Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden


Dealing with mosquitoes might feel like an inevitable part of summer, but there are many ways to minimize their presence in your garden. These 14 tips can help keep mosquitoes at bay for better quality time outdoors.


Mosquitoes have ruined many an outdoor evening. Nothing stops you from enjoying the outdoors faster than dealing with constant buzzing and insect bites. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to combat mosquitoes so you can get these pests under control.

14 Methods to Control Mosquitoes in the Garden

Follow these steps to make your garden space as pest-free as possible this summer and beyond.

1. Get Rid of Standing Water

One of the best ways to eliminate mosquitoes from your garden is to get rid of what attracts them in the first place: standing water. Ponds, puddles, birdbaths, clogged gutters, and more all offer a mosquito breeding ground that can exponentially boost your garden’s pest population.

Remove sources of stagnant water like buckets filled with rain or overturned children’s toys, and regularly refill birdbaths and pet dishes to ensure water doesn’t sit still too long.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden

If the yard tends to stay wet, consider installing a French drain. As a slightly sloped trench filled with gravel, it will collect water and redirect it away from the house or garden.

2. Aerate Your Pond

Mosquitoes love to breed around ponds, especially when they have plenty of algae on the surface that provides food for larva. Add an aerator to your water source and plant oxygenating plants to prevent the water from stagnating.

Another option? Add fish to the pond. Most will happily feast on any mosquito larva that appear.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
3. Use an Outdoor Mosquito Repellent

If you plan to spend an evening in the garden, it’s a good idea to layer on some insect repellent first. High concentration DEET sprays tend to be the most effective, although there are some questions about their safety. Consider spraying DEET on clothing instead of directly on the skin, or experiment with sprays made with natural plant compounds like neem oil instead.

It’s also possible to buy outdoor clothing with fabric that contains insect repellent. Most will last through several wash cycles.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
4. Pay Attention to Potted Plants

Potted plants on your deck or patio can be a sneaky breeding ground for bugs because they can trap water in hidden spaces. Monitor pots regularly and tip out any water that collects on the surface. It’s also wise to install drainage holes in planter boxes, so water doesn’t collect inside.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
5. Try a Bt Doughnut

There are many spaces in the garden where water is an asset, including fountains, birdbaths, and ponds. Prevent insect infestation with a Bt doughnut. Each contains Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural insecticide that won’t harm fish or birds.

6. Install Insect-Repelling Lights

While most people associate lights with attracting bugs, certain ones can deter mosquitoes. Consider installing sodium lamps, LEDs, or yellow bug lights over your outdoor seating area to keep them away.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
7. Light Citronella Candles

This option is a classic for a reason — it really works! Citronella candles will keep mosquitoes away, but they only tend to work over small areas, so consider buying several to cover a large garden space.

For extra benefits, store unlit citronella candles in garden sheds to keep insects from moving in.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
8. Use a Porch Fan

It sounds almost too easy, but using a fan outdoors can keep bugs far away from your friendly gathering. Mosquitoes and flies struggle to fly against the wind, so turning on a rotating fan can keep them out of your way.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
9. Burn Herbs and Coffee Grounds

If you don’t have citronella candles on hand, some used coffee grounds can deter bugs in a pinch. Dry the grounds and burn them in a fire-safe container to create a pungent smoke that’s sure to keep mosquitoes away. Burning sage or rosemary can have similar effects.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
10. Try a Bug Zapper

If you’re looking to remove mosquitoes permanently, consider investing in a bug zapper. They work by electrocuting insects that venture too close to your space. However, they tend to be ineffective for making a significant dent in the population, and they will kill plenty of harmless (even beneficial) insects, too.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
11. Keep Your Yard Tidy

Mosquitoes love cool, damp, and dark spaces to rest and lay their eggs. Prevent a population boom by keeping your yard well-manicured. Short grass and sunny spaces will keep mosquitoes searching for better breeding sites.

12. Utilize Mosquito-Repelling Plants

Make your garden work for you in the quest to combat mosquitoes by planting varieties that naturally deter them. Options abound for mosquito-repelling plants, although there’s minimal research available to prove they actually work. Thus, you may need to experiment with several to see what works for you.

Popular choices include lemon balm, mint, marigolds, basil, chrysanthemums, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, lemongrass, catnip, rosemary, peppermint, sage, and more. Get them as essential oils, and you can also use these plants to keep mosquitoes off your skin.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden

Another strategy is spreading cedar mulch throughout the garden. It offers double benefits by deterring mosquitoes with its scent and soaking up excess moisture in the soil.

13. Attract Natural Predators

If you want a natural, nearly effortless way to control insects outdoors, consider attracting their biggest fans: bats and birds. Installing a simple bat house can ensure that hundreds of mosquitoes are eaten from around your home every night.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
14. Hire a Professional

When all else fails, you may need to bring in an exterminator to control mosquitoes. They can suggest nontoxic treatments to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, and other unwanted insects in ways that won’t harm your family or surrounding wildlife.

Best Ways to Control Mosquitoes in Your Garden
Spend More Time Outdoors by Controlling Mosquitoes in the Garden

It’s never fun to deal with mosquitoes in the garden. But by following these tips, you can keep your yard as pest-free as possible for all who spend time in it.