6 Backyard DIY games

While our main focus at Mosquito Joe is making your outside fun again, the whole purpose is so that families can get outside and enjoy it!  We thought it would be fun to offer some great DIY options for backyard games, so you and your family can spend some time together enjoying your mosquito free yard.  Let’s start with some true Southern options.

Texas Horseshoes/Washers:

Also known as Redneck Horseshoes, this game started in Texas in the oil boom of the early 1900’s.  While a game of horseshoes involves tossing irons to wrap it around a stake, the Texan option has players throwing a 2.5” circular washer towards a board or to a hole in the ground.   This is a very easy DIY, requiring only two 4.5” sections of PVC driven into the ground, and a collection of washers. For more info just click here.

Cornhole:

This one requires a bit more work in the DIY department, although the resulting board will be with you for years.  Rather than reinventing the wheel, this post from A Wonderful Thought breaks it down perfectly, including detailed instructions and some great design ideas for you finished product.  

Beanbag toss:

Maybe you are not up for the construction of a cornhole board. You can take those beanbags and instead set up a game of beanbag toss.  All that’s required here is a bunch of paper plates, with points written on each. You can start with your closest plate at 10 points, and go all the way up to whatever you chose.  The game simply requires the player to land on a plate and they are awarded the points from that plate.

Backyard Yahtzee:

Great fun for kids, this just requires some cubes of wood and a permanent marker to make the dice. If you want to get a little more fancy, check out this post by Momstastic who burns the dots into herwood (which she gets at Michaels, pre-cut!).  

Bowling:

If you are up for some bowling, a great idea mentioned on several sites is to use some old water bottles, or soda bottles, as pins and throw a tennis ball into the mix instead of a bowling ball.  You can paint the bottles to look more like pins and feel good that you are recycling.

Backyard projector:

Often considered an expensive option, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t have to be.  Small projectors don’t run that much these days and can run off your laptop or phone to play a movie.  For the screen, you can use PVC pipe as a frame and attach projector screen material around it (you can buy the material by the yard as a fabric) or a white sheet if you want to go the most inexpensive route.  Another option is to hang the material as a curtain, weighted inside the bottom seam (we used chain) and with a magnetic strip in the side seam. When the curtains are closed the magnets seal the join, and the weights prevent movement and hey presto – your curtains become the screen.  We don’t have a link for this one as we did this one ourselves!

For a myriad of other ideas, you can check out this great article from DIYncrafts.

Whatever games you pick, please just remember two important things:

  1. Clean up your yard afterwards, and make sure all containers are turned upside down so they can’t collect water and make a home for mosquitoes.
  2. Have fun and enjoy that yard!
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Summer Fun

The heat of summer is upon us and summer vacations are in full force. We have all experienced that head-scratching moment as parents when we want to do something fun with the kids, but we need a little inspiration. This month Mosquito Joe has rounded up some fun things to do around the area in the hopes that you might find something appealing for your whole family. We also try and keep a good balance of outside fun and some ways to escape the sun while keeping everyone entertained.

Mosquito Control - Montgomery, TX - Mosquito Spraying for BackyardStarting off our tour in Conroe, we found this great blog full of ideas. From fishing and boating at Lake Conroe to camping in the Sam Houston National Forest and blueberry picking, there are some great ideas for day trips to keep your little ones (and maybe the adults) happy. We also want to give a shout out to the Wolfdog Project in Montgomery where Mosquito Joe keeps the wolves happy and bite free! They are always looking for volunteers and welcome visitors to meet the wolves.  You can also visit on a Saturday and help the volunteers there take them out for a walk.

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Heading south to Tomball, you can take the kids for a stroll down Main Street and stop in for some award-winning Texas craft BBQ, homemade desserts and ice cream. Visit theTomball historic railroad Depot and see the “0” scale T&W Model Railway and others, as well as visit all the delightful quaint stores along the way. There is something for everyone in Tomball and plenty of ways to spend the day.

Brenham never disappoints and is chock full of activities for old and young alike. The Texas Cotton Gin Museum is open from 10- 4 Tuesday through Saturday and offers tours from 10-2. You cannot miss the summer grape stomps at the Pleasant Hill Winery and the Windy Winery. Running the last two weekends, and every weekend in July respectively, it’s great fun for kids of all ages.  July is full of farmers’ markets, antique carousel rides, and concerts in the park. You can see all the events planned for Brenham here.

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With no less than 6 museums in Bryan/College Station, you have plenty of options for some out-of-the-sun activities.  Including the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Museum of the American GI, and the Brazos Valley Museum of National History, you can visit all kinds of exhibits. Grand Station Entertainment offers bowling, mini-golf and laser tag while the Spirit Ice Arena gives you the opportunity to really cool down with some ice-skating. If you want to get outside, consider and visit to the Kingsbury Blueberry Farm or Royalty Pecan Farm and make sure to bring your own basket or bucket. There are also plenty of outdoor concerts in Bryan, and for the Dad’s out there, don’t miss the 3rd annual Craft Beer Festival this month!Best Mosquito Control in Brenham - Mosquito Control Near Me - TX

If you are looking to head further afield how about watching the bats take off a dusk in Austin, or visit Sometimes Islands. You can visit this list of fun things to do in the State in July. However you chose to spend the month, we hope you create some wonderful summer memories for you and your family!

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Our Planet

Mosquito Joe - Earth Day - Love our EarthApril 22nd, 1970 marks the birth of Earth Day. Millions of people gathered to protest the negative impacts of industrial development on our planet. Since that time, Earth Day has grown into a movement with participation by over 192 countries and over one billion people. Earth Day this year is focusing on ending plastic pollution. Currently, 300 million TONS (yes, tons!) of plastic is produced each year, and only 10% of that is recycled. According to some sources, more plastic has been produced and used in the last decade than in the entirety of the 20th century. While the push to increase recycling continues, this year Earth Day Network is asking everyone to commit to reducing the use of plastics and instead switch to sustainable alternatives. You can learn more about pledging and committing to reduce waste by clicking here.

Houston has its own website for Earth Day where you can request more information, or you can like them on Facebook. Big changes start with each and every one of us, so get involved and start making an impact!

Speaking of making an impact, last year Mosquito Joe partnered with Nothing But Nets in their fight against malaria. For each Mosquito Joe | Nothing But Nets Partnershipnew customer serviced during Mosquito Control Awareness Week, Mosquito Joe donated $10 to Nothing But Nets. Each donation paid for an insecticide-treated net for a family in Sub-Sahara Africa. We collected $14,100 in donations as a company and raised over $20,000 with donation matching. That’s over 2,000 nets! You can read more about the partnership here.

World Malaria Day is April 25th, and what better time to reach out and make a donation! Every 2 minutes a child dies from malaria and nearly half the world’s population is at risk. Visit their website to learn more about Nothing But Nets. We look forward to continuing our work with them this year and with your help, plan on exceeding our donation from last year.

In keeping with our global outlook, we want to make mention of one last celebration this month! Arbor Day falls on April 27th this year. There are so many activities and ways to get involved that it would be impossible to list them all here. You can visit this link for information specific to Texas and find some local goings-on, including Montgomery, Conroe, Brenham and Bryan.

Mosquito Joe of NW Houston & S Brazos Valley - Arbor Day 2018Arbor Day has its roots in Nebraska when Julius Morton made his way there from Detroit. He became the editor of Nebraska’s first Newspaper and disseminated information on agriculture and trees to his audience. Pioneers who read his paper started planting trees to help protect them from the wind and to provide building material for their homes. These days, Arbor Day is recognized in all 50 states and looks to the future, rather than the past. Arbor Day is about recognizing the vital role that trees play in our world and the needs of future generations.

So this April, replace your plastics, donate a net and plant a tree! Together we can all make the world a better place.

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The Time for Gardening is Upon Us

If you are anything like us gardening starts in earnest this month! While our seeds have been germinating since last month, March is the best time to get outside and really make things happen. There are some really awesome (and free) sources on the web that can help. Check out this full list of veggies and the best dates to plant them and when to move those seeds outside organized by zip code.

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Start in early March by mowing your lawn, even if it doesn’t need it. Mowing will prevent weeds from flowering and re-seeding. You can fill any bare patches, but wait to feed your lawn until it is actively growing. This is also a great time to get those seedlings planted, particularly your herbs, allowing them some time to get established before the heat really hits.  It is also the best month to plant your fruit trees and shrubs and spring flowers.  Prune your roses and Crepe Myrtles, but be gentle. There are a lot of great “how-to’s” out there on how to do it right, and it doesn’t involve butchering the poor things.

Spring into Gardening

Most folks start off the spring gardening season by laying out fresh mulch. There is no doubt that this one update can make a dramatic visual improvement to your yard. But did you know that mulch is full of mosquito eggs? It’s not something we gave much thought to until we started Mosquito Joe, but mulch contains thousands of eggs.

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The first thing we do when the mulch goes down? We water it, unknowingly hatching all those eggs. Always let us know when you are preparing to put down new mulch. We will make notes in your service account and make sure the technicians treat that mulch for you to minimize the bites when you are outside gardening.

Another big preparation at our house is the annual unpacking of the Hummingbird feeders. We are up to about 20 at this point, and the number of Hummingbirds increases every year. March is the time to get those out – it may already be a bit late.  Visit this awesome Hummingbird tracker (you can even participate with your own sightings) to see when they are arriving in our area. Just make sure you don’t forget the other birds and load up your feeders.

We also recommend that you clean out your birdbaths and refresh the water. Remember that stagnant water is a great source for mosquitoes, so make sure you keep it refreshed. Our technicians will always dump (if they can lift it) and treat any birdbaths when they come, but keeping an eye on that water is best for the birds and for you.

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One of our favorite places to visit for plants, gardening inspiration and some great classes is The Arbor Gate. They have some great vegetable planting calendars, an inspirational blog, and even an app you can download that lets you calculate mulch needs, comes with a plant database and is chock full of how-to videos.

Whatever you are planting and planning this spring, we wish you a green thumb and hope you enjoy your time outside without those pesky mosquitoes ruining it!

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Jump Start Your Spring and Celebrate Mardi Gras

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February is the last month that we can actually wear a sweater in Houston before the arrival of spring (which in most parts would be referred to as a summer). And if any of you remember last year, you will remember that really didn’t happen. Most websites will tell you that we average 2 days of 80 plus temps in February. Looking back at 2017, we had 14 days of temperatures in the 80’s and hit a high of 88.

February is the perfect time to start your mosquito service with us. It gives us the opportunity to get a jump start on the population by treating the water and reducing the larvae in your yard. Since there is no product out there that can kill eggs, we have to break the life cycle of mosquitoes. The sooner we get started on that process the more you will be able to enjoy your yard come March.

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To that end, we have started offering our pre-pay specials. By pre-paying your services you can save between 10-15% and can relax for the remainder of the year knowing that you get outside and enjoy without being bitten. We never have any contracts and you are always free to leave with the assurance that you will receive a refund for the services you did not use. Our aim at Mosquito Joe is to make your outside fun again without locking you into a contract. We believe our service speaks for itself and the best customer is a happy one.

Speaking of happy, February is a great month for celebrations and this year proves to be no exception. Mardi Gras is coming up and this year promises to be the best yet. This year you can double the celebration with Valentines’ and extend your trip to cover both celebrations. Head to New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, February 13th, or go early to catch some of the earlier celebrations.  Check out this website for all the information on the parades and things going on in New Orleans. Fun fact, the first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans in 1837!

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If you want to stay closer to home, Mardi Gras Galveston has a ton of events and parades lined up. In fact, the first parade starts on the 2nd of February. Celebrations continue all the way to the 13th with plenty of offerings for adults and kids. Check out the Galveston Mardi Gras page for all the details. There is a gate fee, but once inside Galveston promises good availability for parking. Galveston has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1867 and the celebrations are rich with history.

Even if you don’t plan on heading out to see the parades, get yourself a King Cake and enjoy at home! Some great bakeries offer shipping and the flavor options are astounding. For a great list of recommended bakeries in New Orleans, check out this page.  Closer to home, visit the Montgomery Bakehouse and pick one up. Just make sure you leave room for those Valentine chocolates!!!

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