I’m a magnet, a beacon if you will. Mosquitoes will fly right past a group of people and go to town on me. I don’t know what it is about me, but I’m blood bag full of Grade A, high-test mosquito fuel.

I have to cover myself head to toe in the Deep Woods with DEET stuff just to stand a chance. Anything less is just a mild inconvenience to the little vampires. To top it all off, I have some kind of allergy to them and the bites swell up to the size of Mount Olympus. Thanks mosquitoes.

Needless to say, my backyard is as fortified as it can be against them. The last thing I want is to be eaten alive while I’m cooking.

What I really wish I could do is take a venture into everyone’s yard in a five-block radius of our house and make sure there is no standing water breeding the little guys. But since I can’t, I can just make sure my yard is as protected as possible.


Tiki torches

Tiki torches have been around as long as I can remember. Bamboo with metal containers holding a wick are a time-tested deterrent. You can upgrade like I have and get the all-metal island flair ones that burn like a culrain getting maximum efficiency. On my medium-sized deck, I have four of these filled with the cedar-scented tiki torch citronella when I’m outside. It is a few dollars more, but worth it for the smell factor in my opinion.


Table top options

To go along with my ring of Tiki torches, I also have a thermacell burning away on top of the table. Like citronella candles, these keep the biters at bay by burning off a chemical unpopular with the mosquito committee. Just click it on, make sure the small propane tank is burning, insert a pad and you are good for a long while. It is probably overkill, but would be great on camping trips.


Personal defense

Nothing beats Deep Woods Off with DEET in my opinion, but there are lots of choices out there. Walmart carries a kid-safe line of repellent products that seem to do an OK job for my kid. Just make sure you get 100% coverage with that stuff or the buggers will find the hole in the fence. I also recently tried the personal bracelets and it worked surprisingly well. Granted it was during the day, but I received two bites. I have yet to try it at dusk when the biting is in full force, but will report back.


It all starts in your yard

The first step in cutting down on mosquitoes is making sure your yard is clear of any standing water, even your hose. They can breed on leaves with rain water pooled in them. I tend to spray my yard once a month with chemicals that hook up to your hose. Spray down your yard and it really cuts down on the number of mosquitoes floating around. There are also traps you can set up that let out carbon dioxide and attracts them. Apparently they work well but I have yet to use one.

Keep your yard water free, set up as many repellents and traps as you feel comfortable with and your next backyard barbecue should be a lot less itchy afterward!