Your methods for keeping pesky skeeters away don't have to be an eyesore or damaging to the earth. These products are subtle and stylish, yet effective.

By Jenny Krane
Updated June 17, 2020
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During the hot and humid days of summer, few things can ruin a backyard barbecue faster than bloodthirsty mosquitoes. Besides using pesticide sprays (which may be harmful to the environment, or even your health when used incorrectly), there are plenty of natural mosquito-repelling products out there that work well without adding safety worries. Plus, they can even enhance your outdoor decor. Traps, candles, and other bug-deterring devices all offer a way to keep your patio or deck a bite-free zone. Here are some of the best mosquito repellent solutions that you can safely use around kids and pets and that will blend right in to your outdoor living areas.

Credit: Jay Wilde

Mosquito Traps and Deterrents

Bug zappers and traps don't contain any harsh chemicals, and are in fact mostly odorless. These options are high-tech but also attractive and subtle, so you'll hardly notice they're around.

Outdoor Lantern Mosquito Trap

This stainless steel device has over 600 5-star reviews on Amazon, and can protect up to half an acre. It looks like a simple outdoor lantern but contains UV-LED bulbs that attract mosquitoes. They are drawn into a lower cage where they dehydrate and die. If you hate the startling noise of bug zappers, this is a quiet option that essentially does the same thing. The only downside is that it can also attract and kill insects other than mosquitoes, so it could end up harming beneficial insects in your yard.

Buy It: DynaTrap Mosquito Trap, ($146, Amazon)

Mosquito Repellent Diffuser

Besides using this tiny mosquito-repelling diffuser in your yard, you can pack and take it on a camping trip with ease. All you need to do is put in a repellent cartridge and turn it on. The batteries are rechargeable, and the repellent in the cartridge is both scent- and DEET-free.

Allethrin Lamps and Diffusers

Allethrin is a natural repellent found in chrysanthemums and is effective in repelling insects. You can find plenty of products that use this natural essence, but Thermacell's outdoor lanterns will also add ambience to your patio or porch. The lantern will create a 15-foot radius of protection, and you won't be able to detect the odor even if you're sitting right next to it.

Misting Hoses and Fans

While still water will attract mosquitoes, moving water actually deters them. You can buy misting hoses to install onto deck railings to keep the bugs away and stay cool. Some manufacturers make fans with misting capabilities, or offer a misting set you can add onto a fan you already have.

Mosquito dunks help kill larvae in water gardens.
| Credit: Robert Cardillo

Mosquito-Repelling Accessories

Outdoor accessories and decorations can work double-duty when it comes to mosquitoes and other pests. Many of these small products can sit on a tabletop or tuck in a corner to keep bugs away.

Mosquito Control Dunks

Mosquitoes are drawn to standing water, like in ponds and marshy areas, to lay their eggs. These small cork discs float on top of the water and slowly dissolve, releasing a bacterium that kills mosquito larvae. This product is harmless to other aquatic insects, fish, and animals.

Buy It: Mosquito Control Dunks, ($25, Amazon)

Geraniol or Citronella Candles

Mosquito-repelling candles can help ward off the pesky insects. Look for candles that have geraniol, citronella, or other natural oils like eucalyptus, for best results.

Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

There are a handful of manufacturers that make mosquito bracelets in all different colors, fabrics, and sizes. Simple Natural Products has created microfiber bracelets that are made with natural citronella oil. These cloth bracelets are comfortable to wear, and still work if they get wet.

Mosquito Coils

Smoke and strong scents are known to keep mosquitoes at bay. Mosquito coils combine the two, releasing small amounts of smoke with a citronella smell as it burns. Look for a terra-cotta burner that matches your outdoor decor style so it'll appear to be another attractive accessory.

The oils from scented geranium can help repel mosquitoes.
| Credit: Dean Schoeppner

Mosquito-Repelling Plants

Strongly scented plants can help deter mosquitoes (and other pests like moths and flies) in a natural way. However, simply planting mosquito-repelling plants isn't effective; you need to crush or cut the leaves to release the scented oil that mosquitoes don't like. You can use the oil as a natural insect repellent spray by rubbing crushed leaves on your skin. Be sure to test for any allergy first by rubbing the leaves on a quarter-size patch of skin on your inner forearm for a day or so; if there's no irritating reaction such as a rash, it's likely safe for you to use on your skin. The best part of this mosquito hack? These plants will look lovely in your existing landscaping or they can be used in container gardens. Some mosquito-repelling plants include:

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