We are in the midst of the season of the mosquito – summer’s most unwanted pest – which has a tendency to accompany your al fresco dinner parties and afternoons in the garden.
And while knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes is important to prevent an annoying itch (or sometimes worse), the process rarely feels like a joy. Some of the most impactful prevention methods involve tedious clean-up routines and pesticide sprays that is one of the less pleasant aspects of summer. However, not all mosquito prevention tactics have to feel like a chore.
Instead, experts suggest investing in aromatic flowers and oils that deter pests from your home and garden while filling your space with sweet scents and (in some cases) vibrant color. These are the five mosquito repellent plants, oils and foods that make repelling mosquitoes more pleasant.
5 fragrances that repel mosquitoes – for an aromatic, therapeutic summer
You may know about the colors that attract or repel mosquitoes, but what about the impact of smell?
‘Mosquitoes do not like certain smells, such as lavender, citronella or eucalyptus. These smells deter mosquitoes because they produce chemicals that mosquitoes don’t like – namely linalool and geraniol,’ says Melanie Rose, a pest specialist at Nationwide Pest Control. This is why you often find these scents in soaps and candles used to keep bugs away from your home.
Here are the top fragrances to invest in this summer.
‘Grapefruit is a refreshing summer treat packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. But when it comes to repelling mosquitoes, a compound called nootkatone is a hero,’ explains Scot Hodges, the vice president of professional development for Arrow Exterminators (opens in new tab).
You can use the nutcatones in your grapefruit to ward off misquotes from your home or garden, but it’s even more than a pest deterrent. “Not only can you snack on grapefruit, but you can also use grapefruit oil on your skin,” adds Scot.
Lemongrass contains citronella oil – perhaps the best known of mosquito repellent scents. But how can you bring this plant into your scheme? You can start by knowing how to grow lemongrass in your garden, or, for a delicious solution, you can bring the kitchen.
“Swap your summer glass of lemonade for a chilled glass of lemongrass tea, or use lemongrass oil gently on your skin for a quick mosquito repellent,” suggests Scott.
Lavender is one of the most well-known mosquito repellents, but it’s easy to see its appeal. Melanie explains that, although the pest doesn’t like its distinctive scent, the same smell has a calming effect on humans – which is why it’s often used as an essential oil for aromatherapy and meditation.
Knowing how to grow lavender in your garden or arranging it in a vase is one way to keep mosquitoes at bay. Or you can choose one of the best candles on the market, many of which are infused with this powerful fragrance.
4. Pine oil
With its pleasant woody aroma, it can be hard not to find joy in pine oil. While this fragrance will always have a place among the best-selling essential oils, it should also have an equal place among your summer decor ideas.
Zackary DeAngelis of Pest Pointers LLC (opens in new tab) explains that the scent of the pine oil will “overwhelm and confuse a mosquito’s senses, limiting its ability to locate you” and protect you from bites.
“Using pine oil as a mosquito repellent is one good way to put rags with pine oil outside your windows, porch or doors,” suggests the expert. “You will need to refresh the cloths every few days, but you can also use this method specifically on days where you are more likely to have mosquitoes for easier application.”
If you can tolerate a healthy amount of spice, it may be worth including chilies in your diet, especially over the summer when mosquito activity is high. “These peppers are known to repel mosquitoes thanks to capsaicin, a heat-producing compound that the fly doesn’t like,” says Scot.
So while this kitchen idea isn’t for every palette, it’s worth considering adding a kick to your dishes to keep the pest away.
What smells do mosquitoes hate?
Mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, citronella, cloves, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary.