7 Tips for Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

by Kaia Koglin
worker installing mosquito net wire screen on house window

It’s been estimated that there are 110 trillion mosquitoes around the world, and some nights it can feel like every last one of those little suckers is in your backyard. First, you hear that low buzz. Next, there’s a pinch somewhere on your body. By the time you swat it, it’s too late. And now there’s an itchy bite on the way.

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But mosquitoes are more than just an annoyance. They can also carry and spread disease. That’s why repelling mosquitoes is so important. From minimizing their breeding grounds to masking the scents that attract mosquitoes, here are seven tips to keep them away.

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away With Repellents

Mosquito repellents are the heroes when it comes to keeping these bugs at bay. Chemical and natural repellents work by affecting the mosquitoes’ senses. The bugs can no longer smell or taste properly, so they can’t find a human to land on.

Use Chemical Sprays and Repellents

There are a number of chemical sprays and repellents that can be used in the yard to keep away mosquitoes. A regular flying insect spray will kill mosquitoes, so spray them when you see them. It’s also a good idea to use an effective repellent on your skin for personal protection.

There are also repellents that work over larger areas. Mosquito coils are made from an incense that produces mosquito-repelling smoke. It’s generally made of pyrethrum, which comes from a type of chrysanthemum plant. You can also buy plug-in vaporizers and diffusers to release repelling chemicals, such as DEET and picaridin. These are very effective in enclosed outdoor areas, such as patios and decks.

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Try Natural Repellents

If you prefer to avoid chemicals, you can try natural repellents. These are plant-based scents that still stop mosquitos from finding a human meal. The effectiveness of these scents is disputed, but they may be effective in areas with fewer mosquitoes.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) should be your first choice, as the CDC lists it as an effective repellent. Make sure to buy the insect repellent version, as it’s different from the essential oil, and don't use it on children under three. Citronella is another popular bug-repelling choice. There are many types of citronella candles that can be set around your yard and lit to release the mosquito-banishing power. Other scents to try include cedarwood, cinnamon and catnip.

Thermacell Patio Shield

The Thermacell Patio Shield is a relative newcomer in the world of mosquito repellents. It came on the market in 1999 and uses a scent-free repellent to keep mosquitoes away. The heat-activated device doesn’t require cords or batteries, yet it can create a 15-foot zone of protection around the device. Thermacell also manufactures portable protection devices that can clip to a belt for those times when you’re working in the yard and want to stop the bites.

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Other Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Away

A good mosquito protection plan doesn’t put all its faith in repellents. There are modifications you can make outside that discourage mosquitoes from breeding or setting up their home in your yard.

Reduce Mosquito Breeding Grounds

Mosquitoes lay around 100 eggs at a time, so getting rid of their breeding grounds can have a big impact on the population. Regular yard maintenance can help you eliminate standing water, which is where they breed. To keep mosquitoes at bay, you should:

  • Regularly clean gutters
  • Fix leaking taps
  • Remove anything that holds water, such as tires, unused pots and empty containers
  • Cover or overturn trailers, wheelbarrows, boats and children’s toys to prevent pooling water
  • Keep swimming pools well-maintained and chlorinated

If you have standing water that you want to keep, such as a fountain or water feature, you can purchase mosquito dunks. These are small disks that dissolve in water and release bacteria that kill mosquito larvae.

Add Screens

Physical barriers are effective at keeping mosquitoes out but can be difficult to use in the garden. However, you can add screens to an outdoor entertaining area such as a deck, pergola or patio. Using mosquito netting can be an inexpensive and attractive way to provide a temporary barrier. If you use the area regularly, it may be worth putting up permanent screens. These can generally be left open during the day and closed at dusk when the mosquitoes are most active.

Plant Flowers and Herbs That Mosquitoes Hate

If you have a green thumb, consider adding some mosquito-repelling plants to your garden. These tend to have strong fragrances, but that doesn’t mean they’re unpleasant. There are a large number to choose from, including:

  • Marigold
  • Calendula
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Bee balm
  • Sage
  • Allium

These plants are most effective when planted near areas where mosquitoes gather. Try putting them near doorways or in pots around your seating area. The best part is that these plants also look and smell nice, attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies, and many can also be used in cooking.

Change Your Lights

Anyone who has seen a moth fluttering around a lamp knows that lights can attract insects. Mosquitoes are no exception, so changing your lighting can be an easy way to keep them at a distance. White light tends to attract insects, so opt for yellow bulbs. You can also buy lights that are designed to repel bugs while providing a pleasing glow.

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Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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