If there is a mosquito within 100 yards it will find me and leave me with several itchy welts on every patch of bare skin. I love being outdoors in the Spring, Summer, and Fall weather to relax, to garden, to play with my young children, to enjoy nature and fresh air. I find it very difficult to thoroughly enjoy being outdoors for fun and relaxation while I fight off the mosquitoes at the same time. If you live in an area where mosquitoes thrive, you may find yourself with the same problem.
Mosquitoes just might be the bane of my existence (in nice weather at least) – image courtesy pixabay
I prefer not to use DEET or other harsh manufactured chemicals to deter/kill bugs. I find that using these sort of chemicals only slightly deter these pests from me and leave my skin feeling sticky and/or stinky, not to mention the fact that there are so many conflicting opinions and studies concerning the potential negative long term effects these chemicals may have on myself, my family, beneficial bugs in my garden, and the world around me. This has led me to look for more natural ways to deter mosquitoes.
There are many plants that naturally deter pests, including mosquitoes – image courtesy pixabay
One way I have found is to strategically plan and plant specific types of plants and flowers to repel mosquitoes from me while attracting the beneficial bugs (bees and butterflies) to my vegetable garden. Below is a list of plants and methods I have either tried with success or plan to try in the future.
1. Lemongrass. This plant has a powerful lemony scent that repels mosquitoes and masks scents that attract them to you.
2. Catnip.A 2010 study demonstrated that catnip may be even more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
3. Marigold. This is a hardy perennial flowering plant commonly used for borders and can be interspersed with your vegetable garden to help deter pests. Mosquitoes don’t like the scent, so having these around the patio area is helpful to keep them away from me.
Lavender – image courtesy pixabay
4. Lavender. The scent and sight of lavender is typically highly pleasing to people, made even more attractive by the fact that it is also a deterrent for mosquitoes. This plant can be crushed underfoot to emit the smell on the patio/deck area, rubbed directly on the skin, or you can use the essential oil directly on the skin to deter these pests.
5. Peppermint.Peppermint is good for repelling mosquitoes as well as many other bugs and household pests. This one can be used in the same way as lavender to repel these pests. One thing to keep in mind is that this plant is pretty invasive and best kept in container pots around the garden, patio, and by entrances to the home.
6. Lemon balm. This plant attracts bees and butterflies and repels mosquitoes. You can crush leaves and/or rub on your skin to repel pests. The scent of the bush repels them, but is pleasing and lemony to people and bees. This plant is VERY invasive and best kept in pots or it will overtake your garden.
Basil as a working garden ornament – image courtesy pixabay
7. Basil. Basil is not only great for cooking, but growing it in your garden will help deter mosquitoes. I keep some of this growing near my tomato plants, as well as at least one plant growing in a pot on my patio area. These leaves do NOT need to be crushed to emit a strong enough scent to deter pests.
8. Garlic. Growing this in the garden helps repel mosquitoes. Unfortunately, most sites I have read state that eating it does not help keep them off you, but the plant itself is a good deterrent. I enjoy cooking with fresh garlic, so growing it myself is beneficial to me both in the yard and in my kitchen.
9. Pennyroyal. Repels mosquitoes and attracts butterflies. This plant can also be used in cooking for fish dishes (though I have not done this myself yet).
10. Rosemary. This is another beautiful flowering herb to have in the garden that repels mosquitoes, attracts butterflies, and for cooking.
Rosemary – image courtesy pixabay
11. Geraniums. These are attractive and hardy plants that repel mosquitoes. People often place these close to entrances of their home to help deter these pests from entering the home.
12. Ageratum. The scent is particularly offensive to mosquitoes. Crush leaves to increase the scent, but DON’T rub on your skin as it is said to be an irritant.
13. Bee Balm This is a perennial plant. It attracts bees and butterflies, but will deter mosquitoes by masking the scent of humans.
14. Lemon Thyme. This is a hardy, creeping perennial plant. The scent repels mosquitoes.
Extra: Bat house Invite bats to the garden by installing a bat house. Bats can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour. That’s the kind of friend I don’t mind inviting over for a late night snack.