More tips to keep summer’s biggest pests at bay
Come summer, our household basically moves outside. Everything from cooking to just plain relaxing happens on the deck – and everyone’s welcome, except one group of particularly annoying visitors who show up for every event – our “friends” the mosquitoes.
The impulse is to reach for the nearest can of commercial mosquito spray, but we happen to dislike the scent of most products on the market, and we prefer not to spray chemicals like DEET on our skin. Instead, we rely on natural mosquito deterrants, including this host of strategies that help keep mosquitoes out of our yard:
Keep Away Mosquitoes Naturally, with Plants
These plants thrive in your garden or in containers, and best of all, mosquitoes hate them:
Lemongrass. Purchase a bundle of lemongrass in the grocery story, trim off the tops and place the bunch in a clear jar or glass of water. Place on a sunny windowsill and the grass will develop roots in a few weeks. Transplant to your garden or a patio pot and keep in full sun to help keep mosquitoes away.
Rosemary. This awesome cooking herb also an awesome turn off for mosquitoes. Rosemary thrives in well draining soil and full sunlight. It’s easy to grow and doesn’t require much water. I keep a pot of it on the deck and bring it in in the winter.
Marigolds. Great for garden borders. You can find them in a wide range of colors and heights and mosquitoes just hate their slightly pungent smell. While most plants can be rubbed on your skin to help chase away mosquitoes, you should avoid this with marigolds.
Mint. If you plant mint in the garden, keep an eye on it as it can spread like wildfire. I like keeping it in pots near the kitchen door because it’s a convenient way to grab a leaf or two for drinks and recipes. You can pick mint leaves and rub them on your skin, but just having the plants nearby also help keep mosquitoes at bay.
Catnip. Your kitties may love it, but mosquitoes hate catnip. Keep it from spreading too much by planting it in containers. Amazingly, catnip has proved to be 10 times more effective than DEET at keeping mosquitoes away, and it’s safe to rub on your skin, just crush the leaves up a little bit first.
Make Your Own Natural Mosquito Spray
Our favorite “recipes” come from Wellness Mama. They take no time at all to mix up, and you can experiment and produce your own “signature” scent.
Essential Oil Bug Spray
- Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
- Natural Witch Hazel
- Distilled or boiled Water
- Vegetable glycerin (optional)
- Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
- Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
- Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using
- Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!
- Store in a spray bottle in a cool place (fridge is great because then it’s nice and cool!)
- Use as needed.
Are mosquitoes a problem in your area? What natural tips do you have for keeping them away?
Photo: Travis S