We love the first signs of summer, but unfortunately, so do mosquitoes.
Whilst there’s no denying they have a role in the eco-system, most of us have probably been at the painful end of a mosquito encounter. Most mosquito bites are annoying but harmless, however, bites from certain mosquitoes can carry viruses and parasites leading to severe illness.
Determined to win the neverending battled with our winged friends this summer, we have been researching the best ways to reclaim our backyard without drowning ourselves in chemical sprays.
Remember, it’s most important to deter mosquitoes in the first place rather than simply kill them otherwise they will keep coming back. We will look at natural deterrents as well as remedies we have used to dramatically reduce the mosquito population in our yard.
Did you know…..?
- Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon monoxide of humans and animals – they seek out a certain scent from your sweat.
- Only the females are after your blood! The males are happy feasting on flower nectar.
- It is proteins from the mosquito’s saliva that trigger a mild immune system reaction – normally an itchy bump in our skin.
- Genetics play a big part in whose blood they like best – yes some people are more prone than others (why is it always me!!!)
On this page we are going to look at;
- Natural deterrents in your garden
- How to keep mosquitoes from coming into your home
- How to prevent mosquito bites
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Natural deterrents in the yard for mosquitoes
Your best defence is to actually keep mosquitoes away.
Don’t let mosquitos breed
Mosquitoes only need a few drops of water to reproduce, so the most obvious cause of mosquito breeding is still water. Do any inspection around your property for what may be causing this. Is their poor drainage around your pot plants? A leak beneath your garden hose?
Garden ponds aren’t actually the worst culprits as they are deep water, they are more attracted to shallow pooling of water.
Light sources attract mosquitoes
Porch lights can draw mosquitoes in, also look to replace white light with yellow.
Plants that can make a difference
The type of plants in your garden can also make a difference.
- Holy Basil or Tulsi is a good example. You can keep holy basil containers in your house and rubbing the oil on your skin is also an effective repellent.
- Peppermint plants not only add a lovely smell to your garden but can repel the mosquitos, or use peppermint essential oil to your defuser, and to your skin.
- Less pleasant to the human nostrils is garlic. Maybe cooking up a storm in the kitchen will be enough to keep them at bay? We wish!!!
Many of these plants work well in pots too so don’t be afraid to include some indoors too.
It’s important to note that one plant alone will not prevent mosquitoes. You need to establish what is attracting them first and foremost, and then plants in concentration can act as a preventative measure.
We have a detailed guide here on the best mosquito and insect-repelling plants to use in a small yard.
Add a fan to your outdoor entertaining area.
Not only is this refreshingly cool but keeps the mosquitos at bay too.
How effective are mosquito zappers?
There are pros and cons to using an electric bug zapper. Whilst they do indeed attract mosquitos, they can kill other bugs which are beneficial to your garden too so there’s a real catch 22 situation.
How to keep mosquitoes from getting inside your house
Mosquitoes will find any excuse to seek out their sweet sweaty target so don’t think you are in the clear just because you are indoors. There are some basic home maintenance steps for keeping mosquitos out of your house.
Home maintenance – seal up any gaps
The most obvious is to have all of your windows and doors covered with flywire screens. OK, they are not the most beautiful but they are your number one line of defence for keeping any sort of insects out of your house.
You should also look for some of the less obvious spaces, such as gaps under doors.
Seek out still water sources in the house
Don’t be mistaken into thinking still water and breeding only happen outside. Even still water within the home can be an issue. Do you have any leaky sinks? Around pet bowls? Stagnating flower vases? Keep these areas of your house clean and water changed daily.
Create your own DIY mosquito trap
OK we just said to get rid of all the standing water, right? But you can also use it to trap them. The theory is, a bowl placed in the corner of each room with just a few drops of dishwashing liquid in it will kill both adult mosquitoes and larvae – though many argue that this is an old wives tale (we’ve tested it with moderate success!)
If you’re not already on to essential oils, now is the time to get with it!
If you are confident with your oils you can make your own natural mosquito spray (recipe below!) or there are natural remedies you can purchase such as Camphor tablets which can be left in a small bowl in the room. The tablet will need replacing every 2-3 days to retain its potency.
Using scented oils and candles
It is true that there are many natural odours which are quite pleasant to humans but mosquitoes cannot stand. You have most likely heard of citronella, but you may also consider these mosquito-repelling scents including:
- Lemon and citrus
These fragrances can be found in candles, sprays or use them in your vaporiser or diffuser.
Keeping mosquitos off YOU
So how do we stop the mosquitos that exist around our house from actually biting us?
Whilst many scents deter mosquitoes, there are some they are attracted to, it could be your perfume of soap making you the more attractive target. Try changing this up and see if it makes a difference to how often you are bitten.
And curious to know why they like some people more than others >> Here’s what we found out!!
If you live in a particularly prone location then it may be necessary to sleep with mosquito nets, particularly if your house is not tightly sealed or includes open living areas, even with a bedroom door shut they are impossible to keep out.
You will need something solid to suspend the net from the ceiling and then make sure the barrier is completely drawn to as you sleep.
The clothing you are wearing
It makes sense that you should try and cover your own skin as much as possible but also think about the color of the materials you are wearing too. Mosquitos are attracted to black, dark colors and bright colors. Wear lighter colored clothing to avoid our buzzing friends.
Looking for something stronger?
If none of the above is working for you, then you may still need to consider a shop-bought bug spray. Look out for organic brands, kind to kids’ skin.
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Natural Oil Recipes to try at home
These are two great little natural recipes to try at home.
Neem oil recipe
- Warm coconut oil 20 ml
- Neem oil 20 drops
- Lavender or other pleasant fragrance 5-10 drops
This recipe will fit in a small 30ml spray bottle, great for your handbag.
Essential oils mosquito recipe
- Distilled water 100ml
- Citronella essential oil 20ml
- Neem oil 20 drops
- Lavender essential oil 20 drops
- Tea tree oil 20 drops
- Lemongrass essential oil 15 drops
- Geranium essential oil 5 drops
- Vodka1 tbsp
- Mix all ingredients together in a spray bottle.
This is a family-sized dose to apply before you head out into the yard. Between uses keep it refrigerated and use as a cooling summer mist for those patio nights.
Got any other mosquito taming tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.