Avoiding Mosquitoes While Protecting Birds and Bees


M Peffers

I hate mosquitoes! I always get requests at this time of year for how to deal with mosquitoes without poisoning ourselves, our families, our pets, and our vegetable gardens. And, think of the bees and monarch butterflies!

Avoiding mosquito bites is for our comfort and enjoyment of the outdoors, as well as for health reasons. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, says mosquitoes are increasingly a vector for diseases that are moving north into this region with warming climates. The CDC has the most updated advice for protecting yourself on the CDC website. And, CDC is clear that the first and most effective line of defense is prevention. Make sure that windows and doors are screened to keep out mosquitoes, eliminate all standing water that could provide mosquito breeding grounds, and, of course, use mosquito repellent. Consumer Reports offers insect repellent ratings; I use a lemon eucalyptus one that works well and smells nice.

Apply the repellent to clothing instead of skin where possible, and use a liquid instead of an aerosol to avoid inhaling it. I find that putting it in my hair is especially helpful for repelling mosquitoes from my face, while avoiding direct applications to my skin.

Fumigating our property and our neighborhood poisons our vegetable gardens, outdoor furniture and play structures, and kills all the beneficial insects like bee pollinators and butterflies and the birds that eat them. Any insecticide that kills mosquitoes will kill all the other insects too. And, none of them are safe for people. If you are still compelled to fumigate, use this Beyond Pesticides website to find one in your area that uses the least toxic methods possible, and tell them that is why you are hiring them, so please don’t poison you or your family.

Thinking about the birds and the bees—including pregnant women and children—can keep us all safe while we enjoy our outdoor spaces.

More on my previous blog here.