Summer is here, and it’s a great time to make some homemade mosquito repellent to keep your family itch-free.
With mosquitoes out of control this year in many parts of the country, many of us are rightly concerned about protecting our families from the West Nile virus.
Add a spray bottle of this homemade mosquito repellent to your summer supplies and follow the steps below to keep your yard and home free from mosquitoes.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Even the most powerful of mosquito repellents won’t stand a chance if your home and lawn have turned into a mosquito breeding ground.
How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard
The best natural mosquito repellent is prevention. Like dealing with spiders and cockroaches, taking steps to keep mosquitoes from getting comfortable in your environment makes getting rid of them much easier.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Mosquitoes can breed in as few as five days. They can also reproduce in something as shallow as a bottle cap full of water. Make a habit of checking the locations below every few days, and immediately after any rain.
- Gutters (don’t let yours get clogged)
- 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 outdoor toys
Don’t Give Mosquitoes 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.
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 on 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.
Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants
The best homemade 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. Stash pots of it near your deck or patio tables to help keep mosquitoes away naturally.
Catnip, lavender, and rosemary also repel mosquitoes and make lovely additions to the garden, too.
High-Frequency Mosquito Gadgets or Apps Don’t Work
I know from personal experience those electronic gadgets that claim to emit a mosquito-repelling high frequency don’t work.
I bought several when we were having chemically-sensitive guests over for a barbecue. By the end of the night, every one of us was covered in bites. I was scratching for days thanks to that failed experiment.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe
To substitute fresh herbs in the homemade mosquito repellent: 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.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
- Spray bottle
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol – any strength can substitute 1 cup 80% vodka
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops citronella or rosemary essential oil
- Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to skin, reapplying every 2 hours as needed.
- Keep away from open flames. Store unused homemade mosquito repellent in a cool, dark spot. Use within 2 months.
Whip up a batch of this homemade mosquito repellent spray, and follow the tips on mosquito control, and you’ll save not only money but also your skin.
This post first appeared in July 2012. It has been revised for republication.
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