Many bamboo lovers in the United States do not realize that bamboo is an invasive species in our country. It was brought over from China in 1882, as it was thought that it would be decorative and useful. Both of those things can be true while also accepting the fact that a foreign plant can cause problems as well.
Bamboo is attractive to mosquitoes and not this irritating bug but also to ants, termites, wasps, and even flies. The reason is that bamboo produces carbohydrates and sweet, sugary material. The only way to repel mosquitoes from your bamboo is by outside means.
It’s either that or get rid of your bamboo altogether. There is no denying that bamboo is an exotic and lovely addition to any yard. But, if you want to be bug-free and maintain bamboo, you will have to use various methods to control the problem.
Why Does Bamboo Attract Mosquitoes?
Bamboo is not a traditional plant, like the flowers that you keep in pots or grow around your garden. It’s more akin to wood that you get from trees than anything else. In fact, hardwood floors and even decks are manufactured out of pure bamboo because of their strength and resilience.
The type of wood that bamboo is makes all the difference. It is full of carbohydrates, starch, and sugars, all of which attract various bugs, including mosquitoes. Bugs need nutrients too. For the most part, bamboo attracts aphids, mealybugs, beetles, termites, and spider mites.
Mosquitoes are certainly attracted to bamboo, but they don’t exactly settle down and start a life cycle within the wood itself. They’ll just hang out until you come into the backyard and start messing around with the lawn mower or something, then they descend in a furious swarm.
The other bugs that do prefer to set up their living room inside of your bamboo will eventually breed, spread, and take over. They will also do severe damage to the bamboo before they decide to haul up stakes and take their party elsewhere.
Fortunately, getting rid of all of the bugs that are trying to infest your bamboo will also get rid of the mosquitoes as well. If you use the right repellants, you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone or, more like a thousand birds with a single stone.
How to Get Rid of the Mosquitoes and Other Bugs
Fortunately, there is not a single approach only methodology at play here. There are several ways to get rid of mosquitoes, along with all of the other bugs attempting to set up shop in your bamboo thicket.
Mow Your Lawn
Sure, it’s hot outside and the grass is turning into a veritable jungle, but you should probably consider mowing your grass, especially where it comes close to the bamboo. Bugs prefer a little bit of shielding, after all.
Mowing the grass, all the way around your bamboo, will remove some of that security blanket and allow some more air to get in amongst your bamboo plants. Mowing your lawn is not the end-all solution, however, but more like a first step.
Pressure Wash the Area
No, don’t cut your bamboo down with the ferocity of your supercharged water. What you can do, is pressure washing anything around your bamboo plants. While you’re at it, put some reasonably strong laundry detergent powder because bugs absolutely loathe the stuff.
They will vacate the premises immediately and you should make a habit of it, mowing regularly and pressure washing the area once every two weeks. Be careful not to leave any standing water anywhere, as that is another major attractant for mosquitoes.
Dilute some horticultural oil with water and thoroughly hose down your bamboo trees. Be sure to cover them from top to bottom, without missing anything. You should especially concentrate on the leaves, which serve as an entry point for most of your bug infestations.
Another good repellant is a combination of peppermint oil and water. However, you really need to tone down the peppermint to something like a 1:5 ratio of peppermint to water. You don’t want the stuff to be too strong because it will end up doing more harm than good.
Peppermint oil has a strong scent and is a highly effective repellant, but that strong scent will also end up burning your plants if you apply it at a highly potent level.
Throw in Some Plants That Bugs Hate
In the same way that you would use peppermint oil to drive out the bugs and mosquitoes, you can also plant mint and other strong-smelling plants that are repulsive to most forms of insect life. Since we already know that peppermint will drive away mosquitoes, planting peppermint will have the same effect while lasting much longer.
Citronella is not just a chemical that you can burn in a tiki torch. It also happens to be something that you can plant. They grow very well in most environments and emit a pleasant if not outstanding smell that mosquitoes simply loathe.
Catnip is another good one and if you have cats well, so much the better. Once again, the effect is entirely olfactory and mosquitoes really won’t appreciate it if you plant several catnip plants around your bamboo patch.
There are several additional plants that you should consider planting as well, including the following:
- Lemon Balm
- Lantana Camara
- American Beautyberry
A combination of several of these plants will not only improve the aesthetics of your garden area and bring some color to your bamboo patch, but it will also drive off several of the most irritating bugs that you can imagine, including mosquitoes.
All Things Considered
Mosquitoes will be very attracted to your bamboo thicket, not to build homes, but just because they are attracted to the area. This is bad news for you. If you want to have bamboo in your yard without mosquitoes, you will have to take a proactive and preventative approach.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.