Simple tips to help you get rid of those pesky mosquitoes in your backyard

BALTIMORE - Not only is the hot weather and humid conditions make it hard to enjoy the summer sometimes in Baltimore, being in the backyard is tough this time of year thanks to those pesky mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes not only bug you when you are enjoying the outdoors, they can also carry health concerns. However, there are ways you can minimize mosquitoes in your yard, so they don't ruin your outdoor fun.

"This time of year it can be almost impossible to enjoy your backyard if you have mosquitoes," says Angie Hicks from Angie's list. "And it's important you don't ignore that problem because they can carry the west nile virus. You want to take precautions to protect your family."

Hicks points out there are some simple things you can do to try and cut-down on the number of mosquitoes you have buzzing around.

First of all, get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so once a week empty water from items like kiddie pools, bird baths, buckets, old tires, anything where water is just standing around.

You also want to make sure you clean out items like your gutters and even check your lawn and landscaping for any place that has standing water.

"Keep your yard well trimmed," says Hicks." Have the yard mowed regularly, keep the plants from overgrowing because all of those things will help to minimize mosquitoes."

You also should check the screens in your windows and doors for holes or any gaps around your doors and windows. Mosquitoes can easily get into your home through any holes or gaps, so make sure you get them repaired.

Now, if you have tried all of those items and the mosquito problem just won't go away, you may have to call in a professional. However, be careful because hiring a professional usually means the use of insecticides. So, before hiring a professional, do your research and make sure you ask questions.

Hicks says you want to make sure you know what they are going to do to take care of the mosquitoes. "What kind of pesticides are they going to use for the project and are they going to be safe to have around your family, kids, even your pets?."

Having a professional take care of the problem will certainly make it easier for you. However, before hiring a professional understand the mosquito problem you are dealing with, may not actually be yours to begin with.

"If your yard is pretty baron of vegetation and resting sites for mosquitoes and your neighbors is over grown and kind of looks like center american jungle they are the ones who actually need the service," says Scott Robbins, Technical Director for a pest control company. "You aren't going to benefit from (the service) much because they are going to keep coming over and visiting you from next door."

Now, if you do want to hire a pest control company, Angie Hicks from Angie's List does suggest the following tips.

1. When hiring a company to apply chemicals, ask if it's safe to use around children, pets and plants; ask to see the label of the product.
2. Is the technician certified to use chemicals?
3. Inquire how often the company will come out to apply the chemicals. Is it a regular or one-time treatment?
4. All details should be clearly stated in a contract before you sign the dotted line, including whether the company offers a guarantee.

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