balcony mosquito control tactics that work!
The balcony at our house in San Antonio sat mostly unused. It wasn’t all that uncommon for entire MONTHS to pass without any of us setting foot on it.
That is definitely not the case here in Puerto Rico. Because the weather is so pleasant, many homes and condos here have large outside spaces that are used on a daily basis. We are out on our balcony EVERY morning for coffee and breakfast. We usually eat dinner out there as well. In fact, hardly an hour passes without someone in our family opening the sliding glass door to our balcony.
A few months ago the mosquitos started to become a problem. We tried to deter them with citronella candles and mosquito coils but neither seemed to help at all. Because of the nuisance and the risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases, we eventually stopped going out on the balcony at all. The mosquitos had effectively taken over our balcony.
After a week or so of us all sheepishly holed up inside, I realized the absurdity of the situation. We HAD to do something. We had to retake what was rightfully ours!
Mosquito repellents clearly weren’t working so I knew we had to change our tactics. Mosquitos transmit diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and another one I hadn’t yet heard of at the time, the zika virus. It was time to pull out all the stops.
I researched the Mosquito Magnet but decided it took too much on-going maintenance. (UPDATE 12/14/2019: we ended up getting the Mosquito Magnet three years later!) I thought about fogging the area behind our condo, but I don’t like the idea of indiscriminately killing all insects and small creatures, many of which may be beneficial.
The type of mosquito that seems to venture up to our balcony is the dreaded Asian tiger mosquito. It’s black and white stripes are unmistakable.
After doing some research online, I latched on to a piece of information that gave me hope. This type of mosquito has a limited flight range of only 300 feet. We may not be able to eradicate all mosquitos on the island. However, I figured that with the help of the dragonflies and bats that circle our balconies at dusk, maybe my neighbors and I had a fighting chance at controlling the immediate mosquito population; at least in the area within about 300 feet of our balconies.
I started by spraying some Raid Flying Insect Killer on the mosquitos that swarmed me as soon as I walked on to the balcony. After a few minutes of battle, the balcony was cleared and we could eat a meal in relative peace. I did this every morning and enlisted my neighbors to do the same. In about a week, the mosquitos were pretty much gone! I can’t tell you how great it felt to have our balcony back. We still have to deal with an occasional mosquito or two, but it is much more manageable.
That was when I discovered the finishing touch to help us deal with the stragglers: the electric mosquito zapper racket. It’s MUCH easier to get the occasional mosquito with this than by trying to swat them by hand. Better yet, you don’t have to breathe in any nasty chemicals AND you get to hear a satisfying POP when you make contact! We bought several of them and keep them strategically placed around the house.
Pro Tip: Hang a dark piece of clothing somewhere on your balcony, close to a wall. When I come in from surfing, I hang my hooded rashguard on the arm of our balcony chairs to dry. Mosquitos are attracted to dark-colored material. Therefore, when we first walk out on the balcony we poke at my shirt with the racket. If there are mosquitos, that is typically where we will find them.
If you are having trouble with these mosquitos, I hope you find these balcony mosquito control tactics and tools useful. Every now and then, we have to use the spray, but usually the “mosquito racket” is enough. Every little bit helps in the fight against these disease-transmitting pests.