mosquitoIf you thought things couldn’t get any more uncomfortable in this muggy weather, think again. Mosquitoes are about to descend on the Valley. Actually, they’re going to be rising up in swarms from the pools of stagnant water that the monsoons bring.


I recently spoke to Dr. Kirk Smith, an entomologist at the University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center, where they do a lot of research on insects. I found out that if you’re bitten by a mosquito, you might get more than a red, itchy spot. Smith said mosquitoes can carry disease like encephalitis, dengue fever (both are prevalent in Arizona), yellow fever and even malaria. They can also transmit heartworm to dogs and cats.


There are some simple steps you can take to prevent mosquito infestations around your home, office and schools.


  • Change stagnant water in pet dishes, birdbaths and kiddie pools often.
  • Make sure your potted plants have good drainage.
  • Remove anything in your yard that has the potential to collect water.


There are also organic ways to control mosquitoes. I’ve had success with the following:


  • To trap mosquitoes, sprinkle instant coffee or mineral water on standing water.
  • Blend 1-1/2 cups basil leaves with 1 quart water; strain into a spray bottle and mist the affected area.
  • Mix finely crushed garlic with water; strain into a spray bottle and mist the affected area.


Some plants will repel mosquitoes. Try planting these in your yard:


  • Artemesia
  • Bachelor’s Button
  • Basil


There is one tool out there that gets rid of bugs that I think is a bad idea. Electric bug zappers sizzle critters to a crisp and usually kill more good bugs than bad ones. (You know how much I love beneficial insects.)


The heat and humidity are bad enough without adding bug attacks to the mix. Use natural and organic methods of pest control whenever you can and your efforts will go a long way toward making your summer more bearable.


For more information about bugs, visit

Dave Owens the Garden Guy
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