Controlling Mosquitos Naturally

Along with the cookouts, volleyball games, hiking, camping and other glories of summer come mosquitoes and ticks.  But pesticides or products containing DEET, are associated with a variety of health problems ranging from dizziness to seizures with children being particularly susceptible. There are several safer and effective alternatives.

Natural Repellents

A garlic spray in your yard provides excellent control.  Garlic has natural sulfur which repels insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and even black flies, yet does not harm humans, pets, bees, butterflies or plants. Mosquitoes are soft-bodied insects and garlic juice is toxic to them in increased concentrations. Mosquitoes are also extremely odor sensitive and garlic can repel them for up to a month or more, as long as they can still detect an odor. Farmers have been using garlic for generations. Organic based landscaping or pest control companies often offer a garlic spray or you can buy a product called Garlic Barrier and do it yourself.

For small areas like patios or decks, certain aromatic plants keep mosquitoes away.  Marigolds planted with pungent herbs like catnip (nearly 10 times more effective than DEET) and rosemary are effective and attractive in containers.  I planted a “mosquito plant”, really a wild scented geranium, which grows fast and seems to work.  It was specifically grown to keep pests away. Citronella candles can be helpful, as well as all natural insect repellent incense sticks. Or you can burn a little sage or rosemary over coals to repel mosquitoes.

Cultural Practices

Two important and effective cultural practices are: 1) Don’t keep standing or stagnate water around where mosquitoes can breed and 2) consider putting up a bat house.  Mosquitoes are the primary food source for bats and some species eat up to 1000 of them an hour!

Personal Repellents

For personal repellents sprayed directly onto your skin, soybean-oil-based products have been shown to provide protection for a period of time similar to a product with a low concentration of DEET (4.75%).  Other ingredients usually include pure plant extracts like citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass and peppermint, which are natural, effective and have a nice aroma.  Buzz Away and Bite Blocker are good brands that are potent and long-lasting.  You can find them at Whole Foods. In areas heavily infested with deer tick,  a DEET product may be needed.  Just spray directly onto your clothes, not your skin! For more information on deer ticks, click here.

Ticks and mosquitos don’t have to ruin your summer!

17 responses to this post.

  1. All good advise but…Alys, you are from Ontario? We used to live in the country there and we found, especially if you are for some reason really tasty to the nasties as I am, that the only thing that really helps to prevent being eaten by the little vampires, is to cover yourself up. I was hysterical with the screens in home,we had a screened porch outside and I wore a hat with netting whilst gardening and hiking and long sleeves and long pants. I loved living there but mosquitos …I really do not like them. And what a blessing it is to have NO mosquitos in our Cincinnati garden!!! xo Johanna


    • I too am one of those sweet-tasting people mosquitos love. Yes, you do need cover up, but some of these all natural products made from essential oils do work, you just need to apply them more often. Thanks for commenting…..


      • I will it it try for sure! Thanks, Johanna

      • Let me know how they work! Here’s to a happy mosquito-free summer!

      • Oh Betsy, I did not realize, I was taken to your blog through Alys’ website. I did not mean to criticize you because you are right with the mosquitos barriers. The ferocious clouds of mosquitos in Spring cannot have enough barriers. You have a great blog and I have a nice browse around. I look forward to more ! And Cheers indeed to bite free summer! Johanna

      • I didn’t take it as criticism. I’m glad you pointed out that one should cover up! Obvious, but I should have mentioned it. Thank you….

  2. I love bat houses and I’m seeing them in our state parks here in Pennsylvania more and more. I cannot stress enough the importance of checking around the house for any standing water if you get a sudden infestation of mosquitoes. Great post as usual!


  3. They don’t like incense sticks, nor do they come around if you set up a fan. Nobody’s bothered by bugs in a stiff breeze…


  4. Donna
    I had no idea butterfly plants were mosquito repellants. Tomorrow I shall head to the garden center. Thank you for sharing.


  5. Thank you! Going to try a few of these tips. Have a great weekend 🙂


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