Plants & Herbs That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes
Chances are, you’ve heard of this one before- it’s one of the most common ingredients in most mosquito repellents. Strange enough though, many people don’t even know that citronella is actually a plant! Citronella is a beautiful perennial clumping grass that emits a strong aroma. That aroma masks other scents, and keeps mosquitoes from being attracted to things located around it.
A member of the mint family, the plant also known as horsemint and beebalm is a very easy plant for beginning gardeners to grow- even if you don’t have a green thumb! Lemon Balm is a very hardy plant, it resists drought, and it grows well even in shade.
Your feline friends will be happy to know that catnip is a great mosquito deterrent!In fact, in a 2010 study, researchers found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient commonly found in bug repellents.
A bright, hardy annual plant, marigolds are a great choice for repelling mosquitoes. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive.
Calling all cooks! Want a double whammy when it comes to mosquito protection? Plant some basil. Not only will you have a quick and easy mosquito repellent, you will also have a delicious fresh herb on hand to add to all of your favorite recipes. (try my Perfect Pesto Recipe!)
Do citronella candles really work? The answer might surprise you
Naturally, many people strive to repel mosquitoes as effectively as possible. And, often, they turn to citronella candles (like the Cutter Citro Guard). But, does citronella really work, or is it just hype? TODAY Home asked experts about how to repel mosquitoes to get to the bottom of it.
Do citronella candles work?
Citronella is naturally occurring oil that repels insects. It is distilled from two types of grass, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. While it is currently approved as safe for humans and the environment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that doesn’t mean that it’s effective. And, because it is a “minimum risk pesticide” in terms of its effect on human health, it is exempt from EPA evaluation
The article explains that products with a citronella base are only effective as a mosquito repellent for about two hours, because the oils rapidly evaporate. It also says that products like candles help by continuously evaporating the oil, but the authors note that field studies show using candles only reduces mosquito bites by about half and concludes “…for the time-being, travelers to disease endemic areas should not be recommended citronella-based repellents.”
Natural mosquito repellent alternatives
Products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus, which comes from the gum eucalyptus tree, are a lot more effective than citronella, Hoffer said. “People who use botanical repellents should be aware that they’re less effective and will need to be reapplied often, but 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus is usually a sufficient concentration to keep mosquitoes away for a few hours at a time,” he added. And, the CDC includes it on their list of recommended mosquito repellents
spray for skin and clothing is 30% lemon and eucalyptus oil. It’s supposed to repel mosquitoes for up to six hours, but it says you should only apply it up to twice a day
How to Get Rid of Gnats, Flies, Ticks, Mosquitoes, and All Other Pesky Insects
Now that summer is here, homeowners have to reconcile with the fact that with warmer weather comes more bugs. Nobody wants an infestation of any kind — whether it be mosquitoes that suck your blood while you’re sleeping or little fungus gnats that wreak havoc on your kitchen. So, what can you do to get rid of all these pesky pests?
Sure, there are plenty of insect repellents out there, but they might not be the best for the environment or for your health. Skip the insecticides and harmful chemicals and opt for a more non-toxic, sustainable route to getting rid of gnats, flies, ticks, and mosquitoes.
A gnat is a small, double-winged type of fly that usually descends in swarms, making them especially difficult to get rid of. Gnats look like mosquitoes in that they are black, have long legs, and two small wings.
These yucky pests make their way inside from either outdoors or — it pains us to even say it — your fruits and vegetables. Say what? Well, adult gnats lay their eggs on unripe fruits and vegetables. If the produce over-matures — say, it becomes overripe and you keep it too long — the gnat larvae either inside or on the produce’s surface feed off of the rotting organic material; soon, they’ll be mature enough to leave the fruit and terrorize your kitchen.
Vinegar won’t kill off a swarm of gnats on its own, but it can aid in the process of trapping them. To use an apple cider vinegar trap to get rid of gnats, mix a half cup of warm water with two tablespoons of ACV, a tablespoon of sugar, and a few drops of liquid soap. Put the bowl in the area you see gnats the most. Both the sugar and vinegar will lure in the gnats; then they’ll get stuck in the soap’s bubbles and won’t be able to fly back out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast can mosquitoes fly?
Depending upon the species, mosquitoes can fly at about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
How far can mosquitoes fly?
Mosquito species preferring to breed around the house, like the Asian Tiger Mosquito, have limited flight ranges of about 300 feet. Most species have flight ranges of 1-3 miles. Certain large pool breeders in the Midwest are often found up to 7 miles from known breeding spots. The undisputed champions, though, are the saltmarsh breeders – having been known to migrate up to 100 miles in exceptional circumstances, although 20 to 40 miles are much more common when hosts are scarce. When caught up in updrafts that direct them into winds high above the ground, mosquitoes can be carried great distances.
How much do they weigh?
Smaller species found around houses commonly weigh about 2.5 milligrams. Our largest species weigh in at a whopping 10 milligrams.
How much blood does a mosquito take in a meal?
When feeding to repletion, mosquitoes imbibe anywhere from 0.001 to 0.01 milliliter.
Why do mosquitoes feed on blood?
Female mosquitoes imbibe blood so that their eggs can mature prior to laying. It serves no nourishment function. Males do not take blood meals at all. In order to obtain energy, both male and female mosquitoes feed upon plant nectars – much in the same manner as honeybees
How to get rid of mosquitoes: Nine ways to keep mozzies at bay this summer
They are also drawn to the scent of the carbon dioxide we exhale, fragrances and sweat. Enjoy that bottle of beer, but alcohol consumption increases your body temperature, which is another factor which attracts mozzies.
Tidy up the yard
Mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water, so empty any extra water around your property such as full saucers under flowerpots, stagnant ponds, or puddles.
If you have a pond, mosquitos may lay their larvae there, but ponds attract dragonflies, which love to eat mosquitos. To keep pond water from being stagnant, you can install a pump or fountain to keep the water moving. You can also stock your pond with goldfish or koi which will eat the larvae.
Blow them away
Mosquitos are weak flyers and cannot withstand strong breezes, so an outdoor fan can be an effective deterrent. They are also deterred by smoke, giving you another reason to relax around the fire pit. Just be aware that it’s bushfire season, so don’t light fires in dry or windy conditions, always keep a fire extinguisher or hose nearby when using a fire pit, and pay attention to local or statewide fire bans.
Repel mosquitoes naturally
There are many scented plants said to deter these pesky insects. Plant them around your outdoor seating areas and reap their benefits. Basil, lemon balm, peppermint, lavender, marigold, rosemary and eucalyptus are some of the best choices to discourage mozzies.