Have you ever wondered why it’s so common to see swarms of bugs and mosquitoes nearby pine trees? The answer isn’t so obvious, but it has to do with the environment of the trees, rather than the trees themselves.
The wet environment that pine trees naturally create is conducive for mosquitoes to lay their eggs in. Because of this reason, you are more likely to find mosquitoes near pine trees. Read on to learn more about environments prone to mosquitoes and how to naturally deter these pests.
Pine Trees in Your Garden
Do Pine Trees Attract Mosquitoes?
Pine trees themselves aren’t actually an attractor of mosquitoes. Many people believe that cedar trees – which are part of the pine family – attract mosquitoes. People also believe that cedar hedges (in the pine family) attract mosquitoes since mosquitoes tend to hang out nearby.
But the real reason that mosquitoes and other bugs swarm around this greenery is actually because of the moist environment they create.
Why Do Pine Trees Attract Mosquitoes?
Pine needles or pine straw coverage on the ground can trap in more moisture than the ground typically holds. Standing or stagnant water attracts mosquitoes because it makes an ideal place for them to lay eggs.
So, the more moisture in your yard, such as standing water, means mosquitoes are more likely. Pine straw mulch, in particular, can create an environment prone to mosquitoes.
Pine tree and hedge coverage also create more shade over the ground, which can cause standing water to evaporate less quickly. As we just established, standing water attracts mosquitoes, so more shade could potentially mean more breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Additionally, having many of these shaded trees in close proximity to one another creates an even moister environment. The increased humidity of lots of trees close together also creates an inviting environment for mosquitoes.
Do All Pine Trees Attract Mosquitoes?
Pine trees in general aren’t the thing attracting the mosquitoes, but rather, the moist environment they create. Therefore, it’s safe to say that any pine tree creating enough shade and moisture retention for standing water to pool up will attract mosquitoes.
So, if you were thinking that you could still get that evergreen look with your trees without the mosquitoes, think again. Note, however, that you can do some things to reduce the number of mosquitoes.
Consider Fewer or Smaller Pine Trees to Alleviate the Problem
Consider pruning back your pine trees in spring (you shouldn’t prune them in summer or fall) so that they don’t create as much shade coverage.
Additionally, if you’re in the position of buying new pine trees to plant on your property, consider getting dwarf varieties of the trees since they will require less maintenance. Some examples of dwarf varieties include the following:
- Mugo pine trees
- Dwarf cypress trees
- Dwarf balsam fir trees
- Dwarf serbian spruce trees
- Dwarf pencil point junipers
- Dwarf alberta spruce trees
Some of these small varieties can even be grown in containers or pots, minimizing the space they take up and reducing shade.
Also, the smaller they are, the less shade they create, which likely means less standing water beneath them. This will decrease the chances of them creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
How Can You Safely Take Care of Mosquitoes Near Pine Trees?
There are several environmentally friendly and natural methods you can use to safely ward off mosquitoes. Consider using these topical and natural treatments when you plan to spend time around pine trees (where mosquitoes may gather) or plant the appropriate flora nearby your pines in order to ward off mosquitoes.
Eco-Friendly Ways to Ward Off Mosquitos
There are two main eco-friendly pesticides to ward off mosquitoes – citronella and pyrethrin. Both of them are safer for the environment because they’re natural and break down easily. On the other hand, natural substances like lavender make good bug repellents, and smoke also deters bugs.
Pyrethrin is from chrysanthemum flowers and works as an insecticide by targeting insects’ nervous systems. It also kills ants, flies, fleas, and moths but is a particularly useful and natural insecticide for mosquitoes.
When using pyrethrin as a mosquito repellent, you can use it as a store-bought insecticide, or you can use it in its natural form by planting chrysanthemum flowers nearby.
Just make sure you wash your skin that comes in contact with pyrethrin, as it can be irritating.
Citronella is one of the most natural options when it comes to anti-mosquito bite substances. You can use citronella in the form of citronella plants, oil-burning citronella torches, or even citronella candles. They have a semi-pleasant odor, so a lot of people like to use them for bug-deterrents.
Note, however, that citronella oil will evaporate quickly (the effect doesn’t last as long), and using too much of it can be irritating to your skin.
Also, smoke, in general, can ward off bugs to a certain extent since they don’t like to be near the heat. Smoke is a natural insect repellent, so making a campfire and staying in its general vicinity can be useful in that sense.
Additionally, consider other safe sources of smoke for your backyard environment, such as candles and decorative torches to keep mosquitoes at bay.
You can also use lavender to ward off mosquitoes since the aroma is a deterrent to the bug. Make use of lavender in the form of lavender plants or oils to put on your skin.
Have you gotten the advice to plant marigolds in your garden to deter pests? Well, as it turns out, this type of flower works well to naturally deter mosquitoes.
Lemon and Lemon-Related Plants
Lemon, as a scent in general, is a great deterrent for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes do not like the smell of lemon, so lemon balm works well to deter the pests.
Additionally, plants that have a lemon aroma, such as lemon-scented geraniums, lemon eucalyptus, lemon thyme, lemongrass, and lemon verbena work well.
Tea Tree Oil
Some people believe tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, works as a mosquito repellent. It is even included in some bug sprays.
Neem oil is another natural insect repellent that isn’t 100% effective but does provide some protection from biting bugs for several hours. While you should not use this product on your skin due to irritation, you can use the aroma to deter mosquitoes.
The smell of mint can ward off bugs similarly to lavender and citronella. Consider planting some potted mint plants to ward off mosquitoes.
Warding Mosquitoes Away from Pines
Since we established that pine trees attract mosquitoes when they trap in excess water, knowing how to get rid of that water will help ward off the mosquitoes.
Clearing out excess pine needles from beneath the trees can reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Additionally, cutting down weeds and other vegetation nearby the wet areas beneath pine trees can reduce the surfaces where standing water pools up.
More Tips for Making an Environment That Mosquitoes Won’t Like
Another way to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your personal environment is to make one that isn’t conducive to mosquitoes laying eggs. Mosquitoes lay eggs nearly every three nights, so this part of the life cycle is frequent.
Finding moisture to lay eggs in, as we mentioned above, is a high priority. This means that if you reduce the amount of standing water in your yard overall, you can reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes settling in.
Here Are Some Ways to Reduce Standing Water:
- Avoid watering your lawn
- Avoid planting water hyacinths, water lettuce, Taro, water lilies, papyrus, and other water-pooling plants
- Empty stagnant water from basins like empty plant plots, birdfeeders, birdbaths, non-running fountains, and buckets
- Mow your lawn on a regular basis to keep it less moist
- Remove weeds on a regular basis
Getting Rid of Already Formed Mosquito Larvae
In some cases, you may not be able to get rid of standing water sources before mosquitoes make their way to them to lay eggs.
In these instances, you need a plan B. Once mosquito larvae have already formed in stagnant water, you might consider adding a thin layer of vegetable oil to the water. This substance can smother the larvae before they have a chance to turn into full-grown mosquitoes.
If you do this, however, be sure to be careful to dispose of it properly so that it doesn’t impact the natural environment.
If You Can’t Dry Up Your Environment…
And, if you can’t reduce the stagnant water in your outdoor environment, consider spending time outside when the weather has been dryer in order to avoid mosquito bites.
It is commonly believed that pine trees and plants in the pine family attract mosquitoes. It’s important to note, however, the true source of mosquito attraction – stagnant water and moisture that has a tendency to gather near pine trees due to their thickness and shade coverage.
To deter mosquitoes from laying eggs and swarming near your pines, be sure to remove sources of standing water in your yard or garden, plant mosquito-repellant plants, and use natural insect repellents like citronella lavender, mint, and more.