We’re in the middle of mosquito season – summer’s most unwanted pest – which tends to accompany your alfresco dining and afternoons in the garden.
And while knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes is important to prevent an irritating itch (or sometimes worse), the process rarely feels like a joy. Some of the most effective prevention methods involve tedious tidying up routines and pesticide sprays that are among the less pleasant sides of summer. However, not all mosquito prevention tactics have to feel like a chore.
Instead, experts suggest investing in flowers and aromatic oils that ward off pests from your home and garden while filling your space with sweet scents and (in some cases) vibrant colors. These are the five mosquito repellent plants, oils, and foods that make mosquito repellent more enjoyable.
5 scents that repel mosquitoes – for an aromatic and therapeutic summer
You may know which colors attract or repel mosquitoes, but what about the impact of scent?
“Mosquitoes don’t like certain smells, like lavender, lemongrass or eucalyptus. These odors deter mosquitoes because they produce chemicals that mosquitoes don’t like, namely linalool and geraniol,” says Melanie Rose, pest specialist at Nationwide Pest Control. This is why you often find these scents in soaps and candles that are used to keep bugs away from your home.
Here are the best perfumes to invest in this summer.
“Grapefruit is a refreshing summer treat packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. But when it comes to repelling mosquitoes, a compound called nootkatone is a hero,” says Scot Hodges, Vice President of Professional Development at Arrow Exterminators. (opens in a new tab).
You can use the nootkatone in your grapefruit to deter misquotes from your home or garden, but it’s more than just a pest deterrent. “Not only can you snack on grapefruit, but you can also use grapefruit oil on your skin,” adds Scot.
Lemongrass contains lemongrass oil – perhaps the most famous of the mosquito repellent scents. But how do you introduce this plant into your landscaping? You can start by knowing how to grow lemongrass in your garden, or, for a delectable solution, you can bring in the kitchen.
“Swap your glass of summer lemonade for a glass of chilled lemongrass tea, or carefully use lemongrass oil on your skin for a quick mosquito repellent,” suggests Scott.
Lavender is one of the best-known mosquito repellents, but it’s easy to see its appeal. Melanie explains that although the pest doesn’t like its distinctive scent, the same smell has a calming effect on humans – which is why it’s often used as an essential oil for aromatherapy and meditation.
Knowing how to grow lavender in your garden or arrange it in a vase is one way to keep mosquitoes away. Or you can choose one of the best candles on the market, many of which are infused with this powerful scent.
4. Pine oil
With its pleasantly woody aroma, it can be hard not to appreciate pine oil. However, while this scent will always have a place among the best-selling essential oils, it should also have an equal place among your summer decorating ideas.
Zackary DeAngelis of Pest Pointers LLC (opens in a new tab) explains that the smell of pine oil “will overpower and confuse a mosquito’s senses, limiting its ability to detect you” and protecting you from bites.
“A great way to use pine oil as mosquito repellent is to place rags with pine oil on the outside of your windows, porch, or doors,” the expert suggests. “You’ll need to refresh the cloths every few days, but you can also use this method specifically on days when you’re more likely to get mosquitoes for easier application.”
If you can handle a fair amount of spice, incorporating chili peppers into your diet can be helpful, especially during the summer when mosquito activity is high. “These peppers are known to repel mosquitoes thanks to capsaicin, a heat-producing compound that the fly doesn’t like,” says Scot.
So while this kitchen idea won’t suit all palettes, it’s worth considering adding a kick to your dishes to ward off pests.
What smells do mosquitoes hate?
Mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, lemongrass, cloves, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary.
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