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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

Swarming mosquitoes threatening to ruin your cookout this weekend? An even greater concern, of course is avoiding the diseases such as West Nile virus that mosquitoes carry. Mosquitoes are the biggest threat from dusk until dawn. Evenings in the summertime are most pleasant outdoors, but not when mosquitoes are present. While it is unlikely that we will ever be able to eliminate mosquitoes from this planet, there are steps that we can take to avoid getting bit by these bloodthirsty pests this summer.

Step 1 — Ensure That Your Yard is Not a Breeding Ground for Mosquitoes.
· Make sure that there are no buckets or empty planters left where they could collect stagnant water. Empty any standing water found and store empty containers upside down.
· Check the gutter on the house for leaves or other debris blocking rainwater from flowing freely.
· Change the water in the birdbath weekly.
· If you have a pond or water garden, install a pump, waterfall or fountain to keep the water flowing. Mosquitoes require stagnant water to breed.
· Fill in any puddles or low spots in the lawn with soil or rock. Check the area just beneath all downspouts to ensure there is no standing water.

Step 2 — Fighting Off Mosquitoes Naturally·
. Install a bat house near your outdoor living spaces. Bats dine on mosquitoes in the evening and are a beauty to behold in flight.
· Erect bird feeders in your yard to attract wild birds, which feast on mosquitoes.
· Stock the water garden or pond with goldfish or other mosquito larvae eating fish.
· Use yellow bug lights outside on the patio, porch or deck.
· Light citronella candles or mosquito coils when using outdoor seating areas. There are safe, propane and butane operated mosquito traps and devices that can be used when entertaining outdoors.
· Install ceiling fans on your covered porch or balcony and sit beneath them when outdoors at night to discourage mosquitoes from lighting on you and your guests.
· Use an oscillating fan in outdoor living spaces in the evenings.
· Wear light colored clothing with thin, long sleeves, long pants and socks when working in the garden just before dark. Spray a mosquito repellent on top of your clothing.
· There are safe, nonchemical, herbal-based repellents on the market. Most contain plant-based oils such as citronella, cedar, eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, basil, geranium and feverfew, which are mosquito deterrents. These are safe for use on children, who are highly susceptible to mosquito bites when running and playing outdoors at night.
. Taking garlic or brewers yeast supplements is said to deter insect bites.

~Numerous tips for ridding the garden and lawn of pests naturally are found in Deborah Tukua and Vicki West’s book, Pearls of Garden Wisdom. This handy gardening companion is available now at discounted prices to the FATV readers. Visit the shop for your copy today!

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.