Mosquitoes can spread harmful and deadly diseases, like Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue and malaria, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, no one likes dealing with itchy, swelling bite marks from these troubling pests!
Unfortunately, mosquitoes linger in our backyards because they are attracted to the smell of carbon dioxide on our breath, and certain skin odors, which they sense while you’re outside grilling or watching the kids play.
Pesticides like DEET can be quite effective at repelling mosquitoes and other insects, but at what cost? Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that you should wash it off your skin after use and to avoid breathing the poisonous solution in during application.
Are there safer ways to shoo mosquitoes away from your yard? Of course. Let’s talk natural mosquito repellent! Here are five natural ways to keep those pests away, without spraying troubling chemicals:
1. Citronella Oil
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has citronella oil listed as a registered insect repellent/feeding depressant. But does it deter mosquitos, specifically? Sure, but be forewarned— the protect is short-lived.
Citronella-based repellents protect against mosquitoes for about two hours, according to many studies, including this one on the efficacy of natural insect repellents.
This non-toxic oil is often sprayed throughout your yard, or applied by cloth-wipes/oil rubbed directly onto the skin, and is completely safe for your family.
DEBUNKED! Citronella Candles
Citronella candles can produce a calming smell or provide intimate light to illuminate your patio set, but don’t mistake them for a true natural mosquito repellent. In 2017, one notable study featured in Science Magazine tested 11 alleged mosquito deterrents and found that citronella candles did little to deter mosquitoes from their human “bait.”
Other research shows they can reduce biting by up to 50%, but the results are often inconclusive. Your best bet is to use citronella oil directly, rather than evaporating it into the air through burning.
DEBUNKED! The Citronella Plant
Although many people believe the Citronella plant (commonly called the “Mosquito Plant”) repels mosquitos, the plant itself does little to deter the pests. However, if you were to crush a leaf and rub it on your skin, the oil can then act as a short-term, natural mosquito repellent.
2. Soybean or Eucalyptus Oil
Soybean oil? What? You may have heard that oils like cedar, peppermint or geranium can deter mosquitoes— but out of all of these oils, soybean stole the crown, as a close contender with the better known citronella oil.
In one study featured in The New England Journal of Medicine, the soybean oil–based repellent was able to protect from mosquito bites for roughly 1.5 hours, whereas the oils mentioned above only repelled the bugs for up to 20 minutes. Though, we’d like to clarify: this study shows that the oil stopped the pests from biting, not that they kept mosquitoes away!
Eucalyptus oil was also shown to produce longer-lasting “no-bite” effects, though not as long as soybean. Next time you’re lounging on your outdoor furniture, apply either oil onto your skin for a little relief.
3. Outdoor Fans
Does your outdoor patio have a ceiling fan? Turn it on! Mosquitos only weigh between 2.5-10 milligrams. Winds can make it hard for these little pests to fly. Plus, the breeze can throw off their infrared senses and shoo them away.
4. Powered Mosquito Traps
Just like you’d trap a mouse or other rodent, you too can trap mosquitoes with special devices.
These products vary, but perhaps one of the best brands is Dynatrap. Their Insect and Mosquito Trap has three ways of attracting and capturing the winged creatures. A clever combination of warm, UV light and carbon dioxide (mimicking human breath) lures them close. Then, a silent vacuum sucks the mosquitoes into a chamber. This mosquito trap can reduce the number of bugs within half an acre of its location and is safe for both people and pets.
Larger landscapes need bigger units, which often run on propane that converts into CO2, like Mosquito Magnet’s Executive Mosquito Trap. The downside is, many of these high-end units can be rather expensive— but they sure get the job done! Just be careful to place them far away from where you will be sitting. These units attract the mosquitoes so the last thing you want to do is bring them closer to you!
Neem has received great controversy on its effectiveness for warding off mosquitoes, mostly because it only affects certain species, while others remain unphased.
For instance, it’s had great success in studies in India, when used in burning lamps to deter malaria-spreading species. Yet, some research on treating US mosquito species has fallen short in efficacy.
One big caveat is that many of the studies which saw protection against mosquito bites applied the neem topically, but it was always mixed with coconut oil for safe application. Neem oil in its pure state is not something you should apply directly onto your skin. Neem is not approved by the EPA for topical use alone, as it can result in mild dermal toxicity, like skin irritation, or dermatitis when used undiluted.
The solution? Try this natural mosquito repellent yourself— without worrying about perfecting the topical mix ratio of coconut oil to neem— by choosing an organic neem spray. You’ll quickly see if it wards off nearby insects, or, if not effective against your region’s species of mosquitoes, you can switch to one of our other products listed in this article!
When You’ve Tried it All!
Are mosquitos still a problem around your yard? Those living near ponds especially need help deterring these annoying insects, as they love water!
While these natural mosquito repellents can help keep the pests from biting you and your family, there’s more you can do to keep them away.
Our “Advanced 7-Step” Organic Tick & Mosquito Control Program is here to save the day. Once a month, we can apply an organic formula to control the winged beasts.
Give us a call at (855)-391-1343 to learn more!