Warming temperatures, rainy-sunny-rainy days, lush green grass, spring dandelions, daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips…
We’re incredibly fortunate in Essex to have very few mosquitos… But from time-to-time the noisome bloodsuckers nevertheless find us.
We’re incredibly fortunate in Essex to have very few mosquitos. Perhaps it’s the omnipresent breeze wafting across Lake Champlain. But from time-to-time the noisome bloodsuckers nevertheless find us. And when they do, it’s pretty tempting to pull out the mosquito repellent and spray, spray, spray. Noxious chemicals replace obnoxious pests.
Did you know that some plants naturally repel mosquitos? Today’s gardening tip offers a clever, attractive, and—in many cases—tasty way to eliminate (or at least reduce) dangerous poisons.
One of the best ways to stave off the whiny insects is to eliminate stagnant water. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in even the shallowest puddles, so prevent water from collecting and you’ll dramatically curb your mosquito population.
Now it’s time to add the following naturally mosquito repellent plants to your garden and landscaping.
Known for its distinct smell, citronella grass is the most commonly used natural ingredient in mosquito repellants. (Source: Garden Design)
Perhaps the most popular naturally mosquito repellent plant, citronella grass might not be what you’re looking for.
First of all, it is the oil present in this lemony plant that deters mosquitos. Once extracted it is added to natural “bug dope” and patio candles to organically deter the pesky blood-letters. But, unless you intend to actually crush up citronella grass leaves and rub them on your skin, you’re not likely to see any notable improvement in your mosquito conditions simply by growing a citronella grass.
Second, citronella grass is native to zones 10, 11, and 12. So, northern readers, unless you’re happy to plant citronella grass as an annual, you’re probably better to choose alternative naturally mosquito repellent plants for your garden.
In addition to its mosquito repelling properties, the plant is also used to treat lice and other parasites, like intestinal worms. (Source: Gardening Know How)
Basil is another pungent plant that can serve you well as a natural mosquito repellent.
Basil emits its aroma without crushing the leaves, so you can grow basil in pots and put them in your backyard to control mosquitoes. To keep the mosquitoes away from your body, rub a handful of crushed basil leaves on your skin. (Source: NatureHacks)
What kitchen garden isn’t improved with a couple of basil varieties? It’s the perfect summer addition to your salads, gazpacho, and cold pasta dishes.
Any variety of basil can repel mosquitoes but it is advisable to use lemon basil, cinnamon basil, and Peruvian basil since they have the strongest fragrances. (Source: NatureHacks)
And while I’m thinking of summer salads, gazpacho, and pasta dishes, there’s another obvious mosquito repellent plant to mention, garlic.
Garlic actually repels mosquitoes, but not from garlic breath. If you have a high allicin (garlic’s active anti-microbial ingredient) blood count, mosquitoes will refuse to engage with your blood… In order to release garlic’s healing properties, it should be crushed and then eaten. (Source: NaturalNews.com)
Sounds interesting. According to conventional wisdom, the garlic bulb—once crushed and ingested—makes our blood toxic (or at least unpalatable) to mosquitos. Perfect! Except, the supporting science is pretty thin.
Garlic, perhaps because of its strong odor, has long been said to be that magic food. But studies so far have found that claim to be little more than wishful thinking. Eating it may repel other humans, but apparently not mosquitoes.
One study illustrating this was published in 2005 by a group of researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The scientists asked groups of subjects to consume large amounts of garlic on some days and a placebo on others and exposed them to mosquitoes on each day. The number of mosquitoes that fed on them and the number of bites they suffered did not seem to differ under the two conditions.
Eating garlic has not been shown to either attract or ward off mosquitoes. (Source: The New York Times)
So, should you plant garlic? Of course. It’s delicious, and it all sorts of additional healthy benefits. And perhaps one day we’ll learn that it is the ultimate mozzy buster too.
Another oft touted organic mosquito repellent is peppermint. This delightful smelling (and tasting) garden regular is apparently repugnant to mosquitos.
Oil of Mentha piperita L. (Peppermint oil), a widely used essential oil, was evaluated for larvicidal activity against different mosquito species… The oil showed strong repellent action against adult mosquitoes when applied on human skin. (Source: Bioresource Technology)
It’s worth noting that simply growing peppermint in your garden won’t eliminate your mosquitos. Similar to the citronella grass and, well, just about everything else in this list, peppermint leaves must be crushed and rubbed on the skin.
And while you’re at it, you might consider muddling a few peppermint leaves in your drink!
Additionally, if you do get a bug bite you will find that peppermint oil is effective at relieving itches. (Source: Mosquito Magnet)