Spring, can you hear me?

The weather has been nuts here but I'm over winter and ready to go outside.  Last year I got all the major furniture pieces all ready to go just in time to be forced back indoors by the Zika threat (since I was very pregnant at the time).  This year I'll just need to do some sprucing and planting and it will be spring ready.  Now if only the weather would cooperate!




I always struggle with accessories - I don't like a lot of clutter but I also want it to look finished. Anyone have some outdoor accessories they just love to share?

Our biggest problem back here is mosquitos.  You would think living in a big city would mitigate that but for reasons I don't quite understand, its mossy city back here.  I've tried all kinds of things but few things work for long.  What does everyone else use for bug control?  I'd rather not have to douse ourselves in bug spray every time we step outside.

43 comments:

  1. What about adding something you can put a screen around when it is bug season?

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    1. I guess I could but that sort of defeats the purpose of being outside. Plus no way could I keep the kids in a confined space easily.

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  2. We purchased a mosquito killer from Front Gate. They come in different models based on your yard size. We purchased a small one just for our patio. It seemed to work with lots of candles.

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    1. Thanks Cathy. Do you recall which model you have?

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    2. DYNATRAP® 1250 WITH STAND they also have other models. Ours was black but now they have bronze. They also have other items that might help. The bugs love me too.

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    3. Thank you! Im reading up on that one - seems that I have to leave it on 24/7 all season long. Is that what you did?

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    4. Yes, I'm sure I did. It didn't use much energy that I noticed. I only unplugged it when I knew a storm was coming. I have a big flower bed next to our patio and I hid it in the flowers. It didn't bother the bees though.

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  3. We bought a net that covers the umbrella so at least we don't get bitten while we dine outside. Other than that when the mosquitos come out we go in.
    Although it is the middle of March we are expecting a massive snow storm of 12-18 inches tomorrow. That's just crazy!! I want spring NOW.

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    1. We don't eat outside that often, its more for playing with the kids. So the net doesn't really work unless we cover the whole backyard. But in that case, I might as well stay inside :)

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  4. There are plants that are natural mosquito repellents, like lemongrass. Maybe a couple pots of flowers on patio or table would help?

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    1. I've tried lemongrass and lavender. Lemongrass did nothing for our type of mosquito. Lavender seemed to do a little bit if I stayed within a foot of the plant. So I'll plant that again this year. But definitely not enough to allow us to enjoy being outside.

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  5. We finally broke down and got professionally spraying. Our is supposedly organic but honestly, our yard was unusable before. Lanterns are my favorite outdoor accessory - especially with battery operated candles!

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    1. Thanks Melissa. How long did the professional spraying help? Wondering if it lasts the whole season or its something that has to be done weekly?

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    3. We also do professional spraying. We do it twice a season. Once in maybe March or April, and again in like July or August.

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  6. We had a little backyard in BK and we would bring fans outside whenever we attempted to use the space. Now that we are in NJ, I think we are going to try get it professionally sprayed this summer as well- really it gets to be unusable the farther into summer we go...I just really wonder how 'safe' this allegedly safe spray is??

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    1. It seems counter intuitive that a inspect repellent could really be safe but I think I'll take my chances over being eaten alive! I'm just not sure how much even professional spraying helps.

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    2. I've heard that it actually can last several years, although obviously it wears off over time. Typically I think you get sprayed annually, and the protection actually builds up and gets stronger if you continue to do it annually? It all seems counterintuitive to me , but I think we are going to take our chances!

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    3. Thanks Kayla. I guess I should call around and see what options are out there.

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  7. Peppermint oil - buy the 365 brand from Whole foods, then soak a rag with water and a few drops of peppermint oil - place is a pretty jar and place around the patio - I actually use cleaned baby food jars, so you can reuse the lid. Works like a charm!! Also, dryer sheets tucked into your pocket or tied on the back of baby pants works well.

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    1. Peppermint oil doesn't seem to do a thing for us. I think we have a particularly tough species of mosquito living in my backyard :)

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  8. We've had luck with the OFF lanterns on our deck. I did get a little concerned about what we might be breathing in so we only do it occasionally. If we aren't going to be out there too long, I've also used fans. Last year we needed to replace our deck so we added a screened room because we wanted to be able to sit outside to eat and read. We have a small creek nearby so fighting them is an endless battle.

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    1. I had those OFF lanterns burning all last year and they didn't seem to make a dent! If I stayed super close to one it helped a little but that just made the kids a bigger target. I need something that will get rid of them in the entire yard (even such a thing even exists!)

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  9. Mosquito dunks...they look like little donuts. They contain a bacterial larvacide. They go in any standing water. You think you don't have it but it's there somewhere. Biggest culprit in your urban environment is outdoor drains that are catching runoff. You can tie them to the drain and drop them onto the surface of the water. You will need to recruit the neighbors and maintain them, they dissolve slowly so they will need to be replaced every couple of months. They are not toxic - can even be put in fishponds. Not perfect but it will help - stopping the SOURCE of your torment is your best option - it's birth control for pests!

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    1. Thanks TexasChelle. I had never heard of these so I will definitely look into it. As you can see, we don't have an obvious sources of water but we do have a drain so maybe that's where they are coming from? We have a lot of neighbors so recruiting them all to put some chemical in their drain seems pretty unlikely. Will it do anything if I'm the only one doing it?

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    2. It's not a chemical - it's a bacteria that loves to eat larvae - US EPA approves it as organic. If you can see water in the drain, no matter how low (get out that flashlight), it may be a source - "mosquitoes usually lay their eggs at night over a period of time sticking them together to form a raft of from 100 to 300 eggs. A raft of eggs looks like a speck of soot floating on the water and is about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide." Yuck - even a few mosquitoes will ruin a party!
      The bigger a perimeter you can build, the better, so recruiting your neighbors is just a win/win - maybe they have the same problem.

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  10. Just looked online - looks like it now comes in granules too - Granular Biological Mosquito Control - great for a quick sprinkle on standing water that isn't contained.

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  11. When we lived in Jersey City, our neighbors swore by this brand of bug zapper (available in various sizes based on the size of your space)
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Flowtron-1-Acre-Mosquito-Killer-with-Mosquito-Attractant-BK40DK/100326059?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D28O-OutdoorGarden%7c&gclid=Cj0KEQjwhpnGBRDKpY-My9rdutABEiQAWNcslAdwfDCGfMnQAY-0dpiajE96-zzMh7Erff3Kcs__QuUaAhYT8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I'll check it out. Bug zappers haven't worked that well for us but maybe this one is different?

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    2. I can vouch that the flowtron works well. The biggest thing we learned is make sure you are getting the right bait for the type of mosquitos you have. We get two based on our research. Lurex and octenol3. We also use the thermacell with great success. Very few bug bites with those two ...even though we back up to a huge woods with a swamp

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  12. My favorite accessory and bug repellent is the industrial standing fan I inherited from my mother. You do have to bring it indoors for the night, but it keeps the mosquitos away and keeps us cool all summer long. I also have an outdoor metal bookcase that I load up with plants. Last but not least they make rechargeable lamps that look exactly like outdoor lamps but you can leave outside.

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    1. A fan works if I stand in front of it but not a great solution to keep the kids bite free. They have a pesky habit of wanting to wander all over the yard!

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  13. If peppermint oil works (an that I do not know) why not dot yourself and the kids clothing with it. Many years ago Avon Skin-so-Soft was supposed to be effective. Citronella oil is what they use in mosquito repellant candles but I wonder if they use enough in pre-made candles to be effective. Try online plant suppliers for citronella plants and plant them around the yard. Living in south Florida on a "lake" (fancy word for the drainage canal in most FL neighborhoods) I feel your pain for sure, but the weather is usually still so hot at night we don't spend much time outside anyway and during the day, well, you'd have to be out of your mind to spend anytime outside unless you were at the beach, in the pool or on a boat. Boo hoo. Our great weather is coming to an end and we will be trapped indoors till October.

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    1. Peppermint oil didn't do a thing for us. Maybe some types of mosquitos aren't a fan of it but not the kind we have. Citronella candles and/or plants don't seem to do much either.

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  14. I love reading these comments because we get eaten alive outside and it makes it no fun. Off to check out some of these products.

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  15. If you don't want to use a repellent that contains deet you can get a machine that omits carbon dioxide. Plants and candles won't deter mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to humans because of co2 and the warmth we omitt. Our precious children running around the yard getting heated up and breathing heavily are a prime target. There are several machines on the market that claim to clean an area of up to 1 acre of the pests. Search Google for "co2 mosquito trap." I'd hate for you and the family not to be able to enjoy your lovely outdoor retreat. Vikki in VA

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    1. Yes, I'm going to try one this year. I'm not opposed to using DEET, I just find it very annoying to have to spray us all down to enjoy the backyard. Kinda makes me want to stay inside. Hopefully the C02 trap will work well.

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    2. I think I might need to check out the CO2 Mosquito trap. I live in an urban area too, but the mosquitoes love both me and my eldest daughter. It's just awful, so I feel your pain.

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  16. Do you like the outdoor dining table from World Market (San Remo)? I'm thinking of buying it and wondering how it holds up. Thanks!

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    1. Yes I do like it. I haven't done a full inspection of it post the elements (we leave it out all winter long fully exposed to the cold and snow b/c we have no where else to put it) but so far so good. I should be able to say with more certainty in a month's time. If you want to email me then, feel free.

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  17. Here in buggy Florida we have a service called Mosquito Nix https://mosquitonix.com/. One of their options is a misting system, controlled by a timer, that rings the perimeter of your yard and periodically emits a botanical insecticide. I think it's a national franchise. It's the only thing I've seen that really works.

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  18. I would have to agree that I am ready to usher summer in, although I am sure we are due for another large snow storm here in Colorado. I really love that the home decor you chose for the yard creates a calming milieu.

    Charlotte Lindsay | www.MaelModernDecor.com

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  19. You could try putting one of those lamps that kill bugs... Or planting some anti-mosquito plants?...
    I can't do without a nice, comfortable chair with big pillows :)
    Kate @Leather cleaning

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