Conquer your mosquito problem and get through a pleasant evening on the back porch without constantly swatting at biting insects by using these reader and contributor suggestions to banish mosquitoes from the yard. Organic pesticides and mosquito repellents are particularly helpful, but sometimes some mosquito prevention techniques provide the most relief from the mosquito bite threat.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
John from Benmore Sandton, Gauteng South Africa: "Mosquito control. Whilst I burn incense coils or sticks, a good neighborly trick that SHOULD be practiced internationally is to install Bat Boxes at regular intervals in the area. Bats consume 10,000 to 15000 insects a day (per bat). Do the community a turn!"Replies
02/12/2013: John from Midrand Gauteng, South Africa replies: "I agree most wholeheartedly, but where to get a bat box. I am past my sell by date so find it difficult to manufacture and install, but yes, it is a public service and if we had a gov't for the people they would be supplied, installed and a mandatory part of Africa. John"
Staff from Earth Clinic: "Citronella has long been a favorite natural insect repellent, particularly mentioned as a mosquito repellent. The question is, does it work? Citronella coils and candles have become a substantial little industry, but their effectiveness has definitely been called into question. Like other natural insect repellents, citronella oil is the essential oil extract of a certain genus of plants in the lemon grass family. Consensus on lemon grass is that it can be effective as a component of a multi-pronged defense against mosquito attacks. Think about combining citronella candles with a lavender and eucalyptus lotion or mix citronella in with several other herbs and essential oils for an effective mosquito repellent spray."
Coconut Oil and Lavender Oil
[YEA] 08/24/2012: T from Maryland, USA: "Beautyberry, coconut oil and lavender to repel mosquitos...
We have a huge mosquito problem here, and thanks to the invasion of aggressive Asian Tiger mosquitoes here about 10 years ago, we get attacked all day as well as night. I don't want to be slathering on chemicals but protection is a necessity to enjoy any time in the yard. I've read of various concoctions using a variety essential oils, but didn't have any of the listed ones on hand. In desperation I added about 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a small jar filled with VCO. We dip our fingers in the jar and rub the oil on any exposed skin and around the back of the neck to help keep them away from the face. So far it seems to be doing the trick, and of course the VCO is also a nice skin treatment :)
I'm looking to get some beautyberry bushes to plant as I've just read that they are a great repellent - you can crush the leaves and rub them on and it's apparently as effective as DEET. It also is 100% effective against ticks. In the meantime, my lavender/VCO mixture is definitely helping. I've also seen the info in spraying Listerine around the yard and that does seem to help as well."Replies
[YEA] 09/14/2012: Jennifer from St Paul, Mn replies: "I have been using virgin coconut oil on my skin this summer simply because it makes my skin feel great. Recently I watched mosquitos hover around my arms and legs and then fly away. Everyone sitting on the patio with me was complaining about the mosquitos and they were not bothering me at all. I used to be mosquito repellent for everyone else!"
[YEA] 10/12/2012: Phil from Sydney, Australia replies: "I have found that a dab of Lavender Oil on a mossie bite removes the itch within about 2 - 5 minutes. I used it on my children to prevent them from scratching until they break the skin then leaving marks.
The downside is the smell. I noticed that mossies tend to stay away after application as well.
I have told many people of this who were using creams. Many disbelieved until they tried it. Now they don't use anything else."
[NAY] 08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "DEET really is a toxic substance, and if it weren't that our tolerance for mosquitoes is so low, we probably would have banned its use long ago. DEET was developed by the US military in 1946, if that is any indication of the low level of safety concern in the chemical's development. There are certainly more toxic insect repellents out there, and DEET is much less detrimental to birds and other forms of life than many insect-targeting chemicals, but it still is a chemical that can burn through plastics and synthetics. DEET products strongly discourage its use around the eyes and mouth or simple cuts and scrapes, and users are encouraged to wash the product off as soon as it is no longer needed. Ingestion can be fatal and use on children is discouraged. Fortunately, natural alternatives can be just as effective, and the primary advantage in DEET is simply that it is longer lasting. Multiple applications of natural repellents can overcome this advantage entirely."
Devices and Decorations
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "Bamboo sticks have become a popular bathroom decorative item for use with pleasantly scented essential oils. It's a great alternative to chemical air fresheners, but you could also use this system as an alternative to citronella candles and mosquito coils. Instead of sweet-scented bathroom essential oil mixes, you could pour mosquito repelling mixtures into the container for the bamboo sticks, place one or two of these around your deck or patio, and let the bamboo sticks slowly release the insect repellent. Lavender oil is evidently effective against mosquitoes and much more attractive than most alternative pest repellents, but the garlic solution listed elsewhere on this page would also work very well."
[YEA] 09/08/2012: Mattc from Boston, Ma USA: "not a spray, but I tried this and it seemed to work. just take bounce drier sheets (1- 3) and put in your back pockets. I also took one and gently rubbed on my head and neck before going out, but I will not recommend this, it is just a consideration."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "A scientific study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a 30% concentration of oil of eucalyptus was the most effective natural mosquito repellent. Lemon eucalyptus seems the most effective, more effective even than low-concentration DEET sprays and lotions and far less toxic."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "Garlic naturally repels a number of biting insects, including mosquitoes. Some people recommend eating garlic to prevent mosquito bites, but you can get the same effect with a garlic oil spray.
- Take 10 or 12 finely chopped cloves of garlic
- Mix them in 4 oz mineral oil
- Set aside for a couple of days to mature
- Strain the mixture through a sieve or coffee filter into a spray bottle filled with a half cup of water and a few drops of dish detergent.
This mixture should repel mosquitoes anywhere, whether you spray it on your skin or just on objects around your outdoors gathering spot. (Caution: garlic can irritate skin, so test on a small area of your skin first.) You can also immerse strips of cloth in this mixture and hang them around your outdoor gathering to repel mosquitoes."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "Geraniol is the essential oil extract from a number of plants including geraniums, roses, lemon grass, bergamot, and even carrots. It is an effective if somewhat expensive commercially available alternative to chemical mosquito repellents. Geraniol has a rose-like scent, and studies are beginning to find that it is the most effective natural mosquito control option."
[YEA] 08/24/2012: Lita209 from Sanford, Fl, USA: "I mix flat beer, epsom salts and mint Listerine and spray my back yard and front yard for mosquito control. The first time I heard this remedy I thought it was weird, but I tried and it really works!!! Hope someone tries it."
Lemon Joy Detergent
[YEA] 08/24/2012: Joyce from Joelton, Tn: "For those of you who have a big mosquito problem, which will be rampant very soon now, I have also read that if you take a shallow white dish, fill it almost full of water, add a few drops of Lemon Joy detergent, the mosquitos will flock to it for drink which kills them, often within l0 - 12 feet of getting that drink."
Mosquito Bite Allergy Remedies
02/13/2013: Leanne from Gold Coast, Queensland: "I woke up one morning with what looked like a normal mosquito bite, just a small red bite, mildly itchy but I didn't scratch. Over the next week the bite turned into a small ring which kept getting larger and was slightly raised. It looks similar to a ringworm. Now four weeks later and it still hasn't gone away. The doctor gave me a mild ointment at first ( telling me it was an fungal thing) and now a stronger ointment which she says I can't use for long as it thins the skin. I would rather not use this. Four days on with using the strong ointment and it is still there. Any suggestions? Also does his mean I may now be allergic to mozzie bites now? It is also still mildly itchy. To get an idea what it looks like if you look up 'red ring around bite' on google images the first picture is kind of what it looks like."Replies
02/13/2013: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Leanne, we use green clay made into a paste with a lil' water on those kind of things. It draws out whatever's there. But don't leave the clay on: wash it off, say, in 1/2 hour, and later in the day do it again."
02/14/2013: Robin from St. Cloud, Fl replies: "Are you sure it wasn't a tick bite? There are some diseases like lyme disease and others that cause redness around the area and can cause some other serious side effects. You can ask your doctor for a blood test."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "Thai lemon grass is another decorative plant you can add to your garden and repel insects like mosquitoes at the same time. Thai lemon grass is a tall (about 2 foot tall) decorative grass that naturally produces citronella in a genetic mixture that is more effective than citronella oil itself. You can apply the pulp from Thai lemon grass directly to your skin as a natural mosquito repellent lotion. Just break off a stalk, peel back the leaves to get to the bare stem at the bottom of the stalk, and work this stem between your hands. You can rub the resulting liquid safely all over your skin."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "There is something about marigolds that makes them great pest repellents for our homes and gardens. Plant them in the garden and they will keep flying insects away from your vegetables. Plant marigolds around your patio, porch, deck, BBQ, or other outside area and you can repel mosquitoes without otherwise lifting a finger. A specific compound carried in the scent of the marigolds is a natural mosquito repellent and can actually be purchased as an essential oil to ward off insects in the garden."
08/24/2012: Staff from Earth Clinic: "As always, prevention of mosquitoes is sometimes the best medicine against them and against mosquito bites (not to mention the diseases they carry like West Nile virus and EEE). The place to start is always to make sure you don't have any standing water left for too long outside your home. Making sure any water in pet bowls, bird baths, or buckets and the like are emptied at least twice a week will significantly reduce the mosquito populations around your home."