How to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Updated on May 23, 2017
Photo by James Jordan
Photo by James Jordan

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 Disease, 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 water in bird baths 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:

  • cedar
  • sagebrush
  • bee balm/bergamot
  • onion
  • garlic
  • tansy
  • eucalyptus
  • peppermint
  • horsemint
  • eucalyptus

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.

Bring in the Cavalry

Fish and dragonflies are not the only animal 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.

Questions & Answers

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      • Gail Meyers profile image

        Gail Meyers 4 years ago from Kansas City - United States

        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.

      • cabmgmnt profile image

        Corey 6 years ago from Northfield, MA

        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.

      • profile image

        twodawgs 6 years ago

        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.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

        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

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        kanav 6 years ago

        really nice information .... thank's a lot i tried it and it really works........... :)

      • carolinemoon profile image

        carolinemoon 6 years ago

        Very useful hub, great information. Does It still work If you have only one repel plant? Nice.

      • profile image

        simson.d from coimbatore, india 6 years ago

        its really nice information. hope it will useful to all ones who are visit this page. thank you very much for this team

      • profile image

        Bob 6 years ago

        This is a very useful site! I recommend it for people in tropical areas where Mosquitos have malaria.

      • profile image

        Lisa 7 years ago

        Great tips, Thanks so much, I live in the woods and now I know how to take care of this problem=-)

      • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

        Wesman Todd Shaw 7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

        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 profile image

        SUSIE42 7 years ago

        Some good tips, thanks

      • accofranco profile image

        accofranco 7 years ago from L Island

        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 profile image

        positivevibestech 7 years ago

        Nature invented the best mosquito control it's called wind. Great hub here thanks for writing it

      • Sunnyglitter profile image

        Sunnyglitter 7 years ago from Cyberspace

        I hate mosquitoes! Nice article.

      • profile image

        joe 7 years ago

        i try this stuff it better work i always get bitten

      • jandee profile image

        jandee 7 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

        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.

      • gajanis786 profile image

        gajanis786 7 years ago

        very informative and practical knowledge.....thanks for good article....have a nice day.

      • adorababy profile image

        adorababy 8 years ago from Syracuse, NY

        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.

      • profile image

        monique stone 8 years ago

        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!

      • profile image

        Grace 8 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Salsamak 8 years ago

        Excellent information will give all the tips above a go as it would be nice to eat outside without mosquitoes bites

        Thank You

        salsamak

      • Margaridab profile image

        Margarida Borges 8 years ago from Lyon, France

        very good tips! most of them I didn't know about.

      • profile image

        JIML 8 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        Ron 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        Varenya 8 years ago

        I was just in search of tips like these, many thanks!!!

      • clemonsgeorge profile image

        clemonsgeorge 8 years ago

        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:

        http://www.mosquitomagnet.com/store/mosquito-magne...

      • KwameG profile image

        KwameG 8 years ago from MS

        I found this just in time..thanks

      • profile image

        qmama2006 8 years ago

        I will definitely try some of these ideas. My front and back yard are like a swamp without water but pesky miquittos are everywhere.

      • jimcain207 profile image

        jimcain207 8 years ago from HUMPHREY, ARKANSAS

        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 profile image

        kotoh 8 years ago from Chicago

        Great info and tips! I can say goodbye to mosquito after this :) Thanks for sharing anyway.

      • reddog1027 profile image

        reddog1027 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

        This hub was great. Although fall is coming on, most of the mosquito repellent plant I already grow. Look out mosquitos

      • Forest_Parks profile image

        Forest_Parks 8 years ago from Cairo, Egypt

        Fantastic Tips... Mosquitos love me, so it's important for me to make sure I don't let them breed nearby!

      • Ambition398 profile image

        Ambition398 8 years ago

        Great Hub! I didn't know marigolds repelled mosquitoes.

      • Marty1 profile image

        Marty1 8 years ago from New South Wales Australia

        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

      • profile image

        Diane 8 years ago

        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.

        http://purplemartin.org/main/mgt.html

      • profile image

        Meade 8 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        Kim Garcia 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        Alberon 8 years ago

        Interesting stuff indeed! Thanks!

      • Alberon profile image

        Alberon 8 years ago

        Interesting stuff indeed! Thanks!

      • profile image

        iamqweenbee 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        dsletten 8 years ago from United States

        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 profile image

        Cheffrin 8 years ago from Chandler, AZ

        AMAZING!!!! I had no idea! Thanx for the great hub!

      • Melody Lagrimas profile image

        Melody Lagrimas 8 years ago from Philippines

        These are very useful tips, thanks. Gotta share this on SU.

      • my-success-guru profile image

        my-success-guru 8 years ago from Upstate NY

        Great interesting tips! Take Care

      • EricStifel profile image

        EricStifel 8 years ago

        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...

      • profile image

        pradeep_uoc 8 years ago

        Very informative article. Thanks, author.

      • CarpetDiem profile image

        CarpetDiem 8 years ago from Southern California

        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 profile image

        frogyfish 8 years ago from Central United States of America

        Bunches of great and helpful info here.  Thanks very much! I'm going to have to bookmark it.

      • profile image

        wordscribe41 8 years ago

        Great hub. Gives me a good excuse to do some more planting outside.

      • mash malik profile image

        mash malik 8 years ago from pakistan

        hey thanks for the usefull information... it will surely save us from these tiny bugs that irritates us the most!

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 8 years ago from Sydney

        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 profile image

        Enelle Lamb 8 years ago from Canada's 'California'

        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 profile image

        E. A. Wright 8 years ago from New York City

        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 profile image

        LoriB331 8 years ago from Long Island, NY

        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 profile image

        Santo Palomo 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        BetsyIckes 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

        This is great! Thanks for all the info!

      • profile image

        iamqweenbee 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        lovemyself 8 years ago

        I think this is the best hub which I have read

      • picudito profile image

        picudito 8 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        R. E. Proctor Jr 8 years ago

        Great information in a concise package!

        The little buggers also carry the heartworm disease from one infected dog to the other.

      • clicchic profile image

        clicchic 8 years ago from The Volunteer State

        Very useful...gr8 job!

      • Glare profile image

        Glare 8 years ago from Washington DC area

        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.

        Cheers!

      • iwritegood profile image

        iwritegood 8 years ago

        I just rub a little DDT on my exposed skin. It does the trick.

      • swaygirl profile image

        swaygirl 8 years ago from Southern Ontario, Canada

        I use lemon extract on my skin. Doesn't irritate and works great!!!!

      • jim10 profile image

        jim10 8 years ago from ma

        Thanks so much I hate those pesky little buggers.

      • Garrett McLee profile image

        Garrett McLee 8 years ago from Florida

        Living in South Florida, I can attest that this is all great information to keep those nasty little vampire bugs away.

      • LadyJet profile image

        LadyJet 8 years ago from ladyjet@pocketinet.com

        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.

        Jet

      • profile image

        luvnlyf 8 years ago

        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!

      • profile image

        Marvin 8 years ago

        keep on rocking hubpage

      • Bob Ewing profile image

        Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

        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.

      • profile image

        Syed Hasan Shahid Bukhari 8 years ago

        Kerryg

        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.

        shahid.bukhari@gmail.com

        29th June 2009

      • Jim Farguson profile image

        Jim Farguson 8 years ago

        awesome info.! I live in Miami and they are total pests!

      • Jane@CM profile image

        Jane@CM 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        jayb23 8 years ago from India

        Fantastic tips. Bookmarked. This info is really useful

      • JPSO138 profile image

        JPSO138 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines, International

        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 profile image

        cjcarter 8 years ago

        Great article! My family and I always go camping, and inevitably, get eaten alive. Thanks for the info!

      • profile image

        lilolladystuff 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        Reed Talonario 8 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        WestVes 8 years ago

        Thanks a lot for great post.

      • profile image

        WestVes 8 years ago

        Thanks a lot for great post.

      • internetboss profile image

        internetboss 8 years ago from india

      • profile image

        johnson 8 years ago

        super

      • freddyjones2009 profile image

        freddyjones2009 8 years ago

        Excellent info - Thanks

      • Bloggify profile image

        Bloggify 8 years ago

        Thanks for the tips

      • Tuff Kid profile image

        Tuff Kid 8 years ago from Canada

        Considering I live in mosquito city, this will come pretty handy! Thanks!

      • ajm5050 profile image

        ajm5050 8 years ago from NY

        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.

      • profile image

        Adrenalin 8 years ago

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      • profile image

        llanishen 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

        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 profile image

        Elusen 8 years ago from Indianapolis, IN

        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!

      • profile image

        lewgard 8 years ago

        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???

      • maven101 profile image

        maven101 8 years ago from Northern Arizona

        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 profile image

        Woodson 8 years ago from Minnesota

        Really helpful. Thanks. I always appreciate common sense replacing chemicals.

      • Dana Chadwick profile image

        Dana Chadwick 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        Laura Spector 8 years ago from Chiang Mai, Thailand

        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 profile image

        thor6 8 years ago from http://ragnasuns.blogspot.com

        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 profile image

        Man from Modesto 8 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

        Great post. Did not know about the list of plants.

      • profile image

        llanishen 8 years ago

        Some people apply onion juice on their body. This would really get them flying.

      • profile image

        Useful Knowledge 8 years ago

        Yes, it is Mosquito time again. Thanks for the wonderful insight on protection.

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