For much of the year in San Antonio, mosquitos are an unfortunate part of life thanks to our humid summers and mild winters. Besides being annoying to both people and pets, mosquitoes can also transmit a variety of diseases, such as West Nile virus and Zika virus. Since there are no vaccines or cures for these illnesses, protecting your pets and family from mosquitoes is critical.
However, while keeping bugs at bay is important, dousing your property with harsh chemicals can be dangerous, especially when you have pets. Fortunately, a little bit of creativity and elbow grease is all you need to accomplish pet safe mosquito control.
The Right Foliage
Gardening buffs will be happy to know there are a variety of plants and flowers that offer natural pet safe mosquito control. Lavender is commonly used to ward off pesky insects, along with marigolds and citronella (lemongrass). A simple herb garden can also go a long way to warding off mosquitos, as they tend to stay away from the powerful aromas of mint, sage, basil, rosemary, and catnip.
A mosquito trapping system is generally touted as a safe and effective form of mosquito control by using carbon dioxide to attract and trap mosquitoes. These systems can be expensive, so it pays to research beforehand to determine which type of trap has worked for others in your area. Different traps may attract different species of mosquito. Avoid using electric “bug zappers,” as they tend to kill mostly beneficial insects.
Pet Safe Mosquito Control
Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds is another effective way to control the mosquito population. This should be done in combination with other forms of pest control:
- Remove or minimize standing water on your property. Even small amounts (like what can be found in a pet water dish or at the bottom of a flower pot) can provide enough space for mosquito eggs to hatch.
- For bodies of water that can’t be controlled, such as in a drainage ditch or street curb, consider using Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) dunks or granules. This safe and harmless bacteria disrupts the mosquito breeding cycle and poses no threat to people, pets, or wildlife.
- Keep grass mowed and trees and shrubs trimmed to make your yard less hospitable to mosquitoes.
At Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital, keeping your pet safe is our top priority. If you have further questions about pet safe mosquito control, please don’t hesitate to contact us.