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How to Make Homemade Organic Mosquito Yard Spray

Marlene enjoys being outside. But, outdoor pests can ruin the most enjoyable moments. Marlene shares common tips to help get rid of pests.

organic-mosquito-yard-spray

Gardening is my favorite pastime because of how much I enjoy spending time in the yard. However, nothing ruins that enjoyment more than being bitten by a mosquito. So I determined that they needed to go, and I wanted to repel them naturally.

A gardening friend, understanding my desire to use safe and organic products, recently shared this wonderful mosquito repellent with me. The following slightly minty smelling and organic mixture can be sprayed throughout the yard to repel the flying pests. The spray is very easy to make (dissolving the salt will probably take the longest). A little separation is completely normal. Just give the bottle a shake before spraying. You can also dilute essential oils that mosquitoes don't like in the mixture.

In my experience, one spraying lasts for about two and a half months before needing to be sprayed again. My friend can’t remember where she found this solution, but she's been using successfully for years. I am happy she shared it with me. And I am happy to share this organic mosquito repellent with you.

This organic solution for repelling mosquitoes has worked really well for me—and I hope it works equally as well for you.

I tried it! It works!

These are all of the supplies and ingredients that you'll need to make the mosquito spray at home!

These are all of the supplies and ingredients that you'll need to make the mosquito spray at home!

How to Make DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent

Supplies

  • 2 (24-ounce) spray bottles
  • Spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Funnel

Ingredients

  • 16-ounce bottle of mint-flavored mouthwash (I used PerioBrite)
  • 3 cups Epsom salt (I used lavender and eucalyptus scented)
  • 3 stale 12 oz. beers (I used Budweiser)

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients together in the large bowl and then mix with the spoon until the Epsom salt is dissolved.
  2. Use the funnel to pour the solution into the spray bottles.
  3. Spray all around the yard, especially anywhere you plan to be outside.

Note

This recipe will produce approximately 8 Cups (64 ounces) of solution. If you let the Epsom salt dissolve completely it will displace some of the volume, thus, producing a mere 64 ounces versus 72 ounces of volume. I recommend letting the Epsom salt dissolve completely so that it sprays out more evenly.

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I found that it is easier to handle the smaller 24-ounce bottle of solution instead of handling the larger (heavier) bottle.

This solution will not harm your yard. In fact, some gardeners say the Epsom salt helps the grass grow greener. But I would not spray it directly on flowering plants. Instinct tells me it might be too harsh for the flowers. Mosquitoes will stay away for about two and a half months. That’s almost a whole summer!

What Are the Best Ingredients/Supplies to Buy?

  • Spray Bottles: You can find spray bottles at stores like Walmart; however, the easiest place to find spray bottles in just about any size is Amazon. They offer inexpensive and fast delivery. If you want to cover a large area quickly, you might consider one of those pressure sprayers. You can pick up a decent one for as little as $15 and save your hands a lot of work in the process.
  • Mouthwash: Look for a mouthwash that boasts its organic qualities. Make sure it is mint flavored because mosquitoes do not like the scent of mint. Also, be sure the mouthwash is alcohol-free because mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol. I shopped online and was able to find an organic mouthwash through a health-related store.
  • Epsom Salt: Any Epsom salt will work fine. I just happened to have Epsom salt with lavender and eucalyptus. So I just used that.
  • Beer: Do not spend a lot of money on beer because any beer will work fine. I have seen cheap off-brand beer at the Dollar General for as low as 75 cents per can.

Note

Non-alcoholic beer is still beer. By law, in the United States, brewers are allowed to label beer as non-alcoholic if it contains less than or up to 0.5% of alcohol by volume (ABV). Remember, mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol. So, because of the fact that non-alcoholic beer has alcohol, it is always best to allow beer to sit on the shelf and become stale (allowing the alcohol to evaporate) before using in this solution.

Other Natural Ingredients That Work as Mosquito Repellants

  • Lemon eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Marigold
  • Thyme oil
  • Cedar
  • Catnip oil
  • Anise
  • Soybean oil
  • Fennel
  • Citronella
  • Cloves
  • Tea tree oil
  • Geraniol
  • Mint
  • Tansy
  • Neem oil
  • Celery extract
I didn't spray it directly on flowering plants.

I didn't spray it directly on flowering plants.

Are Bees Harmed by Beer, Mouthwash, and Epsom Salt?

After reading a number of gardening guides, scientific journals, and visiting various forums related to bee care, I discovered that the organic mosquito repellent presented in this article, for the most part, is harmless to bees.

Please note: Bees can get drunk from consuming too much alcohol. While the repellent recipe here contains beer, it also contains mouthwash. Bees do not like mouthwash. So if you spray this solution in your yard, it is likely the bees will simply stay away from the areas that are sprayed with the solution. Regarding Epsom salt, scientists have discovered that Epsom salt is safe for bees.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopicts), also known as the Zika virus mosquito.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopicts), also known as the Zika virus mosquito.

The Dangers of Mosquito Bites

A report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides compelling information about the dangers of mosquito bites, indicating that mosquito bites account for several million deaths every year. Two prominent bite-related health concerns are malaria and the Zika virus.

Malaria

The World Health Organization states that about 3.2 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria, a life-threatening but treatable disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through bites of infected mosquitoes. According to WHO, about 90% of the reported cases are in Africa. Contracting malaria in the US is pretty rare, according to the CDC. There were only 1,724 confirmed cases of it in the US in 2014 (compare that to the millions of cases in some other countries).

The CDC notes that symptoms can appear anywhere from 7-30 days after infection (called the incubation period). Signs can seem somewhat innocuous at first, including fever-like symptoms, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting. These signs usually appear ten to fifteen days after an infected bite. In severe cases, malaria can result in a coma or even death. Antimalarial treatments do exist and can delay the appearance of symptoms, including symptoms in people who took preventative medicines (such as a tourist planning to visit a region known to have many occurrences of the disease).

There are vaccines and treatments available for malaria if you can catch it early enough. One of the tough things about this disease is that extreme symptoms can occur in a matter of hours or days, which potentially isn't enough time to realize the person is infected—let alone get treatment for it. According to WHO's annual world malaria report for 2016, there were approximately 216 million malaria cases of which 445,000 resulted in death.

For signs, symptoms, and treatment of the Zika Virus, read the fact sheet published by the World Health Organization

Zika Virus

As of July 20, 2016, the World Health Organization reported that 65 countries and territories have reported evidence of Zika virus transmissions since 2007, and some of them have been reported in my local area in northern California.

The Zika virus is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Common symptoms are mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, headache, and possible death. Some notable rare complications are microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurological complications. When pregnant women are bitten, the virus can be transferred to their fetuses, which can result in birth defects. There is currently no treatment for the virus.

Mosquito Bite Allergies

Most people have mild allergic reactions to mosquito bites. But sometimes people can have severe reactions. Many authorities, including the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), suggest that the most effective solution to ward off mosquitoes is to use mosquito repellent products that contain DEET. Personally, I prefer to shy away from using products that contain chemicals of which I am not familiar. However, I am realistic. I don’t like being bit by mosquitoes; at the same time, I don’t like taking chances with my health and well-being. The chance of being bit by a mosquito and contracting a harmful disease outweighs any apprehension I have against using products containing DEET. I am smart, and I concede to using products that contain DEET if they are the only solutions at my disposal. It is better to be safe than sorry. And then again, the use of DEET is recommended by authorities who know more than me about repelling mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes And Alcohol

Please note that mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of alcohol and that is the main reason the beer must be stale. You want the alcohol content in the beer to be low or completely evaporated or this mosquito repellent solution will not work.

Please consider that if you are in the yard consuming alcoholic beverages, the mosquitoes will be attracted to you, regardless of how much you do to ward them off.

I have had great success with this mosquito repellent solution and to keep the mosquitoes away from me, I avoid consuming alcoholic beverages while outside in the yard.

I use organic yard spray to repel mosquitoes in the garden.

I use organic yard spray to repel mosquitoes in the garden.

Resources

Effects of Organic Mosquito Repellent on Bees

Organic Standards

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: It doesn’t matter if the mouthwash is alcohol free or not. Beer has alcohol, therefore, it won’t matter if the mouthwash has alcohol, right?

Answer: Yes. It does matter if the mouthwash has alcohol. Yes. Beer has alcohol. But, remember, for this solution to work, you must allow the alcohol to evaporate from the beer to get to the other qualities that the beer possess without the alcohol.

Mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol, so if there is alcohol in the mouthwash or beer, and if you mix this solution using ingredients that contain alcohol, then you will be making a solution that actually attracts mosquitoes rather than repel mosquitoes.

Question: How does beer prevent mosquitos?

Answer: This mosquito repellent is all about creating a SCENT that mosquitoes do not like. It is important to know that mosquitoes like the smell of alcohol and are attracted to people who drink alcohol. This is the main reason it is highly important that you use “stale” beer for this mosquito yard spray. You want the alcohol to evaporate before using beer in this solution. Once the alcohol has evaporated, the beer now has the scent of thiamine (Vitamin B1) which is a scent that, generally, mosquitoes do not care for.

Thiamine, alone, may not be enough to deter aggressive mosquitoes, however the scent of thiamine, combined with other scents in this solution create an overall scent that (together) help keep mosquitoes away.

Question: For DIY mosquito yard spray, does it matter if we pour the beer in and then let it go stale or does it have to be stale before mixing with the rest of the ingredients? This is what I get for mixing before I read the whole article.

Answer: This is a very good question. In fact, when I was preparing to mix up my last batch I wondered the exact same thing. I opted to let the beer go stale first before mixing it in. I am not a chemist, so I do not know how the chemicals will react if the beer is not already stale. I imagine if you mix it all together and then set it out for a couple of days it should produce the same results.

If you have already mixed it all together, then go ahead and use it. Spray it around your yard. You will know right away if it works. My guess is that it will work. I am curious and would be grateful if you came back to let me know in the comments section.

Question: How do I store organic mosquito yard spray?

Answer: Store this solution in a cupboard, out of the heat.

Question: How long does it take for beer to go stale once it is opened?

Answer: Typically, beer loses about 30% of its alcohol in about 12 hours. The longer the beer is left open and out on the counter, the more the alcohol evaporates, making it go stale. This information is according to "Our Everyday Life" and "Can It Go Bad."

Question: How does the rain affect this homemade mosquito yard spray solution after it is applied?

Answer: In my experience, when there is light rain, such as a light shower, then the solution still seems to be effective. However, after a really hard rain, the solution seems to be less effective and would need to be applied again. You will know if the solution is still effective or not if you see mosquitoes lurking around in the area where the solution has been sprayed.

Question: One is bitten, not bit. A bit goes in a horse’s mouth, is that correct?

Answer: In the English language, the word bit has many meanings. A bit does go into a horse's mouth. A bit is also a drilling tool. A bit is a short period of time. In the computer world, a bit is a basic unit of information. In the context of this article, the word bit is the simple past tense and a past participle of bite.

Question: Does organic mosquito yard solution wash away when it rains?

Answer: My experience is, yes, it seems to wash away and become less effective after a heavy rain. However, on days where there is a light sprinkle, it still seems to be effective.

Question: Is this organic mosquito spray pet safe?

Answer: The ingredients used in this solution are ordinarily safe for pets. If your pet is allergic to beer, Epsom salt, or mouthwash, then I would not use this solution. Also, I would not encourage my pet to ingest the solution. When sprayed throughout the yard, in time the solution will dry from evaporation and so it is highly unlikely that a pet would have an opportunity to ingest it anyway. In any event, I am not a chemist and I am only sharing my experience. In my experience, this solution has not harmed any pets in any way.

Question: Will homemade organic mosquito yard spray work on ticks too?

Answer: Since ticks and mosquitoes are different insects, I cannot honestly state whether or not the mosquito repellent solution would work for ticks.

Question: Does the beer have to be stale for organic mosquito spray?

Answer: Yes. Mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol. If you do not let the alcohol evaporate from the beer, then you will be creating a solution that actually ATTRACTS mosquitoes. The beer absolutely MUST be stale.

Question: You said any type of beer would work. What about "near beer," or low-alcohol beer? Will that work too?

Answer: Yes, any kind of beer will work. Although I have not tried it myself, I believe the low-alcohol beer should work. Beers with low alcohol content are made the same way as regular beer, using the same ingredients. The only difference is that the alcohol in non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beer is removed or reduced.

Question: In what way is this recipe 'organic'? All three ingredients (beer, epsom salts, and mouthwash) contain multiple chemicals

Answer: Products can have more than one ingredient and still be labeled as “organic.” The Organic Consumers Association allows certain ingredients to be included in the processing of products and still be labeled as organic. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a national list of allowed and prohibited substances that identifies the synthetic substances that may be used in or on processed organic products. You may view the list by clicking on this helpful link: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&S...

Question: Can non-alcohol beer be used?

Answer: Yes. Non-alcohol beer would definitely work for this solution, especially considering the fact that the recipe calls for using beer that has allowed the alcohol to evaporate.

Question: What’s is the purpose of Epson salt in the spray?

Answer: Since this is a solution that will be applied to the yard, the magnesium sulfate is a compatible mineral that will help preserve the pH levels in the soil.

Question: How long will organic mosquito yard solution last in the sprayer if I mix a large batch, say, four times the amount in the article?