Q I have a pool, but with all the mosquitoes, no one is enjoying it. The grandkids even refuse to go out there! The kids are driving us crazy inside the house! Can you help us? There is a 20-foot buffer area behind our house that is like a jungle, so I'm sure many of the mosquitoes are coming from there.
A: It is hard to believe that I have been writing this column for almost 20 years. When I first started, I would hand-deliver the column that was handwritten. Fax machines were new and I did not really trust them! Now the column is typed and e-mailed, less personal but gets the job done.
Anyway, back to the mosquitoes.
First, I'm going to give you a shopping list. Pick up these items, then wage war on the mosquitoes and their breeding places in your yard. Liquid Net (the Ultimate Insect Repellent by The Liquid Fence Co.), Cyonara Lawn and Garden, Mosquito Repelling Granules, Mosquito Dunks, and Altosid Pro G are some of the basic weapons that you will need to wage war against these bloodsuckers.
Apply the Liquid Net to yourself. This product is organic and does an unbelievable job against mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, ticks and other biting insects. Liquid Net is nongreasy, DEET-free and safe for the whole family. It also has a 100 percent guarantee from the manufacturer.
Last year, I had one of my customers from Possum's wanting to travel around to the various ball field complexes and sell this stuff because it worked so well, was organic and would not harm her small children. Now you are ready for the yard.
Scout around the yard for anything that holds water. Old tires, saucers under potted plants, bird baths, old flower containers or pots stacked in a corner, dog toys, kids toys, a container by the grill you use to soak wood chips in, a cooler, an old fountain, a hole in a tree and a dog's water bowl all make great places for mosquitoes to breed. Empty the water from these areas (refill the dog bowl and the bird bath daily). Many mosquitoes can breed in just an ounce of water.
If you have bigger areas of water, such as a ditch or a low area of the yard that holds water, apply the Mosquito Dunks or the Altosid Pro G. The Mosquito Dunks are an organic Bt product that kill larvae and the Altosid Pro G is a growth regulator product that contains the same active ingredient that is used in the Precor products for controlling fleas. Although Altosid is not organic, it is considered to be very safe and labeled to be used in very sensitive areas such as marshes. Turn off your irrigation when you can and correct any ongoing drainage problems.
Any pruning you can do to increase air movement and sunlight penetration will also help. Mosquitoes like moist, stagnant areas. If you can find out who has jurisdiction over the buffer area behind your house, you can determine what you can or cannot do back there.
Mosquitoes are a public health issue, so if the buffer area is not being maintained, you might be able to get some help from a government agency. A few empty beer cans can end up being home to thousands of mosquitoes! You also want to find out if you can put control products out in this area to help relieve the insect pressure around your pool.
Next, you want to mow your lawn, then spray the lawn, shrubs, trees, and mulched areas with Cyonara Lawn and Garden. This product not only kills mosquitoes but also kills chiggers, fleas, ants, ticks, spittlebugs and roaches, just to name a few other problem insects out right now.
Twelve hours before the next visit from the grandkids, apply Mosquito Repelling Granules. Check the weather (I know it is hard to do around here) because this product likes to be dry for 48 hours after application. This organic product really does a great job. It is
university-tested and has also proven itself in the Lowcountry.
Many of our customers at Possum's have reported control for more than three weeks! We sell it to people putting on large fundraisers, other outdoor festivals, sporting events, as well as to individuals, and we always get positive feedback.
If this sounds like too much work, hire a professional.
Always read and follow product labels.
Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum's Landscape and Pest Control Supply, 481 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant (971-9601), 3325 Business Circle in North Charleston (760-2600), or 606 Dupont Road in Charleston (766-1511). Fax your questions to 406-2700 or e-mail them to your newspaper's editors. You can also call in your questions to the Garden Clinic, Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. on WTMA, 1250 AM.