June 22, 2005 -- It's heating up around the country, and that means conditions are perfect for mosquitos. Many people have their own solution for dealing with this pesky problem. One Alaska man says one possible solution involves combining three household ingredients.
While it may sound crazy, he says his yard has been mosquito free since he sprayed it with the mixture.
Arnie Mason is a retired television and radio broadcaster. He hates mosquitos. So when his wife's co-worker suggested a remedy, he was all ears. "They have some property on a lake, their neighbors didn't have any mosquitos and they did, like crazy. There were swarms of them. They asked them, 'Well, what's the difference. How come we do and they don't?' They told them."
Now, Mason is trying the special brew. He says you can see the lush, green spots on his lawn where the special concoction was sprayed. "I've seen no effect, no detrimental effect to my lawn at all, the good effect is that we haven't had any mosquitos."
The recipe consists of three household ingredients: epsom salts, beer and Listerine. Mason combines a third of each in a garden sprayer, then wets everything in his yard. he was told one application lasts the season.
"I sprayed my bushes, I sprayed my tree, I sprayed my tree last week. It's still healthy. I sprayed that bush last week, it's still healthy. I sprayed my wife's flower garden, they're sprouting like crazy. The yard's still alive, and the front yard is showing the greatest improvement I think in growth."
The formula sounded odd to horticulturist Julie Riley. But she had good things to say about one of the ingredients. "Epsom salts contain magnesium which is a type of fertilizer so that would be healthy to plants in a small amount. The only research I've seen on beer, stale beer, has to do with attracting slugs so that they drowned and Listerine has a high alcohol content in it so that can't be good for plants."
"It seems to be healthy for the lawn and unhealthy for the bugs," added Mason.
So for now, mason plans to continue using the special brew to keep the pesky bugs at bay. As Masons says, "Try it. If it doesn't work then I'm sorry, but I've tried it and it works for me."
Julia Riley, the Horticulturist, says mosquitos tend to hide in the bushes or tall grass on a sunny day. She says they're not very prominent in a mowed lawn. And in case you're wondering, Mason says it doesn't matter what kind of beer you use.