Kerry loves to write about gardening, nutrition, sustainability, and entertainment.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
Mosquitoes are one of the most annoying insect pests alive. If you live in an area with a lot of them, it can completely destroy your summer and prevent you from enjoying outdoor activities in the cooler and more pleasant morning and evening hours.
With the arrival of West Nile virus, mosquitoes have also become dangerous to citizens of non-tropical countries for the first time in many years.
Here are some tips for controlling mosquitoes around your home without pesticides or other dangerous chemicals.
Destroy Mosquito Habitats
- The first step you should take is to examine your yard thoroughly a day or two after a heavy rainfall, looking for areas with standing water that might harbor mosquito larvae. Not all of these areas will be natural—in fact, some mosquitoes show a decided preference for breeding in old tires and similar man-made water collectors. Dump out any standing water you find, or better yet, remove the breeding habitat completely.
- Be careful to change the water in birdbaths at least two times per week.
- If you own a pond, consider adding a waterfall or fountain to prevent the water from becoming stagnant. Adding koi is another good idea—koi voraciously eat mosquito larvae, pupae, and adults. Other good mosquito-eating fish include goldfish, mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas), and Golden shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas).
- Cut edge plantings back so they don't overhang the water, and keep aquatic plants from growing in still corners of the pond, to keep them from providing protection for mosquito larvae.
- Do provide some underwater and emergent plants such as sedges or rushes, however, because dragonflies (another voracious mosquito eater) will use these plants to climb out of the water when changing from their nymph form to adults.
Plants That Repel Mosquitoes
There are a number of plants that repel them. Planting a mix of these plants around your home and patio can create mosquito-free zones for outdoor entertaining and other activities.
- One of the most famous is citronella grass, which is used by manufacturers to make citronella candles.
- Another well-known plant is the marigold. These cheery flowers repel many other insect pests as well but are popular nectar sources for butterflies.
- Catnip is famous for attracting cats, but what is less well known is that it also repels mosquitoes! In fact, studies have found that catnip oil is more than 10 times better at repelling them than DEET!
- The lovely and aromatic garden herbs rosemary, basil, lavender, lemon balm, and lemongrass are also effective.
More plants that repel mosquitoes:
- Bee balm/bergamot
There are two different kinds of plants commonly sold as "mosquito plants." One is a type of geranium that has been genetically modified to produce citronella oil. The other is Agastache cana, also known as Giant Hyssop, Bubblegum Mint, or Hummingbird Mint.
Insects and Animals That Love Mosquitoes
Fish and dragonflies are not the only animals that love a tasty mosquito. Birds, bats, frogs, and toads will also take a significant chunk out of the insect population.
- The best are swallows and their relatives, purple martins. Providing birdhouses can encourage these attractive and helpful species to take up residence.
- Bats also appreciate a home, and commercially made bat houses are also available.
- To learn more about attracting frogs and toads to your yard, please read Attracting Frogs and Toads To Your Garden.
- If you live in an area where they are allowed, domestic poultry also make fantastic mosquito control assistants. The best species include chickens, guinea hens, and ducks. Although free-range birds are most effective, even birds confined to runs or "chicken tractors" can take a bite out of your mosquito problem.
More Mosquito-Repelling Tips
- Eating a diet heavy in onions and garlic can make you unattractive to them.
- They find their prey partly through carbon dioxide. If you are outside in mosquito-heavy locations, avoid overheating or exercising as much as possible, as these cause you to emit more carbon dioxide.
- Curiously, they seem to be more attracted to people who consume diets high in sugary or processed foods. Eating a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits may help reduce your attractiveness to them.
- Avoid wearing floral or fruity scents from perfumes, sunscreens, soaps, laundry detergent, and similar products.
- Some people swear by vitamin B-1 (thiamin) tablets.
- Chemical-Free Mosquito Control
Mother Earth News' article about how to use chemical-free mosquito control to combat mosquitoes, including physical and biological control methods.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on July 05, 2013:
Thanks for the great tips on repelling mosquitoes naturally. I planted lavender and lemon balm mostly to repel spiders but I continue to learn of more and more pests they repel.
Corey from Northfield, MA on April 30, 2012:
Nice tips here. I live in New England and the humidity during the summer makes for a lot of mosquitoes. I plan on adding some of the plants to that yard that you recommended. Especially, marigolds. Thanks for the tips.
twodawgs on January 27, 2012:
I can confirm the results of a garlic-rich diet. I was out golfing one day with on of my besties. She had repellant on and was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, but I had no repellant (but was including a lot of garlic in my diet), and didn't get a single bite.
Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on January 24, 2012:
Excellent tips and ideas. We love eating outdoors, but the mosquitos can be a challenge after rainy days. I like the idea of adding catnip. It sounds like it is time to revive my herb garden too! I'm going to bookmark this in my 'home tips' file. :)
Thanks for sharing / voted up and sharing
Dianna Mendez on January 03, 2012:
Thanks for the advice. I live in Florida where the mosquitos are abundant. I appreciate the natural remedies you mentioned. I believe that a person who eats natural will hold less attraction.
kanav on December 17, 2011:
really nice information .... thank's a lot i tried it and it really works........... :)
carolinemoon on October 26, 2011:
Very useful hub, great information. Does It still work If you have only one repel plant? Nice.
simson.d from coimbatore, india on September 05, 2011:
its really nice information. hope it will useful to all ones who are visit this page. thank you very much for this team
Bob on July 20, 2011:
This is a very useful site! I recommend it for people in tropical areas where Mosquitos have malaria.
Lisa on June 10, 2011:
Great tips, Thanks so much, I live in the woods and now I know how to take care of this problem=-)
Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on March 29, 2011:
I was told in a college nutrition class that keeping enough vitamin b1 in your system changes the smell of one's sweat, and thereby making someone less attractive to mosquitoes.
SUSIE42 on March 06, 2011:
Some good tips, thanks
accofranco from L Island on March 03, 2011:
Now i see the reason mosqs run from me, and my friends would say, your skin is not sensitive, they are biting you...but i am pretty sure they don't...right now i am going to give them a call to tell them i have found the secret why mosqs keep away from me....thank you Home!
positivevibestech on January 10, 2011:
Nature invented the best mosquito control it's called wind. Great hub here thanks for writing it
Sunnyglitter from Cyberspace on July 24, 2010:
I hate mosquitoes! Nice article.
joe on July 20, 2010:
i try this stuff it better work i always get bitten
jandee from Liverpool.U.K on July 12, 2010:
Great info. The only vitamin I leave out is B1 which is now on my list so thanks. also raw lemmon on the skin is helpful....also garlic vits are good.
gajanis from Pakistan on July 08, 2010:
very informative and practical knowledge.....thanks for good article....have a nice day.
adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 14, 2010:
I think these info is a must know for every homemaker out there. Mosquitoes can be the least of our worries but they certainly impact a lot when illnesses brought by them affect our household.
monique stone on June 06, 2010:
wow thanks i got so much info from this i really need it because im from mexico and i visit there alot and come back itchy and my mom is a target for the mosquitos! well gracias im gona make a garden and a bird house!
Grace on June 05, 2010:
Our yard is a battlefield. I'm hoping some of these ideas work. I don't, however, think that cedar will repel them, since two sides of our yard is nothing but cedars and that seems to be where they are the worst.
Salsamak on June 02, 2010:
Excellent information will give all the tips above a go as it would be nice to eat outside without mosquitoes bites
Margarida Borges from Lyon, France on May 31, 2010:
very good tips! most of them I didn't know about.
JIML on May 31, 2010:
Good info with the exception of the Purple Martin. Don't expect them to solve your problem. A study shown of dietary habits of PM's showed they are high fliers not likely to pluck mosquitoes out of the low lying areas were they reside
Ron on May 31, 2010:
Pyrethrum daisies also keep mosquitos away. They can be grown then the flowers and seed pods dried and then pulverized. They are an ingredient in the commercial insecticide Cutter.
Varenya on May 06, 2010:
I was just in search of tips like these, many thanks!!!
clemonsgeorge on April 29, 2010:
Great tips on maintaining a mosquito-free pond. As for personal diet, I think eating lots of garlic and onions will make you unattractive to both mosquitoes and people.
In addition to keeping predatory animals on your property, I've read about those mosquito traps that can cover up to one acre. They work by luring the mosquitoes with an attractant and CO2 (mimicking humans).
Here's one I found online:
KwameG from MS on April 26, 2010:
I found this just in time..thanks
qmama2006 on March 30, 2010:
I will definitely try some of these ideas. My front and back yard are like a swamp without water but pesky miquittos are everywhere.
James Cain from Dayton Texas on February 19, 2010:
Gee. such a good hub. Just had to book mark it. These beasts that I have are the bad boys!! Can't wait to get things in place to repel them. Thanks for sharing.
kotoh from Chicago on November 21, 2009:
Great info and tips! I can say goodbye to mosquito after this :) Thanks for sharing anyway.
reddog1027 from Atlanta, GA on September 03, 2009:
This hub was great. Although fall is coming on, most of the mosquito repellent plant I already grow. Look out mosquitos
Forest_Parks from Cairo, Egypt on August 23, 2009:
Fantastic Tips... Mosquitos love me, so it's important for me to make sure I don't let them breed nearby!
Ambition398 on August 18, 2009:
Great Hub! I didn't know marigolds repelled mosquitoes.
Marty1 from New South Wales Australia on August 17, 2009:
Its commonly known that mossies like tepid water and will breed in saucers below containers. Empty them or put an oil the container such as tea tree or eucalyptus to deter them. Be careful in some asian countries not to get bitten day or night, because mozzies there carry dengie fever
Diane on August 06, 2009:
After reading the hub, I decided to look up some info on purple martins. And, unfortunately the site I found (link below) says that purple martins do not consume mosquitoes. So I'm going to try the bat house instead.
Meade on July 29, 2009:
I read somewhere that you can mix up a repellant using
stuff found in your cleaning closet,I forget the exact ingrediants but there was dish washing soap,lemon juice,epsom salt,etc.you mix it up,put it in one of those garden sprayer type things fill it with water and spray your yard ,patio,or whatever.It will not hurt plants or grass or your pets.And surposedly it really works.Has anyone else heard of this ? Great site by the way,I'm going to get some B-1 today.Thanks
Kim Garcia on July 24, 2009:
Ahhh!!! No wonder the mosquitoes don't find my blood tasty...I eat 3 cloves of garlic a day!!LOL!! Great Antioxidant and repellent! Thanks!
Alberon on July 05, 2009:
Interesting stuff indeed! Thanks!
Alberon on July 05, 2009:
Interesting stuff indeed! Thanks!
iamqweenbee on July 04, 2009:
My grandchildren are a feast for mosquitos. They always say, "Danma, my t-bite hurt" That means...Grandma, my mosquito bite itches. lol. Oh, I feel so sorry for them. I tried this remedy and so far so good. I came back to say that. Thanks
dsletten from United States on July 04, 2009:
Great hub. I didn't know marigolds repelled mosquitos! We live in mosquito heaven, so I will have to try some of your tips. Thanks.
Cheffrin from Chandler, AZ on July 03, 2009:
AMAZING!!!! I had no idea! Thanx for the great hub!
Melody Lagrimas from Philippines on July 03, 2009:
These are very useful tips, thanks. Gotta share this on SU.
my-success-guru from Upstate NY on July 03, 2009:
Great interesting tips! Take Care
EricStifel on July 03, 2009:
Wow, I just keep learning more and more about warding off these little blood suckers. I saw a program not long ago with Bill Nigh (not sure on that spelling), the science guy, and he made reference to a potion that was equal parts Witch Hazel and Apple Cider Vinegar with an ounce or two of eucalyptus oil added in, shaken up and spayed with a spray bottle. All natural and supposed to ward off those little pests. I haven't tried it yet, but I keep meaning to.
Thanks for the great hub, I'll be bookmarking it for sure...
pradeep_uoc on July 03, 2009:
Very informative article. Thanks, author.
CarpetDiem from Southern California on July 03, 2009:
Wow. Great hub! Since I'm a "natural mosquito magnet" I appreciate your tips.
I'm just not sure what my wife will think about this one:
"Eating a diet heavy in onions and garlic can make you unattractive to mosquitoes."
frogyfish from Central United States of America on July 03, 2009:
Bunches of great and helpful info here. Thanks very much! I'm going to have to bookmark it.
wordscribe41 on July 03, 2009:
Great hub. Gives me a good excuse to do some more planting outside.
mash malik from pakistan on July 03, 2009:
hey thanks for the usefull information... it will surely save us from these tiny bugs that irritates us the most!
Kate Swanson from Sydney on July 03, 2009:
When I was visiting Darwin (where mosquitoes can carry dangerous infections), I was in a store looking at insect repellent when the pharmacist said to me, "don't waste your time on those, take these tablets instead". The tablets were Vitamin B1.
They worked like a charm. I'm one of those people who is normally a mosquito banquet, and when I'm bitten, the bites come up in big red weals. I didn't get one bite while I was taking the B1.
Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on July 02, 2009:
Guess I'm off to the bedding plant store LOL...thanks so much for the tips I'm certainly going to use them!
E. A. Wright from New York City on July 02, 2009:
Will definitely try massive pre-dusk garlic eating. But I'm not sure I'm brave enough to face a swarm of the buggers without some high concentration DEET.
LoriB331 from Long Island, NY on July 02, 2009:
Mosquitos can sure put a damper on any get-together! Thank you for posting a very informative hub on how to keep them away!
Santo Palomo on July 02, 2009:
Kerryg, sure you weren't a misquito in your previous life? You sure do know what bugs us humans. Great info to stop the buggahs!
BetsyIckes from Pennsylvania on July 02, 2009:
This is great! Thanks for all the info!
iamqweenbee on July 02, 2009:
Thanks KerryG for that uselful information. God knows I cannot stand to have mosquito bites with all the itching and redness and swelling. Ooh! Just uncomfortable to think about it.
lovemyself on July 02, 2009:
I think this is the best hub which I have read
picudito on July 01, 2009:
Thanks for the information, it is good to know how to avoid this terrible insects, can never enjoy a nice evening outside my home, thanks again, will follow some of your suggestions.
R. E. Proctor Jr on July 01, 2009:
Great information in a concise package!
The little buggers also carry the heartworm disease from one infected dog to the other.
clicchic from The Volunteer State on June 30, 2009:
Very useful...gr8 job!
Glare from Washington DC area on June 30, 2009:
Wow, that's some valuable information. I like it when I catch them sucking on my blood.. I'd flex my arm a bit and they explode because I pumped too much blood into them.
iwritegood on June 30, 2009:
I just rub a little DDT on my exposed skin. It does the trick.
swaygirl from Southern Ontario, Canada on June 30, 2009:
I use lemon extract on my skin. Doesn't irritate and works great!!!!
jim10 from ma on June 30, 2009:
Thanks so much I hate those pesky little buggers.
Garrett McLee from Florida on June 30, 2009:
Living in South Florida, I can attest that this is all great information to keep those nasty little vampire bugs away.
LadyJet from email@example.com on June 30, 2009:
Yes, this is a great source of information, but there's an even easier way. If you make a nutritional shake in the morning with fruit, milk/yogurt, and nutritional yeast (and if you want more protein, you can always add that raw egg) and blend it up with a handful of ice cubes. The nutritional yeast has lots of trace minerals/vitamins, especially iron and B-vitamins and for whatever reason, ticks, mosquitos, fleas, mites won't drink the blood of anyone or any animal who has nutritional yeast in their systems. I give a tsp to my alpacas and my dog/cat and they've never had a tick, flea, mosquito or mite bother them at all. Even the biting flies leave them alone.
You can only do so much with your own habitat because you can only control your property, but just like the guy who was growing canola and got it polinated by bees (got sued by the seed company and lost). You still have to take care of the insect pests, like mosquitoes, that come to visit from your neighbors. I despise mosquitoes, biting flies, yellow jackets, fleas, etc., so I do whatever I can to keep them away from me. From personal experience, I've found that mosquitoes don't like me since I started drinking my nutritional shakes in the morning--and I've got a lot less stress as well. It took about 4 days before they even stopped dive bombiing me, so I know it works.
luvnlyf on June 29, 2009:
Can't remember if this worked or not but back in the islands they used to put coconut oil on us when we were little to help ward off mosquitoes. Great tips!
Marvin on June 29, 2009:
keep on rocking hubpage
Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on June 29, 2009:
I have 2 bat boxes behind garage and trees and shrubs attract birds, mosquitoes are not a big problem in the yard, but they can be where the precautions you mention are not taken.
Syed Hasan Shahid Bukhari on June 28, 2009:
Yours is a very informative and useful Hub ... Congratulations.
I've made notes, and will share it with others, because out here in the semi-tropicals, mosquitos are not only a nuisance, but also a big health hazard.
I will be very grateful if <kerryg> can conduct some more researching and give us the receipe for an oil, or a water based spraying mixture, that eliminates mosquitoes from common human surroundings, and ... can be "made" locally by common folks... Such an oil or mixtuture, will help save millions of human lives, particularly in Africa and Asia..
My Congratulations are also due to HubPages ... For providing a Prcatical and useful Forum, where Ideas and Experiences are being shared.
29th June 2009
Jim Farguson on June 28, 2009:
awesome info.! I live in Miami and they are total pests!
Jane@CM on June 28, 2009:
Very useful information.
Another trick I use at soccer games is Listerine...spray a bit under my chair and the mosquitoes do not come near me!
jayb23 from India on June 27, 2009:
Fantastic tips. Bookmarked. This info is really useful
JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on June 27, 2009:
Truly a very informative hub. One of the the deadly disease that mosquito bring in our area is dengue fever. The information you have provided will surely be useful.
cjcarter on June 27, 2009:
Great article! My family and I always go camping, and inevitably, get eaten alive. Thanks for the info!
lilolladystuff on June 27, 2009:
Wonderful advice. I have lived many places where mosquitos reign and know how difficult enjoying the outdoors is when they are so bad. I also have an allergy to them and need to use meds sometimes. I sure would prefer the natural solutions. Thanks for this article.
Reed Talonario on June 26, 2009:
Great info. I've seen both the citronella and marigolds being sold off cheap recently. I might have to go out and grab some if they are still there.
WestVes on June 26, 2009:
Thanks a lot for great post.
WestVes on June 26, 2009:
Thanks a lot for great post.
internetboss from india on June 25, 2009:
very nice topic
johnson on June 25, 2009:
freddyjones2009 on June 24, 2009:
Excellent info - Thanks
Bloggify on June 24, 2009:
Thanks for the tips
Tuff Kid from Canada on June 24, 2009:
Considering I live in mosquito city, this will come pretty handy! Thanks!
ajm5050 from NY on June 24, 2009:
My sister's been having problems with mosquito for couple of summers now, after reading your hub I'm thinking it may have something to do with her bird bath in her backyard. I'm sending this link to my sis now, thanks for the great read.
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llanishen on June 23, 2009:
You can always use a mosquito net. Make a hole in it and as soon as all the mosquitoes are in the net you could come out and sleep well.
Eaglekiwi from -Oceania on June 23, 2009:
Fantastic ,I learned some new info! I moved to SC and they are chowing down on this new blood...I didn't know what struck me ,lol grrrr itch itch
Elusen from Indianapolis, IN on June 22, 2009:
Very good hub - thank you! This has been a very heavy year for mosquitoes in northern Michigan. There are few things on th planet I despise more - but I like your holistic approach to relling them - thanks again!
lewgard on June 22, 2009:
Great hub! I have acres and acres of wetland around me and the mosquitoes are always so bad. It's strange, but in the beginning to the season my mosquitoe bites swell up and itch for days. As the season progresses and I have been bitten so many times, they don't seem to bother me as much. Maybe I build up an immunity???
Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on June 22, 2009:
Well written and informative Hub...Thanks..
When I go backpacking I always take a couple of Bounce sheets...this stuff really works great for mosquitos and those pesky no-see-ums...rub em' on your ears and neck, and exposed arms...lasts all day...smells great too...
Woodson from Minnesota on June 22, 2009:
Really helpful. Thanks. I always appreciate common sense replacing chemicals.
Dana Chadwick on June 22, 2009:
I loved this article. Who knew there were so many ways-naturally- to repel mosquitoes besides flooding your surroundings with insecticides, that may end up killing you along with the mosquitoes. Well written, very informative and detailed. Cool!
Laura Spector from Chiang Mai, Thailand on June 22, 2009:
Thanks for the info. I live in Thailand, which is rife with mosquitoes and they spread lots of Dengue here. One thing the Thai's do, is have a lighting source if you're sitting outside at night. Evening mosquitoes flee from light. And, I verify that Lemongrass does work! They sell tons of it here in oil and jelly forms. Also, Tiger Balm, which is used as a remedy for muscle pain (topical and warms the skin), keeps them away too! Of course, they also believe drinking copious amounts of whiskey or eating lots of chillies also works - but I can't verify that...
thor6 from http://ragnasuns.blogspot.com on June 20, 2009:
Thanks that was great info, i often go fishing in the north of Finland in summer and its rife with the pests. I am new at this web page thing so if you could have a look at mine then i would be greatful. http://hubpages/hub/petes-pages
take care and have a safe weekend
Man from Modesto from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California) on June 20, 2009:
Great post. Did not know about the list of plants.
llanishen on June 20, 2009:
Some people apply onion juice on their body. This would really get them flying.
Useful Knowledge on June 20, 2009:
Yes, it is Mosquito time again. Thanks for the wonderful insight on protection.