Natural Mosquito Repellants

Stop pesky mosquitoes from ruining your outdoor fun with these natural deterrents

Credit: Flickr / Bramblejungle

Lemon-scented plants are a great way to turn off annoying mosquitoes

Learn how to deal with pesky mosquitoes in your backyard, naturally

It’s summertime and that means mosquitos are out in full force. Nothing drives a family backyard barbecue indoors faster than a large swarm of bloodsucking bugs. Here are a few ideas you can try around your garden to help keep these irritating pests away.

Natural Mosquito Repellant Tips

  1. Mosquitoes are naturally repelled by the scent of citronella, so load up your garden and planters with lemon-scented plants. Some top favourites for lemon scent include lemon thyme, lemon grass, lemon-scented geraniums, lemon basil and lemon verbena. They offer fragrance, foliage and texture in the summer garden. Other fragrant plants that repel mosquitoes include eucalyptus, lavender, and marigolds – particularly the little ‘Lemon Gem’ marigolds.
  2. Remove sources of stagnant standing water – they are mosquito breeding grounds. Change water in birdbaths and plant saucers frequently (the larvae take four to seven days to mature into adults).
  3. If you have a pond, be sure to stock it with fish, which eat mosquito larvae. In still ponds that contain no fish, consider an application of Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a beneficial bacteria that destroys mosquito larvae.
  4. When entertaining outdoors, use yellow light bulbs, as mosquitoes are less attracted to yellow lights than bright white ones.
  5. Apply natural repellents, such as citronella or lavender oil, to the back of the neck, hands and ankles. Skin So Soft (an Avon cosmetic product) is also said to repel mosquitoes.
  6. The efficient bat has a voracious appetite for mosquitoes, eating a thousand an hour given the chance. Build a bat house to encourage bats to take up residence in your yard.
  7. Welcome mosquito-eating songbirds, including chickadees. A water source (refreshed at least every second day), some suet, and a platform feeder with black oil sunflower seeds are a great start. Also, the seeds and nuts of pine, hemlock, birch walnut and sunflower are a natural food for chickadees, so consider these trees and plants for your garden space. Swallows, swifts and martins too are attracted to water, and these insect-devouring cavity nesters may even move in, given a welcoming little house.