9 Scents That Mosquitoes Hate (And How To Use Them)
It’s summertime and you are enjoying the outdoor patio with your family and friends. The evening skylight looms in the distance and everything is beautiful. All of a sudden, your arm is itchy. You look down and what do you see? A mosquito biting you!
Mosquitoes have an incredibly strong sense of smell, which they use to find accessible food sources. By using specific scents, you can actually confuse mosquitoes by interfering with scents that would otherwise attract them!
Mosquitoes hate scents like lavender, peppermint oil, geranium oil, cinnamon bark oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, catnip, rosemary, and pine oil.
If you are looking to be rid of those annoying mosquitoes for good, then settle in, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy reading this post. We will share exactly how to use each scent so you can deter mosquitoes from coming into your yard, garden, and home!
What Are Mosquitoes Attracted To?
So how do mosquitoes enter our yard, garden, or even the inside of our homes? What is it that attracts them to these places?
First off, mosquitoes tend to be a problem at night, from dusk until dawn. This is most likely why you see them at night.
Mosquitoes are attracted to lights, therefore explaining why you often find them buzzing around your porch or deck lights.
They also fly to standing water and breed in this area. This should lead you to do things like cleaning out any fountains or small bodies of water, like a birdbath, which you have in your backyard.
Mosquitoes just love to bite people! They are attracted to certain things that are on people’s skin including their sweat. It is not a pleasant thought, right? But, hey, that is just what they do!
What Scents Do Mosquitoes Hate And How Can You Use Them?
Let’s dig into why you are here. Let’s learn all about the various scents that mosquitoes hate and how you can use them effectively.
Get ready to take notes!
Lavender Repels Mosquitoes
Ah, do you smell that wonderful scent? What could it be? Lavender, you say? Wow, it smells fantastic!
However, guess what? Mosquitoes absolutely hate the scent of lavender! It’s true!
Let’s say that you have a beautiful garden in your yard. What you should do is buy some lavender plants and plant them somewhere outside. You’ll notice that many of the mosquitoes that visited your home, stay away.
Now, it’s important to note that you should plant as many lavender plants as possible, not just a few. The aroma of one plant itself won’t be enough to repel mosquitoes.
So, to repel mosquitoes with lavender, plant or place 5-10 plants in areas you want to repel them. The more plants, the better. At times when you need to repel mosquitoes, crush some of the lavender to release the lavender oil inside, which will help to repel mosquitoes.
Well, what if you do not have a garden at your home or can’t get plants? That is totally okay because you can use lavender in other ways.
You can always look into some terrific products like the Plant Therapy Essential Oils in Lavender. Make sure you have an essential oil diffuser, then once the lavender essential oil arrives at your doorstep, get it set and press start!
The scent of lavender will waft through the air and help repel mosquitoes.
If you’d like more in-depth information on this one, take a peak at our detailed guide on using lavender to repel mosquitoes!
Mosquitoes Hate Peppermint Oil
Do you enjoy peppermint sticks or peppermint candy, especially at Christmas time when these products are in abundance everywhere?
Well, you may or may not enjoy the taste or fragrant smell of peppermint, but mosquitoes, they definitely hate the smell!
So what can you do if you want to use peppermint to repel mosquitoes?
Research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology showed that high concentrations of peppermint oil can repel mosquitoes. Researchers found that small concentrations of peppermint oil (5% and 10%) did not repel mosquitoes, but that only high concentrations of peppermint oil were effective.
I really wanted to recommend a product here, but it’s better for other insects and rodents instead of mosquitoes.
So that being said, if going by the research, placing peppermint essential oil in a diffuser near areas where you’d like to repel mosquitoes outdoors may be strong enough to keep mosquitoes away from your immediate area.
Peppermint plants most likely won’t work for this one, but if you do want to go that route, make sure that you crush up the peppermint plants at peak times when you want to repel mosquitoes.
Geranium Oil Repels Mosquitoes
One essential oil that you may not think of as a typical mosquito repellent is geranium oil.
While there isn’t significant scientific evidence to support geranium oil for repelling mosquitoes, geranium oil has been thought of as an age old DEET alternative for repelling mosquitoes.
While geranium oil on it’s own most likely isn’t enough to repel mosquitoes, it can be useful when used with other mosquito repelling ingredients such as lemongrass eucalyptus and rosemary. Take a look at SALLYEANDER No-Bite-Me Natural Bug Repellent which contains a mixture of 16 different mosquito repelling essential oils.
Cinnamon Bark Oil Can Help Eliminate Mosquito Eggs
Cinnamon often makes people think of warm, cozy winter nights when you are huddled in a blanket at home, with a cup of hot chocolate drizzled in cinnamon spice in your hands.
However, cinnamon bark oil has an alternative use as an effective mosquito elimination tool.
Cinnamon bark oil has a warm and spicy scent. According to research published by research published out of National Taiwan University, researchers found that Cinnamaldehyde, the primary organic compound in cinnamon was effective at inhibiting the growth of larvae of yellow fever mosquitos.
So, if you find a grouping of mosquito eggs, spraying cinnamon bark oil on the larvae may be an effectie solution to stunting mosquito growth near you.
Oil of Lemongrass Eucalyptus Deters Mosquitoes
Lemongrass is found everywhere, from ingredients to sprays to candles to lotions. Some people love its smell, others not so much. For mosquitoes? They hate the scent of citronella.
In truth, the oil of lemon eucalyptus is recommended by the CDC to prevent tick and mosquito bites on adults. It’s one of the only plant based repellents to be recommended to repel mosquito bites. The key ingredient, oil of lemon eucalyptus, is stronger in concentration that the base plant itself and can repel mosquitoes.
Upon searching the EPA database for registered mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, you’ll find Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent, which claims to repel mosquitoes as a DEET alternative for up to 6 hours. While not an endorsement from the EPA, it is a registered product.
Try out that essential oil and let us know if it works for you! Either way, you will get to enjoy the wonderful aroma of lemongrass in and around your home.
Citronella Repels Mosquitoes
Citronella candles are such an amazing thing to use on warm summer evenings when all you want to do is relax outside. Why should you use them? Well simply, citronella affects the scent glands of mosquiotes.
In truth, citronella blocks the scent receptors of mosquitoes. When citronella is applied topically or released into the air, mosquitoes are unable to find a proper food source and stay away from the area. You can apply citronella based mosquitoes topical repellents, or use a citronella candle.
There is a great product called the Cutter Citronella Candle that comes in a copper cup and it is about 20oz.
All you need to do is get this candle set up outside and light it!
Once you get the candle burning, it will create a perimeter within its surrounding area which the mosquitoes will not be able to permeate.
So if you want to protect yourself and your family from a night of getting bitten relentlessly by those irritating mosquitoes, take a look into some citronella!
Catnips Repels Mosquitoes Similar To DEET
Do you use catnip? Maybe you do, and maybe you do not, but let me drop some knowledge on you.
Catnip is one of the strongest forms of repellent against mosquitoes! Get some catnip leaves and crush them into small pieces. Once these release a natural oil, you can take that oil and rub it on various rags or similar fabrics. Catnips has been shown to be almost as effective as DEET.
Spread these rags outside and let the catnip do its magic! If you weren’t sure what DEET was, it’s an EPA approved chemical compound that hides your scent from mosquitoes. So, catnip works the same way and can be just as effective when properly applied.
The Strong Scent Of Rosemary Repels Mosquitoes
Rosemary is the last scent we recommend you use to get rid of those darn mosquitoes!
Mosquitoes hate the strong scent of rosemary.
In truth, mosquitoes are repelled by the strong scent of rosemary as its pungent aroma doesn’t indicate a food source and masks potential food sources simultaneously. To use rosemary as a mosquito repellent, you can crush leaves or keep small plants around areas mosquitoes frequent.
If you’re looking for a commercial solution, take a peak at Wondercide’s Rosemary Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent Spray.
Pine Oil Repels Mosquitoes
One of the most tried and true rural methods for repelling mosquitoes actually has some scientific backing to it. Thats right, pine oil.
Pine oil will repel mosquitoes. Research from the Malaria Research Centre found that pine oil provided 100% protection from Anopheles culicifacies and 97% protection from southern house mosquitos, which are most commonly found in tropical climates.
While you may not be reading this from the tropics, it’s important to note that using pine oil as a mosquito repellent has been a homestead method for many years, and has some scientific validity to boot. While the study above looked at pine oil on the skin there are other ways that this may be effective.
For instance, a diffuser! Simply put, you can properly dilute pine oil and place it in a diffuser outside whenever you need to keep those pesky mosquitoes away.
Conclusion: Let’s Do A Quick Recap!
Thanks so much for sticking with us during this blog post!
We hope you learned a lot and know exactly what to do the next time mosquitoes start bothering you or invade your personal property.
Just to be on the safe side, let’s do a quick recap of all the scents we covered so you know just what to look for:
- Lavender: This can be used as an essential oil, or even as a plant. Many lavender-scented sprays target insects. Try these out and we are sure one of them is bound to work for you!
- Peppermint Oil: This scent can be found in a product that is mentioned above which helps eradicate mosquitoes from the surrounding areas.
- Geranium Oil: When used with other mosquito repelling scents, geranium oil can be a powerful mosquito repellent.
- Cinnamon Bark Oil: Candles are a great way to go in this circumstance.
- Lemongrass Eucalyptus Oil: Try out a lemongrass essential oil in your diffuser. It should definitely work!
- Citronella Oil: Citronella candles are a classic solution to getting rid of many insects, especially mosquitoes.
- Catnip: Get a hold of some leaves, crush them, collect the oil, put the oil on rags, and spread those rags around outside.
- Rosemary: Use a lot of rosemary plants, or rosemary oil for an effective repellent.
- Pine Oil: Dilute pine oil, and place it in a diffuser where you need to repel mosquitoes.
Well, that’s a wrap for us! Woohoo!
If you’re looking for more mosquito tips, check out our piece on how to keep mosquitoes out of your house for good.
Thank you so much for stopping by. See you soon for your next pest problem!
Barnard, D. R. (1999). Repellency of essential oils to mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of medical entomology, 36(5), 625-629.
Cheng, S. S., Liu, J. Y., Tsai, K. H., Chen, W. J., & Chang, S. T. (2004). Chemical composition and mosquito larvicidal activity of essential oils from leaves of different Cinnamomum osmophloeum provenances. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 52(14), 4395-4400.
Cilek, J. E., & Schreiber, E. T. (1994). Failure of the” mosquito plant”, Pelargonium x citrosum’van Leenii’, to repel adult Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus in Florida. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 10(4), 473-476.
Clemens, A. N. (2011). The biology of mosquitoes.
Tucker, A.O., & Maciarellg, N.M.J. (1996). Essential oil analysis and field evaluation of the citrosa plant “Pelargonium Citrosum” as a repellent against populations of Aedes mosquitoes. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 12(I):69-74
Piyaratne, M. K., Amerasinghe, F. P., Amerasinghe, P. H., & Konradsen, F. (2005). Physico-chemical characteristics of Anopheles culicifacies and Anopheles varuna breeding water in a dry zone stream in Sri Lanka. Journal of Vector Borne Diseases, 42(2), 61.
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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