Looking to make your own 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
Don’t let them breed. The best natural mosquito repellent is prevention! Mosquitoes can breed in as little as 5 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
Mow your lawn. 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.
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.
Learn to love citronella. Truly 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. Come winter, we haul it inside and keep it watered, then back out it goes the following summer.
Use other mosquito-repelling plants, too. Catnip is an herb that offers a natural mosquito repellent 10 times more effective than DEET. The only possible side effect is that it may attract neighborhood cats, so don’t plant it in your vegetable or flower beds. Rosemary, another herb, also repels mosquitoes and has the added benefit of making chicken taste delicious.
Encourage other flying objects. Brown bats can eat up to 500 mosquitoes in one hour. (That’s 4000 per night!) Purple martin birds can eat their own weight in mosquitoes nightly. Why not invite these feasting fliers into your yard by building a bat or martin house and let them do the work for you!
How To Make Natural Mosquito Repellent
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
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.
To replace the vodka: You can use white vinegar OR isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which is known as “surgical spirits” in the UK.
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 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 not only save money but also your skin.
Equipment you might need: