Imagine a pleasant dinner on the patio on a warm summer evening…with no mosquitoes. It is thoughts like this that get us through the rainy days of Spring; unfortunately, all this rain and warming temperatures are what lead to breeding mosquitoes that will eventually haunt us on those summer nights. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to reduce or even eliminate the nasty mosquito from our outdoor living area? Here are some ideas that just might help.
Before we talk about plants that repel mosquitoes, it is good to understand why we have mosquitoes bothering us in the first place. If you have areas in your landscape, like small pools of water or thick grass where mosquitoes can hatch and grow, then you will likely be bothered by mosquitoes. As soon as you step outside, those critters catch your scent and will want to come say hello.
I recently read that a mosquito can smell a human’s carbon dioxide from 30 feet away. Unless you hold your breath, your presence is their welcome sign.
It was also interesting to learn that as mosquitoes get closer, they can see their victim and are attracted to their body heat. This means you would need to wear a face mask, and wear camouflaged clothing covered in ice packs to have any chance of escape.
Are there plants that repel mosquitoes naturally?
It would be nice if all we had to do was plant certain plants that would repel mosquitoes naturally. If only it was that easy. There were several studies at universities in the United States and Canada that found plants to be inadequate at keeping mosquitoes from biting humans even though they emit aromas that are proven to repel them. The research found that these plants need to be continually waved through the air or rubbed on the skin to have a significant effect.
Here is a list of plants that are said to emit a fragrance that typically repels mosquitoes:
- • Lavender
- • Marigolds
- • Citronella Grass
- • Citronella Geranium
- • Catnip
- • Rosemary
- • Basil
- • Garlic
- • Lemongrass
- • Horse-mint
- • Peppermint
- • Ageratum
- • Eucalyptus
I am tempted to try my own experiment this summer. I am thinking of arranging several of these plants around my patio and position oscillating fans next to them, so as to keep their fragrance moving through the air. Let’s hope it works because I’m not that fond of mosquito-repellent body sprays.
Other ways to repel mosquitoes...
Any of the aromas listed above can be put on your skin to deter mosquitoes. Lemon Balm is another smell that can repel a mosquito, but may attract bees...so beware!
There are a variety of electronic mosquito traps that effectively lure mosquitoes with their emission of carbon dioxide. I have tried them, and they do seem to help. Still, I have not found anything to be 100% effective. A combination of equipment that attracts and fragrances that deter might be our best solution for a pleasant dinner outdoors this summer.
For help with planting fragrant foliage or to schedule landscape maintenance for optimal beauty, contact us at Environmental Construction Inc.
Also read our previous blog titled Ideas for mosquito control, posted July 24, 2013.