Right now I am in Jakarta (planning on returning to the US sooner or later) and of course mosquitos are a problem over here.

The common method over here to control mosquitos is to spray airborne insecticides frequently to kill mosquitos in the house. We do what we can, with a single small fan-driven indoor bugzapper but given that all electricity here is coal-fired would like to try to minimize this as well. I have tried using dried zodia leaves which seem to be mildly effective, and we keep fish and turtles in a pond out back. Is there anything more we can do to reduce the chemical and electrical load of this?


Install mosquito nets in your windows and/or doors. This can be done very low-tech of course. (I.e. tape a net to your window.) But on the high-tech end, houses in Japan have nets in every window and most doors. Depending on the type of window, different models can be installed. Frames that open like a window, frames that open like a sliding door, etc. I like the models, which folds the net as you pull it to the side.

I think a sustainable solution may create a better balance in your garden, but balance doesn't mean no mosquitoes. You can reduce the breeding grounds for mosquitoes by making sure you have nothing where water collects. (In Brazil, this is even regulated by law as preventative measure against dengue.) If you collect rainwater, keep fish in that tank, too. But to not get stung in the house, you need to make sure mosquitoes just don't get inside.

Incense are another solution, but (1) they don't work as well and (2) I am not sure how healthy it would be to breathe incensed air all day long. There are also little diffusers, which you plug into the wall. They work extremely well, but I am not sure how healthy they are, as some (most?) models also emit ultrasonic waves. (Of course, if you weigh possible effects of ultrasonic waves against possible tropical disease, the plug diffuser may win.) These diffusers use about 5W, so turning them on (for 2hs, say) in a room with open doors and turning them off before you sleep with closed doors might be on the sustainable end.

  • For the record I may have had Dengue a year or so ago. It was not fun. – Chris Travers Feb 18 '13 at 15:10
  • I'm sorry to hear that. A friend of mine also had Dengue. Whatever you do, don't get Dengue. – Earthliŋ Feb 18 '13 at 15:24
  • It's not unheard of for people to get it even 3-4 times. Of course subsequent times are riskier, but the standard advice is worth committing to memory: stay hydrated, use medicines to bring down the fever if you must, and watch for signs of low blood pressure or bleeding. Apparently hemorragic fever risk goes way up with dehydration. – Chris Travers Feb 18 '13 at 15:26
  • Thanks for the pointers. I am living on Dengue grounds now. You are supposed to be resistant to the particular strain of Dengue if you had it once, though, and to all strains for a short period of time. I'm curious to know if that's true, although not curious enough to try find out first hand... – Earthliŋ Feb 18 '13 at 15:33
  • The problem is that all strains of Dengue are now found everywhere any strain is :-P BTW, it was one of the two sickest times of my life. Not fun. – Chris Travers Feb 18 '13 at 15:49

One method that I've found very effective here in Alberta: Permanent wetlands. Mosquitoes here tend to lay their eggs in whatever body of water they find. Wetlands attract them. If a wetland is wet year round it soon establishes a population of mosquito predataors. I had occasion to add a 1/3 acre pond. My mosquito population dropped by 90%. We went from it being insufferable to be in the yard after supper to it being only a minor nuisance, easily controlled with citronella.

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