Whether you’re at a summer cookout or relaxing in your backyard, you may have to deal with pesky mosquitoes. These insects can leave itchy bites on your skin and, in some cases, spread dangerous diseases like Zika virus and West Nile virus. To prevent mosquitoes from biting you around your yard or in your home, there are some proactive steps you can take. Keep reading for a list of mosquito control tips and how to prevent mosquito bites all year long.

1. Remove standing water

Pools of standing water around your yard are ideal mosquito breeding grounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adult female mosquitoes can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. These eggs can hatch into mosquito larvae after three days, and the larvae can turn into adult mosquitoes after 12 days.

To ensure your yard doesn’t get overrun by entire mosquito populations, be proactive and target any areas that may have standing water. Make sure your gutters aren’t clogged with old water and debris, tip over rain barrels and buckets, change out the water in your bird bath or fountain, and get rid of water on grill covers and tarps.

2. Install screens on windows

If you leave your windows open, consider installing fitted mesh screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. Not only will these screens keep mosquitoes out, they’ll prevent other insects such as flies, bees, and spiders from getting into your home. If you notice a hole in your screen, patch it immediately to prevent mosquitoes from flying through the hole. Additionally, if you notice any gaps or holes in walls or doors, apply caulk to patch the hole.

3. Apply mosquito repellent

While DEET is a tried and true mosquito repellent and can protect against both mosquito-borne diseases and tick-borne illnesses, consider a natural alternative insect repellent that contains oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). OLE is the only plant-based repellent recommended by the CDC and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an effective, plant-based mosquito repellent.

Murphy’s Naturals’ Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray repels mosquitoes for up to six hours and contains responsibly sourced ingredients. It doesn’t leave behind a residue on your skin and it has a pleasant scent. Before going outside, always apply sunscreen before your insect repellent for the maximum effectiveness of each product.

4. Wear long-sleeved clothing

Mosquitoes can flock to exposed skin and leave behind itchy welts. Wear long sleeves and pants before going outside, and consider wearing socks and shoes instead of sandals to protect your feet. Since mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting clothes, apply a natural OLE repellent to your clothes.

5. Stay indoors during dawn and dusk

Mosquitoes are prevalent during the early morning hours and when the sun starts to set. To prevent mosquito bites, consider staying indoors during these hours. Mosquitoes are less likely to bite during peak sunlight hours and when the sun is at its hottest.

6. Use a fan

Since mosquitoes are naturally weak fliers, running a fan in your indoor or outdoor space can prevent these insects from biting you. A fan can also deter mosquitoes by dispersing carbon dioxide and other odors that mosquitoes use to feed on hosts.

7. Change your outdoor lighting

Like most insects, mosquitoes are attracted to light. Replace your outdoor lights with “bug lights.” These yellow lights emit a different type of light than regular light bulbs and don’t attract as many insects.

8. Add mosquito-repellent plants around your home

Some plants and herbs have properties that can prevent mosquitoes from bothering you when you’re outside. Here are a few mosquito-repellent plants you should consider adding to your yard or garden:

  • Lavender: This plant gives off a scent that comes from the essential oils in the leaves of the plant. While the scent can ward off mosquitoes, rubbing some of the lavender oil onto your skin may also prevent mosquito bites.
  • Marigolds: These colorful flowers contain a compound called pyrethrum, which is found in a variety of insect repellents, and give off a scent that can deter mosquitoes.
  • Geraniums: Not all geraniums will repel mosquitoes, but the Pelargonium citrosum geranium produces a smell similar to citronella, which can keep mosquitoes at bay.
  • Mint: While this herb can smell refreshing to humans, its scent can be unpleasant to mosquitoes. You can also use mint to repel mosquitoes by crushing its leaves and rubbing the oil onto your skin.
  • Bee balm: Similar to the other plants, herbs, and flowers on this list, bee balm releases a smell that mosquitoes find unpleasant.
  • 9. Hire a professional pest control company

    If you have a severe mosquito infestation and none of the above tips have helped remediate the issue, consider hiring a professional pest control company. Some pest control providers offer natural solutions to get rid of mosquitoes, keeping you, your family, your pets, and your yard safe from chemicals.

    Jennings Ridout