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Our rental home is plagued by mosquitoes. I thought the problem would go away
when the weather cooled, but we still have a few in our bedroom each night. This
is an annoyance, especially since it makes me sad to see occasional bites on our
I suspect that the mosquitoes must be breeding somewhere near the house. (I'm
not quite sure how they're getting in, since we have them even when all the
windows are closed.) I'd love any advice you can offer about how to find and
eliminate their breeding grounds. I'd also love any safe, kid-friendly options
for keeping them away from us as we sleep.
Enough with the bites, already.
Mosquitoes need water to breed, but it can be tiny amounts. Just the water in
the saucers under your plants can be enough to cause problems. Or your neighbor
may have a pond. Sometimes you can get people from the county vector control to
come out and put mosquito fish in ponds or help in other ways. The UC Davis IMP
website is great for helping people gain an understanding of pests and how to
control them. This is the part about mosquitoes:
Hi, I'd try calling Alameda County Mosquito Abatement. They are total mosquito
vigilantes and will likely come look around to see where the problem is, even in
neighbor's yards, etc. They used to patrol my little fish pond I had when I
lived in Berkeley. It is possible that they are in the gutters of the house, if
they are blocked and have standing water in them. Or, there are puddles in the
trays of flower pots, or containers outside with standing water. Dumping out the
water does it. If there are areas that moisture collects and it's not a pond
with other creatures, an eco-friendly way of getting rid of mosquito larvae is
to put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the puddles, the oil forms a surface
that blocks air and the larvae suffocate. If you are hunting mosquitoes in the
house in the evening, a flashlight turned to the upper corners and lower corners
of the room can be easier in spotting them.Good luck, that's all I've got.
You can buy mosquito netting, probably at a camping supply store. The best
advice I heard about dealing with mosquitoes once they're in the house is to
vacuum them up. I've done this and it's very effective.
Besides the obvious sources of standing water on your property, I would see if
any neighbors have standing water or if you have any underground drainpipes that
might not drain completely. The street behind our house has standing water in
the gutter the year around from underground streams that ooze up from under some
of the houses. A situation like that might breed mosquitoes. You might ask
your neighbors if they also have a mosquito problem to help narrow down the source.
Mosquitoes! First, locate any standing water in your yard. All they need is
1/4 inch of water left standing for 5 days, and you will then have mosquito
larvae, almost ready to hatch. Check under your house in the crawl space for
any standing water. Cover the floor of your crawlspace with plastic to stop
them from hatching (this has other benefits too, such as keeping the inside of
your house drier.)
Plug the holes: Even with the windows closed, they can get into your house
through the holes where the plumbing enters, where your heater ducts enter if
they aren't sealed at the edges, and in gaps around the mantle of your fireplace
-- any place that air can flow. You will have to do a search, and then block the
holes with an expanding foam that will conform to the shape of the gap, or use
caulking (water-based is easiest to use.)
If the standing water is on your neighbor's property, help them to understand
that this is a community health issue. Mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus,
among other diseases. Make it a contest with the kids to locate and destroy the
The City of Berkeley's Health & Human Services department has a public health
branch and website that has more info; look up ''Vector control'' for more info.
Dry & Bite-Free in Berkeley
Look for any standing water in your yard and ask neighbors to do the same, dump
it out and don't let it collect. That's where mosquitos breed. Also, call
Alameda Co. Mosquito Abatement. They helped us by contacting neighbors,
treating the nearby sewers and coming out periodically to monitor our situation.
Eventually, they found that under a neighbor's house there was a leaky pipe
creating a breeding area. The neighbor fixed it and our problem was solved.
Help! This is our 3rd winter in Berkeley and every winter we
have mosquitoes. Our front yard is mulched with lots of
different plants, but it's a slope so we don't have standing
water. We do have some water under our house, but can't do
anything about that this year. Can anyone give us some advice on
a non-toxic way to get rid of these mosquitoes? We have a young
baby in the house now and she's already been bitten several
Please call Alameda County's Mosquito Abatement program
(510.783.7744) for help. It's free (our tax dollars at work).
They'll send someone out to inspect for mosquito breeding
grounds, add some nontoxic stuff to your puddle, they even have
mosquito fish if that's what's called for. It's helpful if you
can catch one of the offending mosquitos, that'll help them
figure out where the mosquitos are breeding.
I was one of those people who, if there was one mosquito in the
whole East Bay, it would find me- any season of the year. I could
never find a source nearby. Then I read in this Digest, that
taking Vitamin B-1 could make your unappealing to mosquitoes. It
worked! I take 100 mg/day, and never more hear that horrible
whining honing in at me at night. Check with your pediatrician to
see if there is a dose that you could try for your infant.
We have a new batch of kittens and I'm looking online for flea
treatment for cats. During this, I noticed that there's a
medication called 'Revolution' that's intended for treating
heartworm in cats. Does anyone know anything about this? Do
cats get heartworm? And worse, is it dangerous for children who
play with kittens all day long? In fact, can people get
heartworm? I think I heard it's transmitted by mosquitoes, and
now I've got very paranoid about mosquito bites...
Any further information much appreciated!
You don't have to worry about heartworm in California. The mosquitoes
carry the larvae aren't in this part of the country.
When I took my newly rescued dog to the vet a year ago and asked
about heartworm meds he said that most animals around here
really don't need heartworm meds because we don't have a problem
with it here. He said if you take your dog (I assume for cats
too) to the Sierra's or to the hills in Napa regularly then he'd
recommend heartworm meds, but not for city critters. He thought
the push for it was too much hype and unnecessary spending, not
to mention a burdon on the dog/cat's system.
Hope this helps.
Cats do get heartworm, but much more rarely than dogs. In the
east bay region where mosquito control is very well done by our
local mosquito abatement crew, heartworm in cats is very
unlikely. If the cat (or dog) visits places where mosquito
control is not as extensive (Napa, Mendicino, Santa Cruz
mountains, S! ierra foothills, etc.), I have seen heartworm in
both dogs or cats that are not receiving some sort of
preventative. If the cat stays here in the East Bay, I don't
think heartworm preventative is as important.
A local Oakland vet
I am very concerned about mosquitos (and west nile virus), and I
am very careful not to leave standing water around anywhere.
However, we have a little inflatable pool for our toddler, and I
really hate to empty it out every time we use it. I don't like
to waste the water, and I like it to warm up over the course of
a few days, and I have noticed in the past that the racoons like
to walk through it with muddy paws if it is not full. So, my
question is, do I really have to empty it completely every
time? How about if I add a bit of chlorine to it? Would that
kill any larvae? What kind and how much would I add, and how
often? If I did add chlorine, would that then be really bad to
dump out on the grass every few days or so (I do empty it when
it gets too buggy and dirty anyway)? I do not want to harm any
wildlife, beneficial bugs, or the birds that eat them! I'm also
concerned about my son swimming in and accidentally swallowing
any mosquitos or larvae. What do others do with these pools?
We have a toddler pool in our yard as well and have decided
that filling it up each time and draining the water immediately
after our kids get out is the only way to prevent a drowning
accident. Obviously, I don't know where your pool is and
whether your toddler can access it without your help, but
before making the decision not to drain, I would run through
all the various scenarios to make sure there is no way your
child (or any other child) would try to get in while you aren't
watching. Small children can potentially drown even in only a
couple of inches of water, even if they can swim in a normal
pool, so I'd recommend extreme vigilance around this issue.
We empty the wading pool after every use, and make a game out of
using buckets to transfer most of the pool water onto the dry
grass or into potted plants. I am concerned not only about
critters getting into the water, which my daughter could swallow
(or worse, whose waste my daughter could swallow), but also
about drowning risks with other neighborhood children (or even
my daughter, in a moment of inattention).
Have you tried covering the pool at night with a tarp or
You don't need to change the water every day, it takes a while
for the larva to become mosquitoes. Changing it once a week
should be fine.
I have three comments:
1) Have you ever seen any mosquito larva in your pool? I have
always been under the impression that mosquito prefer stagnant
water, not fresh water. If there are larva, you will certainly see
2) I don't know if the chlorine or chloramines that are put in
municipal water is enough to kill the larva, but you could ask the
Alameda County mosquito abatement program.
3) Why not just put a cover on the pool? This would also make it
safer for toddlers who might play near the pool ( I have read that
toddlers can easily drown in just a few inches of water.)
Regarding the toddler pool standing water, I would leave it up
to a week without worry. We do, and we're still using it
extensively! You could add very small amounts of chlorine or
iodine, but I agree that if you repurpose it to water plants &
lawn, you don't want to harm them.
My greatest concern is small toddlers waddling into the pool and
drowning, and so it should be in a safe location.
Gary Bogue has a column in the contra costa times. he says
changing the water every 3 days is adequate for preventing
mosquitos. You can probably find his info on-line.
Mosquito season is arriving and with it, no doubt, West Nile
will reach California. I remember hearing last year that it was
most risky for the elderly and other adults with compromised
immune systems and babies under one. I have been thinking that
we should perhaps put up mosquito nets over all of our beds for
two reasons: 1) we have an infant son 10 mos old who obviously
falls into the at-risk group and 2) if the rest of us become
carriers of the disease, even if we remain symptom free,
mosquitos could transmit the virus from us to others. For that
reason it seems like it might be wise for all people who live in
affected areas to consider mosquito nets.
My concern is putting a mosquito net over our son's crib (if I
can ever get him to sleep in it). Isn't he likely to pull it
down or get all wrapped up in it? Anyone know how people in
malaria affected areas deal with this issue? Also, I'm not too
savvy about how to put up mosquito nets over beds in general or
even where to get mosquito nets.
Any opinions/info/handy tips you all have on this issue welcome.
Here's an offbeat idea for $35 an outdoor screen house, really
a canopy with mosquito netting for walls. This one might fit in
a bedroom http//www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?cat=4128&dept=4125&product_id=1192060&path=0%3A4125%3A4128%3A55558
I once had night-time mosquito problems and solved them by
sleeping in my freestanding backpacking tent on top of the bed.
One caveat, though, it gets a little warm in there.
You can get mosquito nets at REI. They are easy to put up using
just one hook in the ceiling over the center of the bed. The
net comes with a spreader device like a star at the top that
allows it to spread over the bed.
Mosquito nets are great for the kids. The provide protection
and a great camping feel - much better than chemicals.
What about where they come from? The county of Alameda has a
free mosquito abatement program. A specialist will come to your
area to hunt out mosquito breeding sources and if you have one,
will provide mosquito eating fish for your pond or puddle - all
for free. Call 510-783-7744 for more info
We have always had problems with mosquitos, and it seems
recently that everything we do to avoid our son from getting
bitten fails. Not only are we concerned with our son's alergic
reaction to these bites (he swells up and scratches the bite
until it bleeds), with the scare of the West Nile Virus seeping
it's way to California, we are running out of options.
My husband and I have tried everything- Mosquitos repellants,
coils, lotions, sticky paper. But unless we remember to put on
the repellant every night, we can expect our son to wake up with
a new bite in the morning. My husband has suggested that we
fumigate our house and possibly have someone professionally
replace our window screens, but before we go off and spend a
boat full of money on this projects, I was wondering if someone
could recommend an alternative. Besides, will fumigating our
home really help with our mosquito problems?
I don't know if you have tried contacting your local Mosquito
Abatement District (Alameda has one and so does Contra Costa), but
they are very responsive to the public. If you call them and explain
that you have a high incidence of mosquitoes, they will probably send
someone out to look around your neighborhood and figure out where the
mosquitoes are coming from. They can make recommendations about how
to keep them out of your home and they can "abate" the mosquito
breeding areas, if there is, say, a low spot which tends to accumulate
Also, from all I've heard to date on West Nile virus, it seems to be a
threat only to elderly people, so I don't think you really need worry
too much on that score for your child. The West Nile episodes of the
last couple of decades seem to suggest that the spread of the virus is
self-limiting, and perhaps there is not a serious threat of the virus
mutating and becoming more dangerous to the general public. Again, the
Mosquiot Abatement districts are currently in Over-drive getting out
information on this. I suggest you call the Contra Costa office at
925-685-9301 for a start if you are in CC.
Our son also gets awful welts from mosquito bites, and he must
have sweet breath because they always find him. We finally
bought a mosquito net for his bed, and put it up in the spring.
It almost always works, he's much less bitten up these days. We
bought it off the web at www.scslimited.com and are pretty happy
with it. The ''Baby Klamboe'' net is just big enough for a twin bed.
For what it's worth, I've been told that mosquitos don't like
the smell of B-vitamin people. I rarely get many mosquito bites,
even when people are getting eaten alive. I take B-vitamins and
also have used Brewers Yeast in the past. I have no scientific
information to back that up so it may just be a coincidence.
I was also told years ago when I went on an extended back
packing trip to wear khaki colored pants rather than blue jeans
because mosquitos were attracted to the color blue. Again, I've
never read any reports about the truth of this, so it may be a
One of the best things to help keep those dang bugs away during
the night is a ceiling fan. They can't get near enough to you to
bite if on! The other thing to do is to be sure you have no
obvious sources outside your house. Take advantage of our local
Mosquito Abatement program. I presume you live in Alameda county
(if not, you'll have to do some checking). Its a great program.
They'll come to your house for free, check for sources, and deal
with it. We had a pond, so they gave us free mosquito fish. They
also gave us a briquet to drop into our sump. The gentleman was
very nice, helpful and friendly. I'm sure with the West Nile
Virus scare they are busy these days, but you should still call
them. They may also be able to calm your fears about the virus.
Have you tried rigging mosquito netting around and over his bed
(a canopy of sorts) yet?
We have had this same problem. My sons even add ''don't let the
mosquito bugs bite'' after our standard good night wishes. I
just bought and installed mosquito nets for both boys and they
love them. Not only do they keep out the bugs, but it is like
camping every night. Now they ASK to have the window open on a
warm night because they have no fear of the bugs. I purchased
ours at Pier 1 in El Cerrito but you can also buy them online.
Call the Alameda County mosquito abatement department. They are
extremely helpful. They sent a biologist to my house, provided me
with advice and literature, and filled my garden fountain with
mosquito-eating fish - all free of charge. Clearly there is
standing water somewhere in your neighborhood. Enlist the pros to
help you tackle your problem. That's what they do, and it won't
cost you a thing.
I once received a visit from the ''Mosquito Abatement'' patrol -
it's one of the more humorous line items on our local taxes, but
at least they do make house calls. Apparently one of my neighbors
complained of mosquito problems, so an officer came to my door
and asked permission to walk around my house. She explained that
the local mosquitos only travel a short distance, maybe a few
houses or so. If you can remove any standing water (empty garden
pots, puddles, whatever) you can eliminate the problem at its
source. This may take a little neighborly cooperation, but it
beats fumigation. I'd try it, and also consider replacing your
screens. It worked for us.
MOsquito net - camping stores like REI have these. Also make
sure there is NO standing water anywhere near your house, because
this is where the baby mosquitos grow. Finally, stay inside at
dusk when they are worse.
I have found that putting undiluted tea tree oil directly on
mosquito bites helps a lot. It seems to stop them itching, and
There was an article in the paper recently about recent research
into the most effective non-toxic lotions for repelling
mosquitos. If I recall correctly, they found that lotions
containing eucalyptus oil to be almost as effective as deet, but
they only last 90 minutes. Since it sounds like you are trying
to keep mosquitos from biting during your son's sleep, you might
consider a gentle fan that I've heard keeps the lightweight
mosquito from flying into the area the fan is blowing. We've
used one all summer for our 4 year old son who is also allergic
to mosquito bites and who is, for some reason, very attractive
to them. He always gets more bites than his sister. He hasn't
had more than one mosquito bite all summer, the fan has really
worked. We keep it several feet away so that the breeze he
receive is fairly mild and oscillating.
Most counties have a mosquito abatement program, that provide free
Also I recently bought a product to put in standing water that
prevents mosquito eggs from hatching. I put it in my water
garden, tho the package says you can put it anywhere there is
standing water. I bought it at Smith and Hawkins.
for relief of the welts, you can try a couple of of homeopathic
remedies that work quite well for me, who is a sufferer of the
same sort of reaction. i spent my childhood taking extra b
vitamins with no relief. these remedies work for me. milk based
tablets of apis mellifica (also works for bee stings orally &
topically together). dissolve them into a paste in your palm
with a few drops of water and apply them to the bite as a
poultice (you may have to bandaid an itchy toddler), or there is
a topical salve for itch relief, called sting stop. both products
are available in most health food stores.
Someone posted advice on mosquitos saying they have heard (and
tried) that taking brewers yeast will deter mosquitos, but
doesn't have any scientific info to back this up. Well, in my
experience brewers yeast does help. For instance, when I went
to Yosemite with my class in 1980, everyone got many many
mosquito bites except for me, and I was taking Yeast 500. At
the time, Yeast 500 could be purchased at Williams Natural Food
store on San Pablo Ave in Richmond.
Just a quick comment about the West Nile virus, in the context of
the mosquito issue. From everything I've heard, this virus is
generally not a problem in healthy people, including (maybe
especially) healthy kids. It seems to be no worse than a mild
case of the flu, if you catch it at all. It is problematic in
people with compromised immune systems (such as elderly people
with health problems); the reason it's a big concern in the SF Bay
area is we have a large population of people with compromised
immune systems -- people who are HIV positive.
It may be worth while to get screens. I recommend calling
Screen Mobile. They will tell you who runs the franchise
locally and that person can give you an estimate. We are very
happy with our screens from Screen Mobile. We have regular
screens for our double-hung windows and pull down screens for
our casement windows. The cost may not be as much as you think,
and you don't have to put stuff on your kid's skin at night or
buy and install a fan. You also don't have as many moths in
your clothes and food, nor spiders to torment arachniphobes.
The only maintenance I do on the screens is to vaccum them once
a year, while they are still in the window.
Hi. I haven't read all the responses so I hope this isn't
repetitive. Liquid B-Complex vitamins exude a taste or smell
through your pores which mosquitos don't care for. As does
garlic, like in Kyolic pill form, if your child is old enough. I
don't know if there is specifically a children's B-complex in
liquid form, check a health food store, otherwise 1/3 to 1/2 the
adult dose, if you want I can e-mail you from a chart of RDA's
according to child's age for each B vitamin. Also I read you can
spray lice treatment on clothes, somewhat toxic, maybe
citronella/ pennyroyal (if you and he can bear the smell) on the
pj's, blanket instead of on skin each night. And check for any
stagnant water sources near your home. We bred many a mosquito
accidentally having let some water accumulate in kiddy pool.
Hi-Our two year old daughter has been bit in our house several times by
mosquitos. I remember hearing that ceiling fans help? Does anyone know
this to be true? Do other fans help? We rent our house and there are
no screens. We use some screens that fit any window; not a perfect
fit. We have tried to seal it up. She still gets a new bite every few
days. We would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks
Ikea has mosquito netting that can fit over any size bed and is about
$25. Just tuck it in. You can combine that with mosquito coils which
are about $2 for 10 from Ace Hardware or Target and you can pretend
that you are in an exotic, warm,tropical place like Thailand! The
netting looks very romantic and beats Deet spray! Good luck.
We have ceiling fans in both bedrooms, and in our opinion, they are
helpful at keeping mosquito bites down for several reasons. One, when
the fan is up high, the mosquitos can't get to you. Two, they keep YOU
cool, so you tend to sleep under the covers all the way, rather than
on top, thus decreasing the amount of skin exposed to the critters in
the first place! We LOVE having ceiling fans in our bedrooms; its the
only way to have a good nights rest during the hot weather.
Our son gets dreadful mosquito bites too. I did when I was a kid but
am apparently less tasty now. After years of stress and a trip to the
allergist, we finally bought him a mosquito net that hangs from the
ceiling above his bed. It's kind of odd looking, but it really keeps
the bugs away from him at night. We bought ours from a nice little
online store < http://www.scs-mall.com/store/> (Baby Klamboe size) but
I just saw a large size at Ikea in Emeryville last week.
Sounds like seal the place up isn't an easy thing to do and I know
that burning citronella candles day and night isn't practical at all,
but what about bathing or spraying your daughter in a safe non-toxic
version of this to help repel the bugs? Avon's Skin So Soft is a bath
oil that is a natural bug repellent. It is a nice product I have used
it for years (it wasn't originally developed as a bug repellent, but
they discovered that it works well as one).The other option might be
to go to Lhasa Kharna (SP?) and talk to them about citronella or other
essential oils that you can use as a natural deterrent. Good luck
Ceiling fans, or any sort of fan will work well to discourage
mosquitos from biting you - they home in I believe on the carbon
dioxide your skin gives off - and the breezes blow them off course.
This is only relatively helpful if the mosquitos are so plentiful that
they stumble across you by accident anyway. Repellent will keep them
off but it's not very desirable for little children. We lived for many
years in a house with no screens and had both fans and individual
mosquito nets for the babies - I have accidentally brought two of
these nets with me from Australia and if you'd like them you'd be very
welcome to have them (I was about to list them in the marketplace).
My daughter loved to have one even when there were no mosquitos
because of the princess tent effect. One is nylon and unused, the
other is cotton and has been used. You can reach me on 486-8192 or at
firstname.lastname@example.org good luck.
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