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Keeping those Mosquitoes Away

Updated on May 20, 2012
Only the female mosquito sucks blood.
Only the female mosquito sucks blood. | Source

As we move from spring into early summer in the Northern hemisphere, is often the time when we start to be bothered by those pesky mosquitoes everywhere.

Much of the time we don't actually see them, but we do feel the aftereffect of their presence. Those itchy spots where they've broken our skin and sucked our blood.

Ways to cut down on the numbers

One ecofriendly way to reduce your local mozzie population is to ensure that your yard is well drained. Also remove as many other sources of standing water as you can. Mosquitoes can breed in a little as one centimetre depth of water.

By doing this you're reducing the number of wet places where the mosquito larvae can grow into adults. This will help reduce local numbers of these insects.

Physical barriers

Wearing long sleeved clothing and long pants tucked into socks can help as protection, but this will still leave your hands and face exposed. Plus, if the weather is hot it's not very comfortable.

The best line of defense is mosquito netting.

Most houses here in North America have netting screens over the windows to keep mosquitos out. Make sure that you repair any holes, and add screens to any windows that have been missed.

Also remember that they can get in through your other ventilation points, so cover those over with netting too.

When you're outside in the garden or at the lake, you can put up a tent shelter with a bult in screen to protect some cases this is really the ONLY way to have an enjoyable outdoor experience!!!

Repellent smells

Some people recommend burning citronella when you're out on the deck as the sun goes down. However, I've found that this is only effective over a very small area. The lemony scent of the citronella is a repellent.

Scented plants can help too. Marigolds and rosemary are recommended to repel mosquitoes. These can be planted aroudn the edges of your garden. You could also grow them in pots on your patio or deck.

There are scented oils that you can spray onto your skin, rather than covering yourself and your family with insecticide. Lemon eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil are often used for this purpose, although the effects can wear off in as little as an hour. These oils need to be diluted with water prior to use, and shaken well prior to spraying. Soybean oil is a better alternative for those with sensitive skin.

Some people suggest pinning scented drier sheets into your clothing, or having them folden in your pockets. However, it is best to test a small patch of skin for allergies first.


Mosquitoes can't be repelled by taking large amounts of vitamin B1. This has been tested by the Canadian military and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It was thought that ultrasonic devices could repel mosquitoes, but this method has also proven to be ineffective.


Ideally physical barriers are the best.

Plants growing in the vicinity may help but are not going to be hugely effective.

Scented oils and creams can help for a short period of time.

If you know you're going to be exposed to mosquitoes for a long period e.g. when out walking then it is best to use repellent products containing DEET. Although this isn't a pleasant chemical to use it is very effective. The best advice to use is only to use a product with the strength that you need..don't use one that will give you over 12 hours of protection when you'll only be out for a couple of hours for example.


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    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 5 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Hi Larry, looks like catnip oil is at least on a par with DEET!

      Thanks for that :-)

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      What do you think of catnip oil (nepetalactone) as a mosquito repellent?

      Voted up and useful.