Walking through a cloud of gnats or hearing the high-pitched drone of a mosquito can quickly make your yard somewhere to avoid rather than enjoy. The elements that we value in our yard — grass, trees, flowers and water features — are the same things that attract flying insects. Taking back control of the space from these annoying intruders is feasible often quite simple. Chemicals, baits and other practices reduce or remove flying pests.
Flying Insect Pests
With over 90,000 pest species from the United States alone, distinguishing what is flying over your head can appear to be a intimidating task. On the other hand, the typical micro climate and food sources out there on your yard attract specific flying insects. While we often see bees, wasps, beetles and butterflies flying around the yard, the most annoying insects are usually the flies (Diptera). The group contains gnats, midges, black flies and mosquitoes.
Commercially available aerosol foggers and sprays have been generalist insecticides targeting several species at the same time. Fogging or spraying the yard eliminates flying insects on contact but potentially harms individuals, pets and beneficial insects such as bees, ladybugs and lacewings. Products containing pyrethrin have minimal impact on mammals and are deemed safe for aquatic life when absorbed into the groundwater. Protect mammals in the toxic effects of this pesticide by applying it during the nighttime or early morning when bees are inactive. Less toxic options, such as insecticidal soap, kill insects but has to be sprayed directly onto the pest to work.
Bait Traps and Tapes
Draw pests away from your yard by putting baits or sticky insect tape around the outside of the property. Baits containing an attractant and insecticide put out of reach of children and pets in surrounding leaf will pull away bugs away from the middle of your yard. Sticky tape hung from tree branches can also be effective but can remove beneficial insects also.
Luring beneficial bug-eating predators to your yard will decrease flying pests. Providing a birdhouse for purple martins, or food such as suet for swifts and swallows will encourage these useful creatures to visit and feed excessive flying pests. Bats also eat a large amount of flying insects. Installing a bat home might help attract these creatures to your yard but ensure that it’s situated in an area where people won’t experience the bats or their droppings. A garden water feature with reeds and tall grasses can attract dragonflies, voracious feeders of flying insects.