Mosquito infestation is one of the biggest pest-related problems in almost every household. They are annoying and carry deadly infectious diseases like dengue and malaria – both of which are epidemics in some countries. They are common in tropical countries and prefer warm seasons.
Table of Contents
Can plants repel (or attract) mosquitoes?
Like other insects and animals, Mosquitoes are drawn to habitats that provide them with the resources they need to survive. Believe it or not, Mosquitoes do not survive on the blood of animals (only the females bite, and they feed their eggs the blood).
Instead, adult mosquitoes feed on the nectar of plants such as papyrus, taro, water lily, and water hyacinth. So removing those plants from your yard may be beneficial.
Other aspects of habitat, such as pools of standing water, make a significantly greater difference in whether or not you have a mosquito problem.
Moreover, believe it or not, there are a few plants that, in a way, repel mosquitoes. Mosquitoes identify humans and other animals to bite by feeling their body heat and movement, but largely by “smelling” the carbon dioxide exhaled by our pores.
So while typical mosquito sprays like DEET and other repellants make your body uncomfortable to land on, certain plants smell strong enough to conceal your scent and deceive the mosquitoes.
The usual remedy that we usually use to combat this is through the use of insect repellant sprays or scented candles. Though these are generally harmless, they still contain chemicals that may irritate some people and cause allergic reactions.
But these plants don’t just spread their odor around the yard! To get the mosquito-repelling effect, take a few leaves, crush them up a little, and then apply them to your arms and legs. Of course, this is a no-go for anyone sensitive to chemicals or skin allergies.
And for some particularly attracted to bites, this may not be effective enough to make a difference. However, many people are looking for more natural mosquito repellents and do not have all.
This article will tell you about a natural and safe way to repel mosquitoes from your home. We will discuss insect-repelling plants that are great in your yard and indoors.
Lavender is a pretty popular plant all over the world. Aside from the attractive scent and the vibrant color, it also has an inherent ability to repel mosquitoes. Lavender somehow emits a scent that is pleasant to humans but irritating to mosquitoes.
Applying lavender essential oil to your skin effectively protects you from getting bitten by mosquitoes. You can also pair it with a carrier oil like coconut oil (also an effective pest control substance).
A bottle of lavender oil is cheap and is widely available on Amazon.
2. Wild Bergamot
Wild bergamot is known for attracting good insects like bees, butterflies, and even hummingbirds and, at the same time, keeps the mosquitoes away. So this is a good choice of plant to have in your garden or your yard. Like lavender, its oil is also good for application on the skin since its scent repels mosquitoes.
In addition, this plant is often used to make jellies, tea and as a tasty garnish for salads and many other dishes.
If you have this plant, expect a bunch of butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to hang around often. Wild bergamot essential oil can be bought on Amazon and in physical stores.
Mint is widely used for tea and as an additive for preparations because of its cooling effect. There are many different variants of the mint herb, and we will also be discussing two of them as we move forward, but this is just general information for this part.
The majority, if not all members of the mint family, are powerful insect repellants. The menthol aroma of the plant turns out to be repulsive to mosquitoes and other flying pests like gnats.
Mint is a harmless alternative for repelling mosquitoes, flies, and even ants. The stronger the aroma, the fewer pests you’ll have. Grow it in pots on your patio, where you can quickly grab a leaf or two for your afternoon tea. You may even dry the leaves and use them in your home as a natural pest control strategy.
They are also pretty easy to grow in your backyard, but you have to know that they are invasive and take up a lot of ground in just a short amount of time. They can be put in pots to limit their growth and placed on your porch, patio, or any confined space outdoors.
4. (Burning) Sage
Burning sage is a good choice for insect repelling plants for outdoor activities like camping or just having an occasional casual bonfire under the night sky. It is also proven to keep ticks, moths, and flies away from the area. But the smoke of the burning sage can only protect you as long as you stay near it.
There is also an essential oil derived from the sage plant that is great for skin application on the pulse areas like the wrists, the sides of the neck, and around the neck – usually, the spots where you apply perfume. Sage essential oil can be bought online on Amazon or in physical health stores.
Marigold flowers come in shades of red, orange, and yellow. They do a great job of adding a splash of color to your yard. The usually green garden transforms into a beautiful field of bright-colored flowers with these. Furthermore, the terpene oil secreted by their leaves keeps mosquitoes away.
Even if you do not know much about gardening, you can still take care of these flowers because they do not require constant tending and maintenance. Marigolds can tolerate heat and resist dry weather easily. If you want to beautify your yard and repel mosquitoes simultaneously, marigolds are a great choice.
They are pretty much easy to find in your local plant nursery, and you can also buy seedlings on Amazon.
Lemongrass is widely popular for its efficiency in repelling mosquitoes. It works similarly to mint because of its lemon-scent component. It also has an oil content which is citronella – a well-known mosquito repellant substance as well.
This plant serves multiple purposes as well. It can be used as a food additive and can be incorporated into many recipes. However, there have been reports that its extracted oil can cause birth defects in infants. Pregnant women aren’t advised to consume food with lemongrass content.
Lemongrass oil can be bought online and at your local health food store.
7. Lemon Thyme
Here we have another plant from the lemon species. We also emphasized that plants that belong to the lemon family are natural mosquito repellants. The lemon thyme can survive extremely hot weather and thrive in soil types that are generally difficult for other plants to grow. As long as there is a constant supply of sunlight, lemon thyme will survive.
You can obtain the natural oils from the lemon thyme plant by crushing its leaves and rubbing them on your exposed body parts that mosquitoes usually bite on (usually the limbs.)
Mosquitoes are the insect version of a popular mythical creature that we all know – vampires. According to folklore, garlic is a vampire’s kryptonite. The strong scent of garlic irritates mosquitoes and helps keep them away.
The juice of garlic, in particular, has the biggest repelling activity. But you do not want this smell on your skin. You can cut up a few cloves of garlic and put them near your patio or porch to allow the fumes of its juices to circulate in the air and ward off mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes reproduce in places with stagnant water, inside old tires, trash bins, ponds, and small creeks. These are the best spots to utilize the power of garlic, so completely get rid of them.
Garlic essential oil can be bought online or at local health food stores.
9. Catmints – Catnips
Catmints are also called ‘catnip’ – an attractive plant to cats. If you have a feline friend, you can expect them to hang around this plant a lot. Catmints are also effective at repelling mosquitoes.
This plant is a member of the mint species, which is known for secreting a chemical called nepetalactone – a natural pest repellent. Catmint grows rapidly and abundantly. It will easily dominate your garden or yard if you cannot maintain it regularly.
Below is a link for you to purchase Catnip online.
The Pennyroyal plant as a home remedy for several ailments goes way back to the olden times. It has also been recognized as an effective insect repellent. However, to achieve its mosquito-repelling effect, you have to cut up a part of the plant and carry it in your pocket, not just drink the famous Pennyroyal tea.
Pennyroyal has a reported toxic effect on infants and pregnant women, so they are not allowed to partake in any product derived from the Pennyroyal plant.
You might be familiar with Rosemary because this is a very popular herb used in various recipes. Another great thing about it is its inherent mosquito-repelling ability. If you have this plant in your yard, you get a natural insect repellent and a readily available supply of herbs for your cooking.
A method to use it as a personal mosquito repellent you can take some leaves, slightly bruise them, and stick them on you when you go outside. You can also rub the leaves on your skin, but it’s more convenient if you buy the essential oil of Rosemary and apply that instead.
You can find essential oil online or at your local health store.
Geraniums come in various vibrant colors like pink, red, purple, orange, and white. Their visual appearance is attractive to us humans, but the lemon-like scent that they subtly emit is repulsive to mosquitoes and other insects.
You can have this plant in your yard or porch, which would greatly reduce mosquito swarming in your area. You can also apply Geranium essential oil on your skin in trace amounts for additional protection.
Geranium young plants and seeds are usually sold at local nurseries, and the essential oil can be purchased online.
Rosemary is another common herb used in cooking. It has a very rich and distinct aroma that is usually used in Italian dishes. It is also effective in keeping mosquitoes away from the area where they are planted.
You can rub the leaves on your arms, hands, legs, and other usually exposed body parts to apply the repelling scent onto you. There is also an essential oil formulation of Basil available that you can buy online or at a nearby health goods store.
From the name itself, it is clear that this is another member of the mint species. Leaves of the peppermint can be bruised and crushed to release the insect repelling activity’s scent. This only hastens the chemical release, but even if you do not, the plant still exhibits the same effect without causing any injury.
The concentrated essential oil of peppermint has a significant larvicidal effect as well, meaning it can kill the larvae of insects. You can also apply it directly on to your skin with the essential oil that has a cooling effect. Do not apply too much, though, because it tends to have an irritating effect at high concentrations. A few drops on your arms, legs, and neck should suffice.
Peppermint essential oil is very common and can be bought online or from a physical store.
15. Floss Flower
Ageratum is the other name for Floss flower. This plant is so tough that it can withstand extreme hot and cold weather conditions, and they grow in large and tight bundles. This plant is great, particularly for garden edging or in rock gardens. They thrive in almost any soil type as well.
While not the most effective repellent, these purple lovelies (Ageratum houstounianum) emit an aroma that mosquitoes dislike, according to SFGate. Butterflies and hummingbirds, on the other hand, love their scented blooms.
A chemical called coumarin, which is an ingredient in commercial insect sprays, is naturally secreted by this plant. You can have this plant lining the side of your house to keep mosquitoes away.
Floss flower seeds can be bought online.
Alliums have bright-colored bulbs that reach around six feet tall at maximum growth, and it also produces floral balls that exhibit vibrant color hues which are repulsive to mosquitoes. The allium plant can thrive in hot climates and survive throughout the spring and summer seasons.
They are pretty low-maintenance plants. You have to place them where they can receive enough sunlight. Putting them on your porch, lanai, or any outdoor area effectively minimizes the number of mosquitoes that swarm near your home.
They go well with other flowering and edible plants, especially if you have a vegetable garden, because they are known to ward off cabbage worms, slugs, and aphids.
Lantanas are invasive plants despite their visually pleasing appearance. They will take over your yard if you cannot control their growth and maintain them. Nonetheless, they are effective mosquito repellants.
This was proven by a study conducted in Africa in the early 2000s where Lantana plants were placed outside 90 houses. The study revealed that the presence of the Lantana plant reduced mosquito infestation by an average of 50%.
The name of Mums is Chrysanthemum, and you can grow this plant in any spot that is hit by direct sunlight. If you have a raised garden in your home, patio, or outdoor lounging area, chrysanthemums will look great in them as they can serve as beautifiers and mosquito repellants.
This plant can survive both hot and cold weather, may it be warm, humid temperatures, or the winter frost. They are low maintenance and come in multiple color variations.
19. Tea Tree
You may be familiar with tea tree oil if you are a beauty or skincare enthusiast. The oil of this particular plant is a common additive to many beauty products because it has acne-treating properties. It also offers relief from contact dermatitis and pediculicide properties, specifically in treating head lice.
It also has mosquito repelling effects – not the plant, but the oil. When applied to the skin, it can protect you from mosquito bites. Tea tree oil can be bought online and from local shops.
Bright colors are repulsive to mosquitoes. Since petunias have bright and vibrant colors, they are also good at keeping insects away. Fun fact: petunias are also carnivorous plants, which also feed on these insects.
Anywhere with direct sunlight is a good spot to grow petunias. They grow well in garden beds, hanging baskets, and around landscape borders and can coexist with edible plants. They do not require much maintenance and can survive harsh weather conditions.
21. Lemon Balm
For the last plant on our list, we will be including yet another member of the lemon family. The lemon balm is an efficient mosquito repeller because it is a perfect combination of the mint and citrus components – top-tier anti-mosquito substances. This plant is also rather invasive and tends to dominate an area if left uncontrolled.
The aroma of the lemon balm is a potent repellent against mosquitoes. You can crush the leaves to release some juices and apply them to your skin for additional protection from mosquitoes.
Do mosquitoes feed on plant nectar?
Mosquitoes feed mostly on plant nectar rather than blood. Male mosquitoes do not feed on blood; instead, they consume nectar, plant juice, and honeydew. Female mosquitoes exclusively drink blood to prepare their bodies for reproduction. Like several other insects in your garden, Mosquitoes feed mostly on nectar from flowering plants.
Which scents actively repel mosquitoes?
Female mosquitos use their excellent sense of smell to detect carbon dioxide emissions emitted when people exhale. This means that strong odors and other perfumes can be used to repel mosquitoes by confounding them. Perfumes, citronella candles, and many other natural scents help protect you against mosquito bites in your Lubbock, TX, home or garden.
We are all annoyed with mosquitoes. They do not have any benefits, and they only carry infectious diseases. We should protect our homes from them. There are chemical insect repellents available in the market, as well as sprays and even candles.
However, one of the natural and effective ways is using plants. Our world is blessed with plants that produce essential oils with several uses – one of which is protection against mosquitoes.