Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gardening Article: The Gardener’s Peskiest Pest

Ah, gardening. For those of us who love to garden, gardening time is prime time. Non-gardeners are sometimes hard-pressed to understand it, but when we’re out in our gardens raking, hoeing, watering, planting and sweating, we’re at our happiest. There’s just something about working close to the earth that is relaxing and restful, no matter how hard we may be toiling physically.

But in the spring and summer months when gardening is at it’s peak, idyllic hours spent in the garden are sometimes ruined by an unwelcome intruder – mosquitoes. Though mosquitoes are no fun for anyone, mosquitoes can be particularly tormenting for gardeners.

After all, most gardening tasks turn us into easy targets for mosquitoes. Planting, hoeing, weeding, or whatever chore we’re doing as we slowly work our way down a row of plants leaves us quite vulnerable to attack as the mosquitoes zero in on the carbon dioxide we exhale.

And isn’t it a special delight when a mosquito alights upon your cheek while your hands are encrusted with soil - or something even less savory? You’re forced to choose between letting the mosquito have its way with you or slapping yourself in the face with your grimy hand!

Mosquitoes Are Deadly Serious Business

Unfortunately, mosquitoes are much more than just simply a nuisance that can spoil your outdoor activities. Mosquitoes are directly responsible for the deaths of millions of people every year. The mosquito spreads diseases such as West Nile virus, various forms of encephalitis, and the most deadly mosquito-borne disease, malaria.

So although mosquitoes may ruin your gardening fun, leaving you a mass of itching welts, consider yourself lucky if that’s all they do to you. Millions of people each year are considerably less fortunate.

You Can Take Back Your Garden…

You don’t allow weeds or any other pests take over your garden; you don’t have to let mosquitoes take over, either. And you also don’t have to resort to smearing smelly mosquito repellents on your skin.

There are a number of modern mosquito control products that are quite effective at either repelling or killing mosquitoes. One such product that is particularly suited for gardeners is called the ThermeCell Mosquito Repellent Appliance.

The ThermaCell is a portable mosquito repellent device that creates a safe-zone from mosquitoes. Whether you clip it to your belt or just place it close to where you’re working, the thermacell will create a safe-zone of 225 square feet (15 feet x 15 feet) in no-wind conditions.

Other modern mosquito control products include traps that use carbon dioxide to lure mosquitoes to their deaths, and set-and-forget sprayers that automatically spray mosquitoes with a natural insecticide.

What About Mosquito Repellent Plants?

For gardeners, what could be a more perfect form of mosquito control than growing plants that repel mosquitoes?

Unfortunately, though, there aren’t any plants that just by their mere presence will repel mosquitoes. Though there are many plants that are hyped as being repellent to mosquitoes, according to experts, growing these plants will have little impact upon the mosquito population in your garden.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are many plants you can grow which do have some mosquito repellent properties when the leaves or stems of the plants are crushed to release the natural oils of the plants.

You can use these plants as a natural repellent applied to your skin, and while they probably won’t be as effective as using DEET, they can help to make you less attractive to mosquitoes. These plants include:

• Ageratum
• Basil
• Beautyberry
• Catnip
• Garlic
• Horsemint
• Lavender
• Lemon grass
• Marigolds
• Onion
• Rosemary

The Worst Garden Pest?

As gardeners, it often seems as if we’re constantly battling one pest or another. Whether it’s invasive weeds, armyworms, flea beetles, cucumber beetles, thrips, or any other of a myriad of gardening pests, it seems there’s always something that wants a piece of what we’re growing.

But the argument could be made that mosquitoes are the very worst of all the pests we face. After all, they don’t simply want a piece of what we’re growing; they want a piece of us!

Image courtesy of eHow.

About the author: Visit the author’s website:, to learn more about the mosquito and the best and most effective mosquito control products and repellents.

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