Mosquitoes have a very keen sense of smell. In fact, it’s the primary reason that they are drawn to humans and other animals as a blood source. The carbon dioxide and many of the fragrances we emit are irresistible to these annoying pests. Mosquitoes likewise find a variety of scents unappealing. These aromas can be used to keep mosquitoes at bay without the use of chemicals and other harsh deterrents. Here are 10 common scents that repel mosquitoes:
This is likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think about mosquito repelling scents. Citronella oil, which comes from the lemongrass plant, is commonly used in commercial bug sprays and candles. It features a lemon-like citrusy scent that is irritating to mosquitoes, but wonderfully pleasant to people. Lemongrass can be planted outside your home as an attractive, yet effective repellent. Additionally, citronella oil can be applied directly on your skin or paired with other essential oils to make your own natural deterrent.
Minty fragrances are unpleasant to a mosquito’s keen senses. The mere presence of peppermint plants can ward off these pesky flying insects to some degree. You can also turn peppermint into a personal repellent by crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin. Mosquitoes won’t be able to tolerate your presence! Additionally, if you do get a bug bite you will find that peppermint oil is effective at relieving itches.
This versatile plant isn’t simply a tasty herb used for seasoning your favorite Italian fare. It can also be used as a handy natural repellent. The essential oils contained in the basil plant emit a powerful aroma that is irritating to these bothersome biters. Take full advantage of basil’s repellent properties by growing it in your yard as well as creating homemade sprays from its essential oils.
This member of the onion family has been used for many years as an edible repellent. When consumed, garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, interferes with our natural scent and masks us from mosquitoes. However, garlic can be used to deter mosquitoes even without eating it. Cut garlic cloves into slivers and scatter them around your outdoor living areas, or combine with oils and other liquid ingredients to make a repellent spray for your yard. Furthermore, you can blend garlic with essential oils to make a mosquito repellent spray for your body. Mosquitoes won’t be able to stand the unappealing smell.
5. LEMON BALM
A member of the mint family, lemon balm has a calming, strong lemon scent that many undesirable insects find incredibly unpleasant. However, bees, butterflies and humans alike seem to love the fragrance. Grow this attractive plant in specific areas you want to deter mosquitoes or apply the crushed leaves to your skin for personal repellent. For even more versatility of use, you can add leftover leaves to your favorite herbal teas for stress relief benefits.
Though lavender may be a favorite scent of many people, mosquitoes would disagree. They detest the pungent scent of the purple flower, and stay away at all costs. Like most of the plants on this list, lavender can be used by extracting the oils and applying to the skin directly or making a body spray. You can also simply plant it in your garden. Best of all, the beautiful purple flowers are sure to liven up your landscape.
This vibrant plant is well known for its pungent aroma. Some people find the smell overwhelming and so do mosquitoes. Plant these golden flowers in various places around your yard to keep mosquitoes at bay. You can periodically cut the flowers off to add to vases around the house to prevent mosquitoes from migrating indoors. As an added benefit, the flowers of the marigold plant make a colorful addition to your garden and are edible as well.
In recent years, this has become a very popular method of repelling mosquitoes. A study in Science Daily even suggests that nepetalactone, the plant’s essential oil, is approximately ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. Therefore, much less of this oil is needed to be effective. Plant catnip in your garden as a backyard defense, or crush the leaves and rub them directly on your skin. Some people even use the leaves in their tea for natural healing. Of course, you can also provide surplus leaves to the very thankful felines in your home.
Another multipurpose herb, rosemary can be used for many things other than seasoning. This aromatic plant works wonders when planted in your garden, easily tackling small mosquito infestations. When barbecuing, place a few sprigs of rosemary on the grill to keep mosquitoes away as the scent wafts through the yard. In addition, rosemary can be infused into lotions or sprays to create simple repellents for your body.
Similar to citronella, eucalyptus has a powerful smell that interferes with mosquitoes’ delicate senses and can make it difficult for them to locate their food sources. The oil from these trees also repels other insects such as ticks, midges and sandflies. While the presence of the plant itself will work as a repellent in your yard, the oil can be applied directly to the skin as well, but should be applied regularly for optimum protection.
Have you tried any of these natural scent repellents? Or, do you have other scents that should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments below or tell us about it on your next visit to Mosquito Magnet on Facebook! Also, be sure to subscribe to our e-newsletter, which will provide links to other helpful articles and clue you in on special deals. Looking for a more foolproof way to rid your backyard of mosquitoes? Cut down on the number of breeding mosquitoes looking for blood by using Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps. Our traps use carbon dioxide to attract and reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard over time, helping to lower your risk of getting mosquito bites.