Get these annoying pests to bug off without having to spray harsh pesticides.

By Stephanie Rose
Updated April 30, 2021
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Just as you are about to indulge in some well-deserved downtime on the patio with friends or family on a lazy summer evening, you hear that familiar whining buzz or feel a little nip on your exposed skin. Then, suddenly everyone is slapping and smacking themselves and running for cover. You can keep mosquitoes from crashing the party by using nature against them, both to repel them and to reduce their population. Instead of spraying the whole yard with toxic pesticides in order to enjoy your time outside, try these natural solutions that will keep these bothersome bugs at bay.

lavender plants growing in containers
Credit: Laurie Black

1. Plant an Aromatic Garden

Some plants have scents that mosquitoes don't like, such as lemon balm, basil, mint, rosemary, catnip, marigold, and lavender. Plant these liberally in your garden, especially around entertaining spaces. When you pass by the plants, be sure to brush them or rub the leaves. This releases the oils into the air and onto your skin.

2. Protect Your Skin, Naturally

3. Ditch the Water

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. If you have a prevalent mosquito problem, look around your outdoor space for breeding grounds like birdbaths that need refreshing, clogged gutters, and even puddles of rainwater that take several days to evaporate. Dump out or drain standing water regularly to prevent a small army of party poopers from invading your next soiree.

4. Keep It Clean

Overgrown plants and debris around the garden make the perfect habitat for adult mosquitoes. Keep your yard regularly maintained and you will be ruining the mosquitoes' party instead.

5. Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are a cinch to make using old candle wax, citronella oil, and soup cans. This clever recycling project lets you add a few more scents in case you don't fully appreciate the strong aroma of citronella on its own.

brick porch with green and orange decorations
Credit: Cameron Sadeghpour

6. Start a Breeze

On warm evenings, bring a fan outdoors and face it toward the party. You may even want to consider investing in a waterproof outdoor fan specifically made for the outdoors. If you have a covered porch or deck, you could even opt to install a ceiling fan over the space. The breeze will do double duty by cooling you down while blowing away uninvited pests.

7. Attract Natural Predators

Let spiders weave their webs around your garden, and they just might end up doing all the bug-catching for you. Mosquito-loving friends include birds, bats, frogs, turtles, fish, and dragonflies.

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