Mosquitoes are a nuisance to deal with—not only can they leave itchy bites, they can spread diseases, such as the Zika virus, malaria, yellow fever, and the West Nile virus. Keep reading to learn how to repel mosquitoes around your home, prevent them from returning, and protect yourself from mosquito bites.
1. Get rid of standing water
Pools of standing water are breeding grounds for adult mosquitoes. Specifically, female mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti genus are known as container-breeding mosquitoes because they lay hundreds of eggs in and around standing water. If you have puddles of stagnant water in your yard or around your home, get rid of them by placing mosquito rings in the water. These rings contain a naturally occurring bacterium (Bt israelensis) that gets rid of mosquito larvae.
Additionally, drain any standing water in gutters, dump water out of buckets, and remove water from grill covers and tarps. Don’t forget to change the water in any fountains, bird baths, and potted plant trays at least once a week.
2. Plant mosquito-repellent plants
Some plants and flowers, such as lavender and marigolds, are effective at repelling mosquitoes and keeping them at bay. Here’s a list of plants that can repel mosquitoes:
- Marigolds: These annual flowers contain a natural compound called pyrethrum, which is found in a variety of insect repellents. In addition to mosquitoes, marigolds can repel squash bugs and tomato worms.
- Lemongrass: According to a study published by the Malaria Journal, some commercial repellents contain lemongrass oil to deter mosquitoes.
- Lavender: This flower can repel mosquitoes and other flying insects, such as moths and flies. While its fragrance can repel mosquitoes, the most effective way to use it is to gently crush the flowers and rub the oil on your skin.
- Mint: Mint plants, in their natural and essential oil form, deter mosquitoes with their aroma.
- Rosemary: This herb thrives in hot weather and can also grow in containers, making it a versatile herb to keep around. Its scent can repel mosquitoes and cabbage moths.
3. Use oil of lemon eucalyptus
While DEET has been around for a long time and has been proven to be effective at repelling mosquitoes, it can leave your skin feeling greasy and sticky after application. It can also harm your gear and is toxic to some wildlife. If you don’t want to bug sprays that contain harmful chemicals to get rid of mosquitoes, consider a natural alternative like oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE).
OLE is a natural mosquito repellent that’s effective at repelling mosquitoes and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an effective plant-based mosquito repellent. Unlike DEET and other chemical repellents, oil of lemon eucalyptus doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue, has a refreshing scent, and provides protection against mosquitoes for up to six hours. For maximum effectiveness, apply products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus as often as required by the manufacturer.
Murphy’s Naturals provides a variety of products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus and other natural ingredients, including its Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray, Mosquito Repellent Candle, and Mosquito Repellent Wipes.
4. Set a mosquito trap
While you can buy mosquito traps online or at your local home improvement store, you can make one at home by following these simple steps:
- Cut an empty two-liter plastic bottle in half horizontally.
- Heat one cup of water and mix in ¼ cup of sugar.
- After the solution has cooled, pour it into the bottom half of the empty bottle.
- Add a gram of yeast to initiate a carbon dioxide reaction.
- Remove the cap from the top half of the bottle.
- Flip the top half of the bottle upside down and connect it to the bottom half, creating a funnel.
- Tape the two pieces of the bottle together.
- Set the trap in a shaded part of your yard away from your main gathering space.
The trap should work by emitting carbon dioxide and attracting mosquitoes to the funnel. The mosquitoes should end up drowning in the solution at the bottom of the bottle.
Note: For the best results, consider emptying the mixture every two weeks.
5. Use a fan
Since mosquitoes can’t fly well in windy conditions, set up a portable fan in your outdoor space to deter these pests. A fan can also disperse carbon dioxide and other chemical cues that mosquitoes use to locate hosts to feed on.
6. Light a citronella candle
Place a candle like Murphy’s Naturals’ mosquito repellent candle in your outdoor space to repel mosquitoes. This candle repels mosquitoes for up to 30 hours and contains responsibly sourced, plant-based ingredients, including rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, and citronella oil. It doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients such as petroleum, palm wax, or parabens.
7. Wear long clothing
By wearing long sleeves and pants, it’s harder for mosquitoes to bite you. You should also wear long socks and shoes instead of sandals, since some species of mosquitoes, such as those of the Aedes variety that transmit the Zika virus, love the smell of feet. Since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, it’s recommended that you spray yourself with a mosquito repellent for an extra layer of protection.
How to prevent future mosquito infestations
To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home or staying in your yard, consider the following tips for year-round mosquito control:
- Seal gaps in your windows, doors, and walls—To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home, patch gaps in your window screens and doors. Use caulk to seal holes in your foundation and consider purchasing a door strip to keep mosquitoes from entering through this opening.
- Trim your lawn—Mosquitoes tend to hide in tall, cool grasses. Mow your lawn regularly and keep it short to ensure mosquitoes don’t make your lawn a hiding place.
- Consider switching up your mulch—Cedar mulch contains cedar oil, which can keep your soil dry and prevent it from attracting mosquitoes.
- Attract natural predators—If you don’t have too many mosquitoes around your home, attracting a few animals may help with your situation. Hang a bird feeder in your yard to attract swallows and purple martins, build a pond to benefit from animals like goldfish and koi, or install a bat house.
- Hire an exterminator—If you have a severe mosquito infestation, consider hiring an exterminator to treat mosquitoes. Some pest control companies will offer natural solutions to get rid of mosquitoes and apply seasonal treatments to keep your home pest-free all year long.