This is the first summer in a long time that the dogs and I won’t have a yard to play in.
I am loving apartment living with dogs and all the spare time that comes with not having a house and yard to maintain. Still, summer is coming. The dogs and I love to spend time outdoors. Whether we’re curled up and reading a book or growing dog friendly herbs and veggies, we need the perfect space to do those things. That’s why I’m on a quest to create a fabulous dog friendly deck and container garden oasis that me and the dogs will love.
The only problem? My deck has mosquitos.
The first time I shooed away one of the little blood-sucking demons, I was almost in shock. I mean, we’re on the third floor! What the woof are mosquitos doing all the way up here?! Turns out that since my deck is right under a security light and these airborne vampires are drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew that before I did anything out on our deck, I needed to address the mosquito issue. Not only are mosquitos a nuisance, but their bites itch and they carry some scary diseases and parasites, like heartworm.
Natural, dog safe mosquito control
We don’t use a lot of chemicals here at Casa de Kolchak and I have a gross DEET allergy that makes commercial bug products a no go, so I started looking for some great, natural, dog safe mosquito control ideas.
1. Remove standing water – First and foremost, remove any standing water from your deck or yard. Stagnant water is ground 0 for mosquitos to have their blood sucking little babies. Change out the water in bird baths every few days and make sure fountains have a strong enough flow to discourage mosquitos from laying eggs on the water.
2. Plant Dog Safe Mosquito Repellent Plants
There are a ton of plants that are believed to be natural mosquito repellants, but not all of them are dog friendly. For example, the citronella plant, which is a common choice, can actually cause skin irritation, lethargy, diarrhea and loss of appetite. Other popular mosquito repellent plants, like pennyroyal, eucalyptus, geranium, wormwood, and tansy all pose a risk to pets. If you have a dog that loves to chew on plants, make sure anything you plant on your dog friendly deck is safe.
Some better choices are:
- Lemongrass – This plant has a yummy lemon scent that humans love and mosquitos hate. You can grow it from seed, but it’s actually super easy to grow using the stuff you buy at the grocery store. Just bring it home, trim off the tops and remove any dead leaves, then place it in a glass of water. In a few weeks, you should have enough roots to plant it outdoors in a sunny spot.
- Catnip – Some studies have suggested that catnip could be 10x more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitos, but the scent isn’t for everyone. If you can stand it, it makes a great addition to a mosquito repellent garden.
- Lavendar – Ok, you guys, confession time: I hate lavendar, but I know tons of other people love it. If this one is up your alley, have at it.
- Sage – I love the scent of sage after a summer rain! This versatile herb smells great, tastes great and is a fab mosquito repellent. You can also toss it onto the BBQ or over a flame to create a mosquito repellent smoke.
- Rosemary – This is another great smelling herb that can be planted, eaten and tossed on the BBQ. (Just be careful if your dog is prone to seizures, then rosemary might not be a good choice.)
- Mint – Many species of mint are totally dog safe and their bold scent helps keep bugs at bay.
3. Get a Fan
Now, it may seem totally wasteful to run a fan on your deck, but there’s something about a nice breeze that keeps the mosquitos at bay!
Supercharge any 20″ box fan using a “mosquito net” like a Skeeterbag. This handy fabric is meant to go over your fan to create a “trap” for mosquitos. It’s kind of gross whrn the bag is all full o’ blood sucking vampire bugs, but it does work.
4. Buy or Build a Mosquito Trap
Depending on where you live, you might be able to trap the mosquitos in a simple trap. The reviews on this solution are super mixed. Some people swear by it, some people are convinced it doesn’t work. I’ve never had much luck with it at home, but when I go to Prairies, it works like a charm.
5. Natural bug sprays
There are a ton of great , natural buy repellent sprays out there. I spritz the dogs and I with it, but I also spray our patio chairs, umbrellas and any other surface that will hold onto the scent. (We’ll talk more about our bug repellent, why we chose it and how well it works in a week or two – we have a whole bug post planned!)
Are mosquitos a problem where you live?
How do you keep them at bay without using toxic chemicals? Do you have any tricks we need to try?