Are you a mosquito magnet? They always seem to find me and since I’m super sensitive to them, my mosquito bites turn into huge welts. After years of misery, I set out to solve my mosquito problem indoors and out—and it worked.
Read on for my tried-and-tested tips to get rid of mosquitoes in your home and yard, including a homemade mosquito repellent that smells amazing to everyone but them.
Why Do Mosquitoes Love You?
First off, mosquitoes love you because you’re awesome. But also your body chemistry attracts them. Mosquitoes are drawn to the smell of lactic acid, uric acid, and ammonia in sweat, plus the carbon dioxide you exhale. Got a high metabolism or you sweat a lot? You’re a mosquito magnet, too.
Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide from up to 75 feet away, which is how they’re able to find us so easily.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in the House
I use the steps below to help keep mosquitoes out of our home, along with the mosquito traps further down to catch any that do sneak inside.
• Check your door and window screens. Fix any holes and make sure they fit snugly. Ensure your windows are shut tight. Use automatic closers or a self-closing magnetic mesh on exterior doors.
• Keep lights off near entrances. Mosquitoes are drawn to light, so your porch or deck lamps act like lures. If you can’t keep the outdoor lights off, switch to yellow or amber bug lights that are hard for insects to see.
• Fan them away. Mosquitoes can’t fly into breezes, so aiming fans at doors and seating areas keeps them away. Plus, fans disburse the carbon dioxide that attracts them.
• Homemade mosquito traps are easy to make and effective, plus they’ll trap other flying insects in your home, too.
The Water Reflection Mosquito Trap
A simple indoor mosquito trap uses just a bowl of water with a couple drops of dish soap. The key to making this trap work is putting it in a dark room, directly under a single light source.
A gooseneck lamp works, but in my kitchen I use the light under my microwave, which is above the stove. The mosquitoes will try to land on the light’s reflection in the water, but the soap changes the surface tension so they sink and drown.
The Bottle Trap for Flying Bugs
To make a bottle trap for flying indoor insects, you’ll need an empty plastic soda bottle and lid. 1. Cut the bottle where the bottom starts to curve inward toward the opening and set it aside.
2. Next, boil equal parts of water and white sugar, let it cool, and pour it into the bottom of the bottle.
3. Turn the top half of the bottle upside down and put it into the bottom. Mosquitoes will fly into the bottle looking for sugar but they’re not coordinated enough to find the narrow opening and escape.
If you have baker’s yeast on hand, add a pinch to the bottle after you put the top in place. When yeast feeds on sugar, it produces carbon dioxide which also attracts mosquitoes to your trap.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes In the Yard
To keep mosquitoes from bothering you in your yard, treat them like you would any unwelcome guest: don’t give them anywhere to relax, and put bouncers and zappers to work if they don’t take a hint.
Grow flowers and herbs that mosquitoes don’t like to keep them away from your home’s entrances and yard. For example, I grow pots of basil, lemongrass and lemon balm near doors and windows to keep mosquitoes away from them. In the yard or garden, lavender, marigolds, fennel, monarda, rosemary, and catnip all create a natural deterrent, too.
No Standing Water
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so check your yard after it rains or when you’ve run the sprinkler, keep a mosquito dunk in rain barrels, and dump out water from old tires or plant saucers. I also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for every gallon of water in our bird baths to make them inhospitable to mosquitoes without harming our flying friends.
Attract mosquito-eating critters like purple martins, swallows, dragonflies, bats, turtles, and frogs. Set up bird and bat houses, plant native ground cover, and maintain a clean pond so the good guys have safe places. It’s a treat to sit on our deck and watch them feast on the mosquitoes in our yard.
Use yellow or amber bug lights near seating areas to attract fewer mosquitoes, then put blue-light electric zappers at a slight distance to lure mosquitoes away from you. The zapping sound of bugs meeting their end is so satisfying for those of us used to scratching bites all summer long.
Only female mosquitoes bite. Males feed on nectar and are essentially harmless to humans.
How to Keep Mosquitoes From Biting You
Remember what I said about your body chemistry attracting mosquitoes? Keeping them away from you involves disguising yourself so they can’t smell or see you. Fortunately, it’s a lot more pleasant than it sounds.
Eat Foods They Don’t Like
Since the acids and proteins in sweat attracts mosquitoes, you can turn your own sweat into a natural mosquito repellent by eating foods they don’t like. So help yourself to foods containing garlic, mint, citrus, basil, and onions to keep mosquitoes away. I’ve heard some people even take garlic supplements all summer for this purpose.
If you’d rather not smell like sweat, lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, sage, tea tree, or cinnamon all contain scents that repel mosquitoes. Look for body lotions, scented candles and incense with these scents to keep mosquitoes away.
DIY Mosquito Repellent
Make a simple homemade mosquito spray by combining 1 cup each of water and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, then add 5 drops each of lavender, peppermint, and citronella essential oils. Shake well and mist your body from head to toe, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
The rubbing alcohol helps dissolve the oils in the water so they’re evenly distributed. Then, since it evaporates quickly, it dries where it’s applied while leaving the essential oil to do its job repelling mosquitoes. Remember, though, it’s flammable so keep it away from pets and open flames.
I stash my bottle of homemade repellent in the fridge so it’s a cool, refreshing spray that keeps mosquitoes away.
Avoid Colors that Attract Them
Like flies and gnats, mosquitoes see darker colors more easily, especially black and navy blue. When you’re going to be outdoors, fly under their radar by wearing white, pastels, and khaki. Light-colored clothes also help keep you cooler in hot weather, so you’ll sweat less—and that, too, attracts fewer mosquitoes.
Timing is Everything
Last but not least, don’t go outside during what my family calls “mosquito o’clock” — the hour to either side of dawn and dusk when they’re most hungry.
If you have to be outside during those times, wear light colored, long sleeves and pants to protect your skin, then spritz yourself with the DIY mosquito repellent. You’ll smell amazing, and it will help keep mosquitoes from hitching a ride into your home!