Looking to make your natural mosquito repellent spray? Good for you! Mosquitoes are out of control this summer in many parts of the country, and with new mosquito-borne illnesses making the news daily, it’s good to take precautions.
If you’re one of those people mosquitoes devour (and I certainly am), knowing how to make natural mosquito repellent will let you enjoy summer’s lazy days without scratching like mad all night long.
How To Keep Mosquitoes Away
Get rid of standing water.
The best natural mosquito repellent is prevention! Mosquitoes can breed in as little as five days, even in something as shallow as a bottle cap full of water. Make a habit of checking your yard every few days, and immediately after any rain. Clean out the places where mosquitoes are likely to breed:
- Clogged gutters
- Kiddie pools
- Saucers under container plants
- Bags of potting soil or mulch left sitting out
- Improperly chlorinated swimming pools
- Ornamental fish ponds
- Puddles and muddy areas
- Bird baths
- Holes in trees or stumps
- Uncovered rain barrels and other open containers
- Old tires
- Children’s toys
Don’t give them a place to rest.
Adult mosquitoes need places to rest during the day, or when a breeze picks up. Keep your lawn trimmed and pull any weeds growing near your patio and deck. Don’t forget to drain those saucers under your container plants while you’re at it! Also, cut back any tree branches that grow close to your house since these provide a windbreak for mosquitoes as well as a way for ants and other pests to enter your home.
Use yellow bug lights.
White light attracts insects, including mosquitoes. Replace your porch and deck lights with yellow bug lights and you’ll repel the clouds of mosquitoes swarming nearby. Since mosquitoes tend to come looking for food in the hour before sunset, it’s a good idea to turn your bug lights while the sky is still a little light. If you have a hard time remembering to do this, you can always install a solar or timer switch to make it an automatic thing.
Use citronella and other mosquito-repelling plants.
Natural mosquito repellent involves citronella. Mosquitoes hate the smell of citrus, which is why citronella candles, oils, and spray can keep them away. Citronella comes from the oils of the lemongrass plant, a tropical plant easily grown in containers. We keep a pot of it near our deck table where it repels the bloodsuckers and is easily accessible from the kitchen for those nights I’m making Thai food. Catnip, lavender, and rosemary also repel mosquitoes and make lovely additions to the garden, too.
How To Make Natural Mosquito Repellent
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You will need:
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops rosemary OR citronella essential oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup 80-proof vodka
- A spray bottle
(or isopropyl alcohol, which is known as “surgical spirits” in the UK)
Combine the essential oils, water, and vodka in a spray bottle. Shake well and apply over skin and clothing every 2 hours.
To substitute fresh herbs: Crush 3 tbsp. lavender, rosemary or rose geranium leaves. Add them to the liquids and wait 1 hour while they steep. Strain, then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
One thing I know from personal experience that won’t work: those electronic gadgets that claim to emit a high frequency that mosquitoes can’t stand. I bought several of these last summer when we were having chemically-sensitive guests over for a barbecue. By the end of the night, we’d all been bit so many times that we had to move the party indoors, where someone promptly spilled barbecue sauce on my white carpet. Never again!
Whip up a batch of natural mosquito repellent spray, and follow these tips on mosquito control, and you’ll save not only money but also your skin.