Mosquito control: What's worth spending money on, what's not

This time of year, mosquitos can really ruin outdoor gatherings and the cost to remove them can be expensive.
Posted at 6:58 AM, Jun 12, 2023

Hundreds of products and services claim to keep mosquitoes away from your home. But what actually works?

While some simple solutions, like sprays and candles, may have some effect, if the problem is bad, you may want to turn to a professional like Debbie Meyer.

She offers hope to desperate homeowners like Luke Stokebrand.

"We like to sit outside," he said, "but usually about 7 o'clock, we'd have to go in because we were chewed up by mosquitoes."

So he called the local franchise of Mosquito Joe, and Meyer's crew got to work to make his yard usable again.

"We not only kill mosquitoes but will get rid of ticks and fleas as well," Meyer said.

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Kevin Brasler of Consumers' Checkbook says hiring help to knock down the mosquito population is generally very effective.

But he warns it's not a one-and-done treatment.

He says treatments range from about $50 to $150 for smaller yards every three weeks. Plan on $75 to $200 per treatment for a larger yard.

But he cautions you not to start too early.

"One thing to do is try to keep the window, where they're spraying, to a minimum," he said. "They start spraying in April and May in some communities and they don't really need to start that early."

What works, what may be a waste of dollars

Brasler says using sprays and citronella candles on days with little wind is OK. They will keep mosquitoes away from your outdoor table and chairs for a few hours. When it comes to other products, though, he says many are a case of don't waste your money.

"They promise to use sounds or use wristbands and other types of approaches," he said, "and by and large, those things just don't work."

Instead, he suggests you:

- Drain standing water from buckets, pools or bird baths where mosquitoes lay eggs.

- Clean your gutters, another egg-laying zone.

- Maintain window screens and doors, repairing holes when you find them.

- Stay inside in the early morning and evening, when mosquitoes are most active.

If mosquitoes are still out of control, call a pro like Meyer of Mosquito Joe.

"Once we come by and treat, we get wonderful feedback," she said. "People can sit out and enjoy their yard that they've invested so much money in."