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The facts about natural mosquito repellents

The springtime weather is turning warm, but also bringing with it the infamous spring showers that bring the flowers later on. This is the time when mosquitoes, who have been hiding out and keeping things on the down-low all winter, start to come out and lay their eggs in puddles or any sort of standing water. As the temperatures heat up, mosquitoes start to thrive.

Mosquitoes are considered the most dangerous creature on the planet. From Zika to West Nile and back again, the number of disease vectors attributed to mosquitoes seems to be growing rather than reducing. Since this is the case, many people start looking for ways to keep mosquitoes away and they want to avoid using chemicals.

Western Exterminator's mosquito control professionals know all about natural mosquito repellents and can provide the facts about these methods. We can also help you get rid of mosquitoes and keep them away from your property if you just contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

What attracts mosquitoes?


A female mosquito is out for blood. Like a tiny vampire, a female mosquito is looking for mammal blood. These insects use the blood for reproductive purposes, laying eggs in any standing water they can find. The males come along and fertilize the eggs and soon the larva hatch into a new population of mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes find humans because they have specially adapted senses that allow them to sense sweat and the exhalations of mammals. So, the more you sweat, the more you breathe out, the more likely you are to attract mosquitoes. However, you also attract more mosquitoes by having thick, wet, grass around your home. If you have ponds or live near standing water, you are more likely to find yourself surrounded by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes will also find sweet things like fruit or other substances attractive around your property.

When do mosquitoes feed?

Mosquitoes come out looking for blood during the dusk and dawn hours. This is why it's best to use a mosquito repellent during those hours as well as covering up exposed flesh or staying indoors altogether.

What plants repel mosquitoes?

insect repelling plants

There are a number of floral solutions to keep mosquitoes away from your home. There are those who say planting these various plants around your home will repel mosquitoes. Some of the plants with reported mosquito repellent properties include:

  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Lemongrass
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Citronella

These are just a few of the plants with reported properties. Citronella is probably one of the most famous, but all of these plants seem to have a very limited effect. If you crush the citronella plants and spread them all over yourself and your property, you may have some success. The other plants have an unpleasant scent which mosquitoes avoid, but the results seem limited or effective only part of the time.

What skin applications repel mosquitoes?

There are a lot of people out there who claims there are botanical and natural oils and other substances you can spray or rub on your skin to prevent mosquitoes from biting. The claims are these methods are safer and better for you than using chemicals. Some of the various oils include, but are not limited to:

  • Lemon eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Catnip oil

The list goes on and on. But there's good news and bad news about these methods.

The good news is that many of these do provide a kind of oily barrier between the mosquito and the person's skin. This can effectively keep mosquitoes away. The bad news is that these treatments do not last nearly as long as chemical treatments such as the use of DEET, which can last for hours. This may mean repeated applications and constant vigilance to ensure the oily barrier remains.

Remember that with citronella that you have to be in very close proximity to it for it to work. If you have a candle on a picnic table, your upper half may be clear, but mosquitoes may still be able to bite your legs.

Other natural methods to prevent mosquito bites

There are other non-chemical things you can do around your property to keep mosquitoes away and stop them from biting.

  • Remove standing water - if the water around your home or property is not moving, then mosquitoes will use it for egg laying. If you have a birdbath, empty the water frequently and replace it. Ponds should have agitators installed or fish ponds stocked with fish who naturally feed on mosquito larvae. Empty out flower pots or other objects which have standing water.
  • Fix screens and close windows - don't let mosquitoes get inside by making sure your windows are closed or that screens are intact and repaired.
  • Install fans on porches and patios - mosquitoes are very poor fliers. Even a fan installed on a front porch or rear patio is enough to help keep mosquitoes away.
  • Cover up - if you have to be out during prime mosquito feeding times, then cover up as much of your exposed skin as you can. Long sleeves, pants, shoes and socks are especially important during dusk and dawn hours.

Western Exterminator stops mosquitoes

Of course, the one method that is truly effective is using DEET sprays. Also, using treatments which eliminate mosquitoes at all life stages and then leave a chemical treatment behind which will continue to prevent them from finding places to hide during the day.

The first step for a mosquito-free spring or summer in your yard is to contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

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