Mosquito Control in Your Yard: 21 Unexpected Sources of Water Around Your Home

Mosquito control illustration

As the weather starts to warm up, it’s time to look out for potential mosquito breeding sites around your home. Eliminating sources of standing water is crucial in controlling mosquito populations and preventing the spread of diseases. Here are 21 unexpected sources of water that you may find around your home.

Unexpected Water Sources for Breeding Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes can breed in various areas around your home and need only about a bottle cap of water to lay eggs. It’s best to find and eliminate as many of these breeding sites as possible to control the mosquito population in your area. Unexpected sources of standing water include:

birdbath with rain drops
Photo Credit: PamSchodt / Canva Pro / License
  1. Bird baths: Changing the water at least once a week is recommended.
  2. Flower pots: Empty and wipe down saucers under flower pots if the water has been there for over a few days. Store unused pots, saucers, or buckets upside down.
  3. Bromeliad flowers: To remove mosquito larvae, flush out any water that collects between the leaves.
  4. Kiddie and unused pools: Empty small wading pools after use and store them upside down. Drain unused, or “green,” swimming pools to prevent breeding in untreated, unfiltered water.
  5. Rain gutters and drains: Clean your gutters regularly and safely to prevent clogs leading to standing water. Also, regularly flush downspouts, extenders, and French drains to prevent debris buildup.
  6. Pool covers: Keep the covers free of debris to prevent them from sinking and allowing water to puddle on the surface.
  7. Wheelbarrows: Store your wheelbarrows and carts upside down when not in use.
  8. Tree holes: Fill tree holes with water-absorbing polymer crystals or expanding foam to prevent standing water, or use mosquito dunks to kill larvae.
  9. Refuse containers: Garbage cans and recycling bins should have tight-fitting lids and holes drilled in the bottoms for drainage.
  10. Septic Systems: Ensure that you regularly check septic tanks for missing screens, covers, cracks in the blocks, and any other issues.
  11. Pet dishes: Empty and clean pet food and water bowls at least once weekly.
  12. Outdoor Covers: To prevent water accumulation, tarps and grill covers must be taut and secure.
  13. Outdoor toys: Store toys in a dry place when not in use. Make sure the toys are free of water before storing them. Check basketball hoop bases to ensure they are sealed, and empty any toys left out in the rain.
  14. Tire swings: Drill drainage holes if you have a tire swing in your yard to prevent water from accumulating inside.
  15. Ventilation systems: Cover ventilation pipes or vents with mosquito-proof screens. Regularly empty and clean air conditioner drip pans to deter mosquitoes.
  16. Rain barrels: Use larvicides with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a bacterium that kills larvae, and securely cover openings with a fine 1/16-inch mesh screen to keep mosquitoes out of rain barrels.
  17. Sump pumps: It is important to check pump pits for standing water and debris. Cover the openings with fine mesh screens to prevent unwanted debris from entering.
  18. Uneven lawns: Fill in low spots to level your yard and avoid puddles.
  19. Water features: Keep fountains and water features clean and debris-free. Add a larvicide, like mosquito dunks, to prevent mosquitoes from developing.
  20. Fish ponds: Homeowners with koi ponds or fish tanks can add goldfish or mosquitofish to eat developing mosquitoes. Alternatively, they can use larvicides, many of which are fish-friendly options.
  21. Debris piles: Get rid of clutter, such as old tires, refuse, and furniture, or hire a junk removal service to clear your landscape of debris.
water tray in a garden
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Protect Yourself and Your Pets from Mosquitoes Bites

After removing breeding sites, taking necessary precautions to protect yourself and your furry friends from mosquito-borne diseases, like West Nile and Zika, is vital. Mosquitoes are attracted to various stimuli, including scent, body heat, and the color of your clothing. The tips below will help you control and prevent mosquito bites.

Avoid Peak Hours

Twilight, or dusk and dawn, is when mosquitoes are most active. To avoid bites, follow these steps:

  • Stay indoors or within a screened-in area with your pets during these times.
  • Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and light-colored clothing that covers your skin when outside. Mosquitoes can bite through clothes.
  • Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin to prevent bites. Use mosquito repellents with the active ingredients DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.
  • Use pet-safe insect repellents such as mosquito-repelling collars, sprays, or topical treatments while out with your dog. Don’t forget to protect your feline friends as well.

Take Preventative Steps

worker installing mosquito net screen
Worker installing Window Screen
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Take additional precautions to prevent mosquito bites after you remove breeding sites:

  • Create a physical barrier by using mosquito nets. Hang them around sleeping areas or screen in a space on your patio. Use the netting as effective mosquito control while camping, especially near bodies of water. 
  • Mosquito traps attract and capture mosquitoes by using heat or carbon dioxide to attract them. Traps are available at garden supply stores, or create simple DIY mosquito traps on your own. 

Note: Mosquitoes are not attracted to light, so bug zappers won’t help with mosquitoes.

  • Install screens on windows and doors and ensure they are free from holes or tears.
  • Treat your landscape with an insecticide like a mosquito yard spray or fogger, or contact a professional mosquito control company to treat infestations.
  • Maintain your lawn care, as tall grass and overgrown vegetation are a favorite habitat for mosquitoes. Keep grass and shrubs trimmed to deter mosquitoes.

Treat Mosquito Bites

hand with a mosquito bite
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When it comes to treating mosquito bites, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following steps:

  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and itching.
  • Create a paste by mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water, and apply it to the affected area to ease itching.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamine cream to soothe discomfort.
  • Check with your vet to ensure that your pets are up-to-date on heartworm prevention measures and regularly tested. Mosquito bites in dogs are a significant risk factor for this disease.

FAQ About Mosquitoes

Does the City Control Mosquitoes?

Yes, mosquito control is handled by the local government and its public health agency in many cities. These agencies monitor and control the mosquito population in their respective areas.

Can a Mosquito Bite You More Than Once?

Yes. The number of times a mosquito can bite you is limited by how much blood she can hold. The life cycle of female mosquitoes requires that they drink blood to lay their eggs. It varies by the species of mosquitoes, but on average, they weigh about 2 milligrams and can drink up to three times their weight in blood.

How Do Mosquito Yard Sprays Work?

Mosquito yard sprays kill mosquitoes and create a barrier around the treated area to prevent new adult mosquitoes from entering. The mosquito spray can be applied by a pest control professional or used at home. To ensure safe and effective use, carefully read and follow all instructions on bug sprays, as pesticides can harm beneficial insects.

When to Call a Pro

To prevent mosquitoes from developing in unexpected places around your house, know how to get rid of any potential breeding grounds. If you require professional treatment for a mosquito problem, Pest Gnome can connect you with the best exterminators in your neighborhood.

Main Image Credit: Juan Rodriguez

Raven Wisdom

Raven Wisdom is a writer with a passion for pest control, gardening, sustainable living, and making a positive impact in the world. When she's not defending her garden from critters in the wilds of West Texas, Raven can be found writing, wrangling two kids in a neurodivergent family, and supporting her local animal rescues.