterfowl, pets, or humans when used correctly. 

Larvicides come in the following forms: 

  • Tablets
  • Liquids
  • Pellets
  • Granules
  • Bits
  • Briquettes

Most homeowner-used larvicides contain either methoprene (e.g., PreStrike) or a toxin produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) (e.g., mosquito dunks, Quick Kill Mosquito Granules). Just follow the directions on the package to reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property.

Mosquito Predators

A mosquito predator is an animal or insect that eats mosquitoes at any point in the mosquito’s life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, and adult). These predators can include the following:

  • Beetles
  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Dragonflies
  • Fish
  • Frogs
  • Spiders
  • Turtles

Encourage their presence – and their willingness to eat mosquitoes – in your yard by doing things that attract these critters, such as putting up bird and bat houses and growing plants that attract them.

Lawn Manicure

Giving your lawn a manicure might help prevent mosquitoes from living there. Mosquitoes like moist, humid environments, and your yard itself can provide plenty of resting sites for adult mosquitoes. 

First, keep your grass trimmed short to prevent mosquitoes from living in it, especially in shady areas such as those near your house. Dethatch your lawn. Also, cut back on dense ornamental plants or groundcovers, or replace them with some less dense native plant species.

Light Mosquito Coils

Mosquito coils protect you against bites through the scents they emit to repel insects. When you burn these coils, they release smoke that repels mosquitoes. Mosquito coils often use pyrethrum, the ground-up flower heads of a member of the aster family that contains the active ingredient in the insecticide pyrethrin. 


A peppermint plant which is used to repel insects
Photo Credit: PxHere / CC0

It’s said that growing plants that repel mosquitoes will keep them away. But it’s not quite that simple; you can’t just plant something and figure it will cut down these pesky bugs. Crushing and burning the leaves of these plants allow the scented oils in them to escape, and that’s what helps repel skeeters.

You can even process the leaves of these plants into essential oils to spray or rub on your skin. Some of the natural mosquito repellents are plants that you can crush or burn to get rid of these pests. These plants include the following. 

  • American pennyroyal
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Citronella grass
  • Garlic
  • Lavender
  • Lemon eucalyptus
  • Lemon balm
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary


CO2 attracts mosquitoes, and humans exhale it. CO2 mosquito traps take advantage of this by emitting CO2, with the idea that these pests are attracted to the trap rather than to you. Some of the traps work by imprisoning mosquitoes on a sticky surface, and others electrocute them. Traps can be expensive and work best when it is not windy.

An ovitrap, or GAT (gravid Aedes trap), can be another option for trapping mosquitoes. It seduces female mosquitoes to lay their eggs on the trap. The Aedes eggs fall into the water in the trap and hatch. But the adults cannot escape from the ovitrap and die. The more ovitraps in a neighborhood, the better the coverage.

DIY mosquito trap options: You don’t have to buy an ovitrap; you can make one yourself. There are simple DIY mosquito traps that homeowners can make for little to no cost. These traps use water, CO2, or a fan to draw in and trap unsuspecting skeeters.


A superfine mesh fabric, mosquito netting creates a physical barrier between mosquitoes and you. It also allows air to flow through it so that you remain comfortable while you relax or sleep. The netting is hung over beds or cribs or placed over strollers or around patio areas to keep mosquitoes out.

Beware, though. Mosquitoes are wicked-tricky about getting through exceedingly small breaks, so ensure that the netting doesn’t have holes and is properly secured everywhere to prevent gaps. Several types of mosquito nets exist, including the following:

  • Self-supporting, which, as the name suggests, stands on its own
  • Pop-up, which, well, just pops up when taken out of its bag
  • Wedge, which looks like a door prop but allows more space over your head
  • Ridge, which props up over your head and feet and gives you more room to move (also works well for strollers)
  • Bell, which forms a bell-like canopy over your bed
  • Box, which attaches to the ceiling over your bed and mimics its rectangular shape

Outdoor Mosquito Sprays

You’d think about spraying your grass to kill mosquitoes, but that’s not where the adults rest. For example, they like the underside of leaves and decks, as well as puddles. So, to control mosquitoes in their resting sites, you’ll need to use a mosquito yard spray (insecticide or essential-oil based) deep into the foliage, where these pests do rest. 

Here’s how it works:

  • When spray hits resting mosquitoes, they die right then and there.
  • Then the spray on treated foliage keeps mosquitoes from resting there.

Mosquito sprays work well for a short time – sometimes a month or a day or two – but there are also reasons not to spray for mosquitoes. Critics say sprays kill the “good” bugs, such as pollinators and mosquito predators, along with the mosquitoes. 

That’s why you shouldn’t spray pesticide on flowering plants, food-producing plants, furniture, toys, places where your pets rest, and water features, to name a few.

Sprays also cease working if sprayed while windy because the drops will be blown away, so use them only when the weather’s calm. Spray only in the early evening since pollinators are not generally active then, and dusk is a time when mosquitoes are most active. Four types of sprayers can be used:

  • Concentrates: Concentrated insecticides can be applied with standard hand pumps and hose-end sprayers after they are diluted with water.
  • Aerosol sprays: Aerosols are suitable for treatment in small areas where mosquitoes rest, like under decks or around patios.
  • Aerosol foggers: Foggers more or less work the same as aerosol sprays but are for large mosquito populations and larger areas of treatment.
  • Mist blowers: Mosquito misting systems, which are expensive, are composed of a timer connected to a series of nozzles that disperse a mist of insecticide.

The Dangers of Mosquitoes

Photo Credit: dimid_86 / Canva Pro / License

Mosquito bites are bothersome and itchy, no doubt about it. Most people treat mosquito bites with over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream, and that’s that. But some bites are more dangerous to you and even your pets. In humans, they can cause several viral diseases, including the following:

  • Cache Valley
  • Chikungunya
  • Dengue
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • Jamestown Canyon
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • La Crosse encephalitis
  • Rift Valley fever
  • Ross River virus disease
  • St. Louis encephalitis
  • West Nile
  • Yellow fever
  • Zika virus infection

The following parasitic diseases can also occur in humans via a mosquito bite:

  • Dirofilariasis (dog heartworm)
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Malaria

Mosquitoes also bite your pets and cause serious conditions, including heartworms and allergic reactions in cats, as well as heartworms, West Nile virus, and encephalitis in dogs.

Pro Tip: Use one of the best dog mosquito repellents to protect your canine friends from heartworm and other mosquito-borne diseases.


What Doesn’t Work on Mosquitoes?

The so-called bug zappers don’t work for mosquito control. Well, they do, kind of. Biting insects accounted for less than a fourth of 1% of the bugs killed in zappers. Most of the rest of the insects were beneficial (e.g., pollinators). The high-frequency (ultrasonic) mosquito repellers aren’t effective either.

Plants don’t work unless you crush or burn the leaves (i.e., in a fire pit). And devices that emit chemical repellents are less effective when the wind blows.

Where Do Mosquitoes Live?

When it comes to your home, mosquitoes live near, by, and inside it. Your home may be near woods or forests, and mosquitoes hang around its knot holes, ponds, hollow logs, and tall grass.

By your home, habitats include the undersides of leaves and any place close that has a standing or slow-moving body of water, such as gutters, bird baths, pool covers, toys, and garbage such as tin cans and bottle caps. Inside your home, mosquitoes prefer to rest in flowerpots, under sinks, in showers, in the closet, and down in the basement.

Do Mosquitoes Die in the Winter?

Some, but not all, mosquitoes die in winter. Once the temperature lowers to below 50 degrees F, female mosquitoes can’t function. They disappear and go into a sort of hibernation, or dormancy, during which they aren’t affected by the cold. Male mosquitoes die after mating is complete and before the fall.

Call the Professionals

By all means, wage a war against the mosquitoes in your home or yard. But think of all the time and effort you’d save – and the relaxation time you’d gain – by calling the pros and letting them do the work. Pest Gnome connects you to the best pest control experts in your area.

Main Photo Credit: Artsanova / Canva Pro / License

Pat Joiner

Pat Joiner has been working with words for 35+ years. In fact, playing with words is her greatest passion. Pat despises the bugs that pester her when she spends time outdoors gardening and enjoying her patio. She lives in her little condo and has two adorable cats named Mona and da Vinci.