Mosquitoes can be such buzzkills (sorry, we couldn’t resist).
There’s nothing better than kicking back in your yard on a balmy summer’s evening with something cold in your hand and something hot on the grill.
Then they arrive, swarming in for the kill and sending you and your family running in search of repellant and bite cream – no-one’s idea of a good time.
Before you despair and feel your backyard’s off-limits there are things you can do to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Read on for our guide to how to repel mosquitoes.
Plant the Right Foliage
To understand how to repel mosquitoes, you first need to know what attracts them.
Initially, they are attracted to the CO2 that we emit when exhaling. Then they are attracted to the natural odors our bodies emit.
The key to repelling them is stopping them from smelling these appealing scents by covering them with smells they hate.
Unsurprisingly given that many mosquito repellants are derived from natural sources, several plants can be added to your garden that mosquitoes absolutely hate.
Here are a few of the best:
A common ingredient in many natural mosquito repellents, citronella plants are a type of lemongrass with a distinctive citrusy aroma.
Very pleasant to humans, they are repulsive to mosquitoes and can help create an inhospitable environment for them. Simply crush the leaves and apply them to the skin to keep them away.
Plant them in pots or areas with good drainage around the area you’ll sit in to keep them at bay. Check out our guide to citronella by clicking here.
With a delightful fragrance and pretty flowers, lavender makes a great addition to any garden. Combine with that the fact that the mozzies hate it makes it a must-have for your outdoor entertaining area.
Just like with citronella and lavender, the great thing about our third recommendation is that it’s a plant you’ll actually want to have in your garden.
Easy to grow in pots if you have a favorable climate, basil has so many uses in the kitchen and doesn’t need to be crushed to emit a powerful ‘back-off’ to mosquitoes.
Another versatile addition to your arsenal, rosemary smells great, is attractive to look at in a pot, and keeps mosquitoes, as well as other moths and flies away.
Also handy when you’re cooking a leg of lamb, you’ll find that together these plants will generally give your garden a wonderfully fragrant ambiance. This will make it not only mosquito free but perfect for entertaining.
Create an Inhospitable Environment
When thinking about how to repel mosquitoes you’ve got to think outside the box.
You’ve isolated what mosquitoes are attracted to, but next, you need to think about where they could breed.
Mosquitoes love stagnant water – in fact, any water where they can lay their eggs. It’s worth undertaking a thorough search of your garden to see if you have unwittingly created any mosquito sanctuaries.
Pay particular attention to water butts or other water storage areas.
Small leaks or drips from rainwater collection systems can easily cause puddles and tiny pools to build up that are catnip to mozzies.
If you have a water tank and find that you develop an issue with mosquitoes laying their eggs inside, there are safe additions you can make to the water to keep them at bay.
Adding a small amount of oil to the water which will float on the top, can also help to break the surface tension, meaning that the mosquitoes are unable to lay their eggs there.
Use a Mosquito Trap
If you’re ready for an all-out war on mosquitoes then a mosquito trap could be a good choice for you.
What is a Mosquito Trap?
A mosquito trap is a propane-fuelled machine that is the only option featured on this list that actually kills mosquitoes themselves.
Rather than knowing how to repel mosquitoes, these traps do the exact opposite. They mimic the very characteristics of humans that mosquitoes love – belching out CO2, warmth and other attractive scents to lure the mosquitoes in.
Once they’re within range, a fan sucks them in and kills them by drying them out.
How effective are they?
The jury’s out on this one.
They are definitely effective – if you set them up and place them correctly, they will catch mosquitoes. However, like all machinery, they require regular maintenance and can be costly to run.
For our guide to whether a mosquito trap could be right for you, click here.
Get a Bug Zapper
As our name suggests, we know a thing or two about bug zappers.
They are electronic devices that draw in the bugs using ultraviolet light. They then electrocute them when they get close, killing them instantly.
The problem is that mosquitoes are not massively attracted to ultraviolet light. As we discussed before, it’s the heady combination of gases and odors emitted by humans that lures them in.
However, some bug zappers are tackling this by emitting chemicals that mimic these natural attractions and draw mosquitoes into the danger zone so they can be zapped.
Make sure you do your homework and check whether the bug zapper you’re thinking of getting will do the job you want it to do.
How to Repel Mosquitoes
In summary, if you’re having mosquito issues, you can reclaim your garden for yourself and your family to enjoy.
With careful planting, using the herbs you grow as a repellant, destroying potential breeding grounds, and maybe investing in a device or two, you can send them packing – along with their potential health risks.
With an increasing number of diseases being carried by mosquitoes, including some deadly ones, the risk they pose to your health cannot be minimized.
Some parts of the country are at a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases than others, so check this out and take appropriate precautions.
For answers to all your mosquito-related questions, including how you can protect your family from them, check out our blog today.