Nobody likes mosquitoes, and everyone wants to find ways to avoid getting these nasty flying insects to come near them – but sometimes, we don’t know what is attracting a mosquito to our homes or backyards. If you’re doing up your backyard and choosing what plants to add, you might wonder, do pine trees attract mosquitoes?
Unfortunately, the answer is that yes, pine trees do attract mosquitoes. Many bugs love pine trees and if you can avoid putting these in your yard, you may reduce the number of bugs that you see regularly, as there will be less to appeal to them without pine trees being present.
Why Do Pine Trees Attract Bugs Like Mosquitoes?
So, if mosquitoes and other bugs love pine trees so much, what’s the reason? Why do these trees pull mosquitoes in more effectively than many other trees?
Pine trees have a strong scent that many people love, and it might seem likely that this is what attracts the mosquitoes. However, this is not the case.
The reason that pine trees attract mosquitoes is nothing to do with the actual tree, but instead, the environment that the tree creates. Pine trees offer a damp environment, and mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in the water droplets. It is cool, dark, and sheltered within the tree, and this encourages the bugs to swarm around the pine trees.
Mosquitoes aren’t alone, either; you have probably seen clouds of bugs swarm around pines, especially in the late evening, when the light is fading and the insects are looking to lay their eggs.
Any standing water is appealing to insects that need to lay in the water, and if it’s liquid that they can’t drown in, it’s even better. Pine trees also provide a dark, humid place for the eggs, which will be reasonably well sheltered from predators that might eat them.
Pine trees make a great nursery for mosquito eggs and the eggs of other biting insects, so it might put you off having these trees in your yard.
What About Pine Needles?
Pine needles can equally trap water and create a safe spawning place for mosquitoes, so if you use the pine needles as mulch and it then rains, you may run into problems.
The pine needles are waxy and will hold their shape for quite some time, even once they have been laid, and this makes a long-term breeding space for mosquitoes to access throughout the season.
It is best not to use pine needles as mulch if you are worried about mosquitoes breeding in them. They will probably choose other options if these are available, but if not, pine mulch could still house mosquitoes if it becomes damp enough for long enough.
Why Else Do Pine Trees Lead To An Increase In Mosquitoes?
Pine trees often create a lot of shade. They are big, dense trees that can shade out large parts of the garden, and this will slow down the evaporation rate of any water standing in their shade.
This again creates more standing water in which the mosquitoes can spawn, because areas will remain damp for longer after a rain shower. You can’t do much to stop this, either; the tree’s shade is likely to be dense and there’s not much you can do to thin or reduce it.
What If I Really Like Pine Trees But Hate Mosquitoes?
So, what are your options when it comes to getting rid of mosquitoes? One of the most obvious steps is to not plant pine trees – but perhaps you really want them. After all, pine trees are beautiful, smell wonderful, and give backyards a wonderful maturity and mystery.
Where does that leave you? Well, you don’t have to go either “no pine” or “full pine.” There is an opportunity to work on an in-between here.
You may want to choose a dwarf pine tree for your yard. These are far smaller than the full-sized trees and they will give you a great alternative option to still enjoy the rich scent and deep, dark needles, without necessarily attracting so many bugs.
A dwarf pine will not hold onto moisture nearly as effectively as a full-size pine, because it simply doesn’t have as much mass. The water should evaporate out of it far more quickly, and this makes it less attractive to mosquitoes and other insects.
Furthermore, a dwarf pine will not create as much shade, which may help other areas in your garden to dry out better. You don’t have to worry as much about dishes that may have filled with rainwater sitting in the shade of the pine.
You may also be able to reduce the attractiveness of the pine tree by planting other plants around it. This would not really be possible with a full-size pine, because it is so huge you can’t hope to combat it with any other plants.
With a dwarf pine, however, you can plant lavender, basil, eucalyptus, marigolds, garlic, and other plants that mosquitoes hate, and this may help to deter the insects from coming in or at least balance out the attractiveness of the pine.
This probably isn’t a foolproof strategy, but it is likely to work more effectively for a dwarf pine than it is for a full-sized pine tree.
What If I Plant Pine Trees Far Away From My House?
This depends on the distance, of course, but be aware that no matter how far away you go, mosquitoes may still use the tree to breed in, and if they do, you may still be a target for the females to bite.
Only female mosquitoes bite, and usually only when they are going to breed. If the pine tree is far enough from your home that the distance becomes infeasible, the pine tree may not make any difference to the presence of these insects.
However, many species of mosquitoes can fly around one to three miles, and some can fly much greater distances than that. Saltmarsh breeder mosquitoes can fly an incredible one hundred miles in some circumstances, and while most mosquitoes won’t manage anything like that distance, they will certainly manage to fly to a pine tree near your home.
Putting the tree further away may slightly discourage mosquitoes, but it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to their behavior or ability to breed.
How Else Can You Deter Mosquitoes?
There are a few other things you can do to keep mosquitoes away or at least minimize the number of visitors you get in your home. The first involves growing some of the plants mentioned above, as these could really help to repel the biting insects and make them leave your home in peace.
You might be amazed how much landscaping your yard can make a difference to the number of biting insects you get, so think carefully and do some research before putting certain plants in.
The second tactic involves gathering up and removing bowls of water come dusk, or emptying these every few days. Many people are now aware of the importance of providing some very shallow bowls of water for insects to drink from in hot weather (especially bees), and this is a lovely thing to do, but you should empty these often.
Mosquitoes will breed in any standing water you find, so leaving bowls of water around your home is a sure way to attract mosquitoes and ensure that you end up with lots of mosquito larvae growing right by your home. Don’t do this!
If you have a pond or pool, make sure that you run the water during the mosquito breeding season. This will make it impossible for the insects to land to breed, and they will be unable to use the water as their base. If you leave the water still for any noticeable period, however, they will soon find it and make use of it.
You should also spend some time looking at other plants that attract mosquitoes and avoid planting these, especially if you have chosen to plant a pine tree. Any plants that can hold water are a further attraction to these insects.
Lady’s mantle is an obvious culprit for mosquito numbers, then, and so are some kinds of geraniums, as these can trap water on their leaves. Teasels are also problematic for this reason, as their spiny leaves form cups at the base, and this gives mosquitoes a protected pool in which to lay their eggs.
Try to think about removing or limiting standing water in the plants around your home, and mosquitoes will find it harder to breed.
The dampness and humidity caused by pine trees may attract mosquitoes, yes. They will lay in any standing water that they can access, including drops of humidity and any unevaporated water that is in your garden in the shade of the pine.
Pine trees might smell lovely and look beautiful, but they aren’t a great plant if you want to keep mosquitoes away from your home!