How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Naturally

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Naturally

No one likes having mosquitoes around, not even the most dedicated animal lover. So, what works against these pesky insects? Here are some methods to keep mosquitoes at bay, without using chemicals or resorting to violence.

Optimal Conditions for Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes thrive in temperatures between 68°F and 77°F, which coincides with when most people enjoy spending time outside. However, on warm, humid summer evenings, expect to encounter swarms of mosquitoes. Instead of waving your arms wildly or spraying chemicals, try these more peaceful and environmentally friendly solutions.

Preventing Mosquito Breeding

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in small, stagnant water sources. Even a tiny puddle is enough for them to multiply. To reduce breeding sites around your home, eliminate standing water:

  • Turn over buckets or bowls on balconies and patios to prevent water accumulation.
  • Ensure outdoor drains are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Regularly clean and refresh water in bird baths and plant saucers, at least once a week.
  • Cover rain barrels with insect screens to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Remember, while mosquitoes are annoying, their larvae are an essential part of the food chain, supporting insects, spiders, birds, fish, and other insectivores.

Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

Chemical repellents like DEET can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. Instead, consider planting mosquito-repelling plants such as lavender, tomatoes, catnip, basil, lemon balm, and scented geraniums. These plants also attract butterflies, adding beauty to your garden.

Natural Mosquito Repellents

There are many natural options available to repel mosquitoes:

  • Use candles, oils for diffusers, and other aromatic products designed to repel mosquitoes. Scents are a personal preference.
  • Place halved citrus fruits studded with cloves on windowsills.
  • Create your own natural mosquito spray with essential oils.

Misconceptions About Mosquitoes

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes are not attracted to light. They are drawn to our scent and the carbon dioxide we exhale. Sweet, floral perfumes and the lactic acid produced by sweat are particularly attractive to mosquitoes. Showering, especially with citrus-scented soap, can help. Setting up a fan can also disperse your scent and make it harder for mosquitoes to land.

Physical Barriers

Install insect screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Use mosquito nets over beds for a peaceful, bite-free sleep.

Clothing Choices

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Tucking pants into socks may not be fashionable, but it prevents bites on your legs and is also effective against ticks.

Encouraging Natural Predators

In ecology, balance is key. Encouraging the presence of mosquito predators can help keep their population in check. Frogs, fish, dragonflies, and water beetles are natural enemies of mosquitoes.

What to Avoid

Biological insecticides, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, can harm other beneficial insects and disrupt ecosystems. Adding oil or detergent to standing water to suffocate larvae is also harmful, as it kills all aquatic life in the water.

Treating Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are itchy and annoying. Cooling the bite helps, and applying spit can soothe the itch and promote healing due to the protein histatin. Avoid scratching, as it exacerbates itching, delays healing, and can lead to infections.

Are Mosquitoes Dangerous?

While most mosquitoes in the U.S. are merely a nuisance, some can transmit diseases. The invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Asian bush mosquito, and Korean bush mosquito are now found in the U.S. While the risk of disease transmission is low, it is not zero. Mosquitoes can only transmit diseases after biting an infected host and then another person.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your summer evenings without the bother of mosquitoes.