Mosquitoes are running rampant this time of year — a fact the 7 First Alert Meteorologists can link to our recent spat of rain: 116 days and counting as of mid-June for 2019 alone.
It's a serious issue given that West Nile has been found in our area again this year. Getting rid of mosquitoes sounds great, but there’s a question about how you do it: with chemicals, or without?
The folks over at Friends of the Rouge River say skipping chemicals will benefit everyone in the long-run.
“We’re all part of this closed-loop system, right?” said Marie McCormick. “So, anything we do to ourselves, and our land, will eventually affect us in some way?”
McCormick, and her groups, have a main concern for our local watersheds — pesticides and chemicals sprayed on yards leeches into the ground, and eventually into nearby rivers and streams.
That’s why members like Cindy Ross have found alternatives — she turned her entire backyard into a native species haven that attracts all sort of insects, and when mosquitoes come they often find predators, like dragonflies.
“They can eat 2-3,000 mosquitoes a day, so that’s my natural mosquito repellent,” said Ross. “Any pests that they might get, other native plants attract that beneficial insect that deal with them naturally.”
McCormick said highly aromatic plants are natural deterrents, too: basil, thyme lemon grass and lavender are all plants that tend to fend off mosquitoes.
Removing standing water from your yard, or things that’ll allow for it helps, too. Old tires, unused planters, buckets, sandboxes and kids toys are all things to keep an eye on.
Citronella candles are a go-to for some, but McCormick said a well-placed bat box — natural predators of mosquitoes — can help too.
For Ross, the goal is to plant things that are naturally occurring to make sure she’s not straying from plants that are meant to be found in our area. It also ensures they’re ready to thrive in your yard.
You can find more information about native species to Michigan here. Or if you’re interested in what type of plants are most likely to attract butterflies and dragonflies, you can read a how-to attract guide online at HGTV.