Originally Published on July 14, 2022. Last Updated on September 12, 2022.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that mosquitos are party-crashing pests. However, it’s important to remember that they’re an important part of the food chain. Mosquitos feed larger animals like birds, spiders, bats, and frogs. Eliminating the mosquito population entirely would put the natural ecosystem off balance, and that’s not good for our planet.
So we need to find mosquito-repelling approaches that are safe, economical, and ecological. Seem like a tall order? It’s actually pretty easy. Take a look at our suggested solutions below and get ready to enjoy a mosquito-free space.
Use Homemade Mosquito Repellent
If you’re not a fan of store-bought mosquito spray, take a DIY approach and make your own mosquito repellent using natural ingredients. A quick search on Pinterest or Google will reveal a variety of mosquito-repellent recipes you can peruse. Many of these recipes use non-toxic ingredients you might already have at home, such as lavender essential oil, coffee grounds, peppermint, basil, and apple cider vinegar.
Before mixing up a batch of bug spray, consider your environment and choose a recipe that works for you.
For example, cinnamon oil is not safe for dogs and cats, so if you have furry family members who love playing outside, look for recipes that use pet-safe ingredients. As a Healthlink.com post points out, some essential oils can cause allergic reactions. So if someone in your household is allergic to peppermint, steer clear of recipes that use it.
Attract Natural Predators
Arguably the best way to get rid of mosquitos is to let nature run its course. In other words, let animals that sit above mosquitos on the food chain do the work for you. Here’s a list of animals that prey on mosquitos:
- Purple martins
To bring these animals to your backyard, you’ll need to make your space appealing to them. Birds will come once you build a few feeders for them, tall flowers like hollyhocks and sunflowers attract spiders, and water features like ponds are natural habitats for dragonflies, goldfish, and other aquatic-loving mosquito hunters.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing water. According to a FamilyHandyman.com post, it’s crucial to regularly drain all the stagnant bodies of water around your backyard, including gutters, buckets, birdbaths, and pet bowls. But how do you handle permanent water fixtures such as swimming pools, ponds, and other large water features?
- Keep the water moving with a fountain or an electric aeration pump.
- Cover your pool when it’s not in use.
- Tidy up the vegetation around ponds where mosquitos breed so they have no hiding places.
- Apply Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) to ponds, birdbaths, and swimming pools (and make sure to run your filter regularly).
Set Up Patio Screens
If you see lots of mosquitos in your yard during the warmer months, consider setting up retractable screens on your covered porch or patio. Manual versions that you can raise and lower with a pull string are available, or you can get fancy and spring for electric screens that go up and down with the press of a button.
If you don’t have covered spaces, consider pop-up screen houses and gazebos. These screened-in structures offer top-to-bottom coverage that keeps mosquitos and other critters out while letting the fresh air in.
Clean Your Yard
Regular lawn maintenance not only increases your home’s curb appeal, but it also helps keep mosquitos away. Mowing the grass, cleaning up debris and standing water, and trimming back overgrown bushes and plants are simple methods for preventing mosquito problems.
Incorporate Mosquito-repelling Plants
Flower and vegetable gardens are great for so many reasons, one being that they’re great for reducing mosquitos. Many plants have natural insect-repellent properties, so fill your planters, pots, and gardens with pest-fighting foliage. It’s Mother Nature’s mosquito control.
Here is a list of plants that keep mosquitos away:
- Cedar mulch
Beware of Mosquito-attracting Plants
It’s important to note that not all plants have your back. Some attract mosquitos, so when you’re planning out your pest-free landscaping, try to avoid using the following plants:
- Water lettuce
- Water lilies
These are aquatic flowering plants. Their nectar and the plants’ proximity to water make them a preference for pesky winged pests.
However, there are some nuances. For example, water lilies also attract dragonflies, which love to snack on mosquitos. And papyrus might attract mosquitos, but since it grows along the edges of lakes and ponds, it also brings in hungry fish and frogs.
The Truth About Citronella
For years, we’ve been told citronella oil repels mosquitos. But science has another story to tell. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Insect Science compared a variety of wearable and spray-on mosquito repellents to see which products were the most effective in keeping the bugs at bay. DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil sprays worked, and so did a wearable device containing metofluthrin. However, none of the items containing citronella oil had any effect in repelling mosquitos.
What smells do mosquitos hate?
Here are some scents that mosquitos find offensive (but fortunately, most humans find to be quite lovely):
Many herbs made the list, so designing a lush garden filled with these edible plants and cedar mulch is a pretty and practical way to keep mosquitos away from your patio.
How do you keep mosquitos away permanently?
The best way to get rid of mosquitos permanently is to stop the problem before it starts. This means making your property uninhabitable for these pests. Regular landscaping, removing any standing water, setting up feeders and houses for natural predators like purple martins and bluebirds, and planting herbs like lavender and rosemary all over your yard will make a big difference in creating a mosquito-free space.