There are so many joys that come along with warmer weather and the transition from spring into summer. However, there’s also one particular annoyance that comes with warmer temperatures as well – mosquitoes!
While there are some types of mosquitoes aren’t as annoying, the majority of the ones we see are.
Thankfully, despite their name, they might be able to be tamed with a single plant: lavender.
While lavender has been known to have a number of beneficial uses for the human body, this plant has also been used as a proven insect repellent for mosquitoes and other small flying insects.
So let’s take a look at the inner workings of this plant and how you can put lavender to work to keep your backyard mosquito-free all year round!
Does Lavender Even Work To Repel Mosquitoes?
Yes, yes, and yes! Lavender absolutely works to help repel mosquitoes. In fact, all forms of lavender work to repel mosquitoes!
From fresh lavender plants to dried, ground lavender flowers, lavender scented oils, this plant can be used in a number of ways to keep mosquitoes away!
So, let’s talk about some of these variations of lavender that can keep mosquitoes away, why lavender is such an effective mosquito repellent and a few other ways that you can help keep your yard mosquito free this summer!
However, believe it or not, mosquitos don’t always just leave in the colder months as you may think! Mosquitos actually hide out in tree bark, under snow, and in so many other places that you can learn more about in our article! So, lavender can be used as a year round repellent (although you probably won’t see mosquitoes during the winter.)
How Does Lavender Repel Mosquitoes?
Lavender has a sweet, floral scent to it with a woodsy undertone that many people find pleasant. When it comes to mosquitoes, however – it’s a hard “nope” for them!
What’s even more interesting is that even though mosquitoes don’t have a nose, they’re still capable of smelling through their antennae.
Through the connection between the mosquito’s antennae, the scent is detected and transmitted to the brain which will notify the insect of a potential meal or another less pleasant scent that will ward these pests off.
Here’s why lavender is a great example of the latter for mosquitoes.
Lavender Has A Strong Scent
While a single lavender plant or a small bouquet of its flowers isn’t going to knock anyone off their feet, the scenario is quite different when it comes to a mosquito’s reaction to this plant.
Because of their size and different scent receptors, lavender is a strong, pungent smell to mosquitoes and one that they will absolutely avoid.
Whether the plant is fresh or dried, when these insects catch a whiff of lavender in any form, it’s strong enough to keep these insects out of your way. Now, that’s the basic version. Here’s a bit more of the actual ‘reasoning’…
Lavender Can Overwhelm Mosquitoes’ Senses
Much like humans, there are certain smells that mosquitos are sensitive to and will disorient them. Whether this is a welcoming scent – or a less pleasant one to us, doesn’t mean it will be for a mosquito!
When mosquitoes interact with lavender, the scent overloads their olfactory organs – or the appendages that they use for their sense of smell. On a mosquito, there are three main sensory organs as opposed to a single one (the nose) on humans.
According to Boston University, a mosquito’s antennae, a pair of maxillary palps, and labella at the tip of the proboscis all help to detect scent. With these three appendages working simultaneously to send signals to the brain, it’s easy to see how mosquitoes can become overwhelmed by a particular scent.
Essentially, the strong scent of lavender will overpower a mosquitoes senses and confuse them from other areas that may otherwise attract them. Granted, you’ll have to have a good bit of lavender to make this work if you’re using plants, but I could think of worse things to have in my garden! You can even place lavender plants near your windows to help stop mosquitoes from entering your house.
Lavender Contains Linalool
What exactly is linalool and why is it helpful to repel mosquitoes?
Linalool is the active chemical component found in lavender and is a type of terpene alcohol – a naturally occurring product in certain plants. Linalool also helps give lavender its distinctive scent!
Because of its aroma, linalool is a highly useful ingredient or addition to insect repellents.
Lavender Can Attract Mosquitoes’ Predators
Lavender is a long-blooming flowering plant, so it’s no surprise that these plants can attract a number of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and many other ordinary backyard visitors! But get this – they are all predators of mosquitos!
With all this potential additional wildlife activity near your lavender plants, you may also see a decrease in mosquitoes because these animals eat mosquitoes as a part of their regular diet!
So, if there is an increase of winged wildlife in your yard, it’s possible that your lavender plants are bringing them to the area, but these creatures will also be helping to reduce any mosquito and insect population that may be lingering as well.
How To Use Lavender To Repel Mosquitoes
Okay, so we’ve probably sold you on the fact that lavender is a great option to reduce the mosquito activity that you’re experiencing around your home, but what is the most effective way to put this plant to use to receive maximum benefits?
We’ve got you covered.
Read on to see the different ways that you can utilize lavender – and in its multiple forms – to keep mosquitoes away!
If you would like other options than lavender, I encourage you to take a peak at our full list of scents that mosquitoes hate!
Plant Live Lavender Plants
Okay, we know that this one is probably a given, but planting live lavender plants in your flower garden or incorporating lavender plants into your landscape is a simple, yet effective, way to use lavender to keep mosquitoes at bay.
In order to ensure that your lavender plants thrive, here are some things to consider when determining the best locations to incorporate these plants in your landscaping:
- Find a sunny spot to plant your lavender. This plant grows best in full sunlight and ensuring plenty of sunshine will help the plant sprout plenty of flower buds.
- Check the soil. Lavender plants do best in well-drained soil; it also does best in alkaline soil with a pH level of 6.5 or higher. If you need to check the pH level of your soil, check out these Luster Leaf Rapitest Test Kits that test for pH, nitrogen, and phosphorous levels.
- Water sparingly. When you first plant your lavender, it’s important to keep them regularly watered during their first growing season. From that point forward, however, lavender is extremely drought resistant and will require minimal watering.
- Add fertilizer only upon initial planting. Similar to its water tolerance, lavender plants don’t need additional feeding after their initial planting. In fact, over-fertilizing has the potential to reduce the potency of your lavender plants.
You can even plant lavender near your swimming pool to help keep mosquitoes away!
Use Lavender Sprays
Depending on the location of your mosquito problem, lavender sprays might be a good option for indoor areas like a sunroom or four-season rooms that may stay open during the warmer months of the year.
Lavender sprays can be used in a similar manner to air freshener sprays- the main difference being that in addition to giving the room a pleasant aroma, a lavender spray will also help keep mosquitoes away!
You can make your own lavender spray at home with a combination of essential oils and water (more on that later), but there are also numerous lavender spray options that you can find in-store and online.
If you’re looking for a quick and effective room mist, consider an option like The Crown Choice Air Freshener Spray. In addition to this spray being able to give the air a quick refresh, this spray is also safe to use on linens and other fabrics.
If you go with a different option, just make sure it has lavender essential oil in it.
Apply Lavender Essential Oils
Essential oils have so many different uses. From applying directly to the skin to incorporating oils into sprays and diffusers, and at times even consuming it directly, the options seem to be never ending.
When it comes to using lavender essential oils as a mosquito repellent, there are a few different options that may provide effective results – let’s check those out below!
Use lavender essential oils in a diffuser
If you’re looking to freshen up a room while keeping mosquitoes away, using lavender essential oils in a diffuser would be a great option.
There are store-bought diffuser kits that you can purchase which generally come with a diffuser and a small selection of essential oils. But if you already have a diffuser at home and are simply looking to upgrade your oil scents, consider Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil as a lavender oil option to add to the device.
Make a homemade insect-repellent spray
We mentioned using essential oils in homemade sprays as an alternative to store-bought options, and the steps to make your own are relatively simple.
Follow these steps to make your own lavender oil insect-repellent spray:
- In a small spray bottle, add 2 ounces of distilled water.
- Add 1 tsp. of carrier oil (like coconut or avocado oil) to the bottle.
- Add 10 – 20 drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture.
- Add 1 stem of dried lavender.
- Shake the contents well – make sure the top is securely closed – and spray the mixture on as an insect repellent.
Of course, we’re not here to judge. If you’re more comfortable with a pre-made or store-bought repellent solution there are plenty of options out there like Victoria’s Lavender Organic “Don’t Bug Me” Insect Spray and roll-on options as well. This does have a citrus scent to it, so if you want just straight lavender you’re better off making your
Hang Or Carry Lavender Sachets With You
Using lavender sachets is another great mosquito repellent option for both indoor and outdoor use. Depending on your preference, and time frame of use, you can make your own lavender sachets or buy premade ones.
To make your own lavender sachets, you’ll need to dry the lavender for anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks. Once the lavender has fully dried, the flowers should easily fall from the stems and you can place them in sachets for use. (Don’t forget, you can buy premade lavender sachets as well if you don’t have the patience – or time – for your cut lavender to dry out!)
Once your lavender sachets are in hand, the options for placement are up to your heart’s desire. Here are some common areas where sachets can be placed to help reduce mosquito activity:
- Place lavender sachets in drawers and closets to keep insects away (and give your linens a fresh scent).
- Keep a sachet or two in your hiking or camping bag to repel mosquitoes while traveling outdoors.
- Hang lavender sachets from your patio or deck posts to enjoy a bug free evening of outdoor entertainment.
- Add a sachet in your dryer when drying laundry – the heat from the machine may help disperse the scent throughout your home to help get rid of smells and keep insects away.
- You can even add them inside the perimeter your basement! I personally use cedar sachets, but these will do a similar job.
- And so many other options! Since lavender sachets contain natural products, they can be used in a variety of locations and indoor and outdoor environments and won’t negatively impact the plant and wildlife in the area. Just don’t forget to discard of them once the scent is gone!
Additional Ways To Help Control Mosquitoes
In addition to utilizing lavender as a mosquito repellent, there are some regular maintenance items that you can check in your yard to ensure that you’re not unknowingly adding to the local mosquito population.
Make sure that you remove any standing water from your yard to help reduce areas where mosquitoes may lay their eggs and repopulate.
Check these common areas on a regular basis to ensure that water isn’t pooling and welcoming any unwanted mosquito activity:
- Check – and empty – flower pots, planters, and trash containers that may have collected water during rainy weather.
- Cover rain barrels so mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay their eggs. If you can’t cover the container with a lid, consider using a wire mesh with tight spacing that won’t allow adult mosquitoes to pass through.
- Cover any exterior plumbing pipes.
Regularly checking these areas, and adding some natural mosquito repelling plants like lavender to your yard, are sure to provide a double dose of repellent to these pesky bugs.
That’s A Wrap!
The fact that certain mosquito species are referred to as nuisance mosquitoes right in their name says a lot about the problems that these insects can cause.
While it’s true that they may not cause large-scale problems or continuous interruptions in our daily summer lives, their buzzing around our outdoor parties and their bites can still cause unwanted problems for us personally!
For a simple, effective way to repel mosquitoes during the year, consider using lavender as a natural mosquito repellent.
Whether you’re adding live lavender plants to your landscaping, using lavender essential oils or sprays, or utilizing dried lavender in sachets, lavender plants are effective in all forms to help keep you outdoors and mosquito-bite-free this summer.
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Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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