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Natural Mosquito Repellent

March 11, 2024   |   Mosquitoes

mother spraying child with mosquito repellent image for blog on natural mosquito repellent


Mosquitoes are notorious pests that can quickly ruin outdoor activities with their incessant buzzing and itchy bites. Many people turn to natural remedies and scents in an attempt to repel these pesky insects. But does natural mosquito repellent actually work?

In the battle against mosquitoes, finding effective repellents is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and safe living environment. While natural mosquito repellents are often touted as effective solutions, it’s essential to understand their limitations compared to professional mosquito control services. In this article, we’ll explore the drawbacks of relying solely on natural repellents and highlight the importance of professional mosquito control for comprehensive protection against mosquitoes.


What Smell Do Mosquitoes Hate?

Mosquitoes can be repelled by certain smells, technically making them natural repellents. One homemade “solution” involves creating a smoke using ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus, or lemongrass essential oils. Additionally, a mixture of vinegar and water is sometimes used in an attempt to deter mosquitoes when sprayed in infested areas.

Natural repellents like homemade smoke or vinegar-based sprays may emit odors that mosquitoes find unpleasant, but they offer only temporary relief. These methods may not provide long-term protection or effectively reduce mosquito populations around your home. Let’s explore some common myths about what smells mosquitoes hate and debunk them using scientific research and expert insights.


Claim 1: Certain smells repel mosquitoes.

While it’s widely believed that mosquitoes dislike certain scents, such as citronella or lavender, scientific evidence suggests otherwise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of natural repellents like essential oils in repelling mosquitoes. Instead, it’s essential to rely on proven methods for mosquito control.


Claim 2: Candle scents repel mosquitoes.

Many candle manufacturers market products claiming to repel mosquitoes with scents like citronella, lemongrass, or eucalyptus. However, candles alone are not effective at repelling mosquitoes…we’re going to need something a little stronger than that to do the job. While certain scents may mask human odors that attract mosquitoes, they do not provide reliable protection against bites.


Claim 3: Certain foods repel mosquitoes.

Some sources suggest that consuming certain foods like garlic or onions can repel mosquitoes from biting. However, scientific studies have found no evidence to support these claims. While consuming garlic may have health benefits, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on mosquito repellency.


Debunking Natural Smells as Reliable Mosquito Control

While it’s possible that natural smells like citronella or lavender may provide temporary relief from mosquitoes, they are not reliable methods for long-term mosquito control. Mosquitoes are highly adaptable insects that can quickly become accustomed to certain scents, rendering them ineffective as repellents over time. Additionally, relying solely on natural smells for mosquito control may lead to inadequate protection against mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus or Zika virus.

So, while it’s tempting to believe in the power of strong scents to repel mosquitoes, scientific evidence suggests otherwise. Instead of relying on myths and folklore, it’s essential to trust in proven mosquito control methods backed by research and expertise. By implementing effective mosquito control strategies, you can protect yourself and your family from the irritation and prospective health hazards associated with mosquitoes.


How to Prevent Mosquito Bites Without Repellent

While mosquito repellents like some DEET-based, EPA-approved products on the market are helpful to avoid mosquito bites, there are alternative (or additional, if you take our advice) methods for reducing your risk of being bitten. Those alternatives include an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.

Instead of relying on natural smells, it’s advisable to implement proven mosquito control strategies backed by scientific research. These strategies could include:

  • Removing standing water sources where mosquitoes breed.
  • Installing screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering your space.
  • Employing professional mosquito control services like MistAway Mosquito Service or ThermaShield Mosquito Protection for comprehensive protection.

Preventing mosquito bites takes a strategy that incorporates as many factors as possible for the best chance of success.


Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others?

We all have that friend who is constantly being eaten up by mosquitoes. Then there’s the other friend who somehow leaves every outdoor event miraculously unscathed by these bothersome bloodsuckers. So, what gives? Why do some people get more mosquito bites?

Well, it turns out there could be a scientific reason for that. It might be a tough pill to swallow for everyone who was told they’re a mosquito’s top choice because they’re “the sweetest.” In lab studies through the University of Florida, research suggests that about 20% of people are high attractors for mosquitoes.

Scientists believe that there are multiple factors at play in attracting mosquitoes:


Blood Type

Mosquitoes (specifically female mosquitoes, because only the ladies bite!) feed on our blood for its proteins. Because of this, some blood types may be more appealing to mosquitoes than others. One study found that mosquitoes landed on people with Type O blood almost twice as much as they landed on those with Type A blood. Meanwhile, Type B was somewhere between O and A on the mosquito attraction scale.

In addition to studying blood type, researchers also looked at other genes that impact if a person is a secretor or non-secretor. Essentially, about 85% of people are secretors which means that they release a chemical signal indicating their blood type that mosquitoes can pick up on. The other 15% of people do not secret this chemical alerting these tiny pests to their personal flavor.

Regardless of blood type, mosquitoes are more attracted to secreters than non-secreters.


Carbon Dioxide

We know that mosquitoes are attracted to the CO2 we exhale–and not just us, animals too–but the amount counts. Mosquitoes can smell CO2 up to 170 feet away, so they’re pretty good at finding a food source. People who exhale more CO2 are prime targets for mosquitoes.

The main cause of some exhaling more than others would be size. A larger person with bigger lungs can take bigger breaths, including the exhale. It’s theorized that this is one of the main reasons why adults seem to get mosquito bites more than children.



CO2 isn’t all mosquitoes can smell. In a closer range to their targets, mosquitoes can smell lactic and uric acid, ammonia, and other substances we release in our sweat. Gross, but true. They also tend to be more attracted to higher body temperatures.

With these additional factors at play, it’s no surprise that exercising can draw the attention of thirsty mosquitoes. The lactic acid and heat that builds up in your body when you exercise is easy for them to zero in on. Additionally, the amount of uric acid you naturally produce is impacted by genetic factors.


Skin Bacteria

We all have bacteria on our skin. It’s not as gross as it sounds (usually). According to this study, those who have large amounts of bacteria but limited types of different bacteria tend to be more attractive to mosquitoes than those with lower levels of bacteria but more diverse species.

It’s possible that our ankles and feet seem to be bitten more often because typically there are higher levels of bacteria in those areas.


Beverage Consumption

Yes, really. Specifically, beer.

A study found that alcohol consumption can increase the likelihood of getting mosquito bites; however, there is some mystery behind it. That’s because the researchers’ theory was that drinking alcohol would increase ethanol in participants’ sweat, but they were not able to find any correlation between drinking, ethanol levels, and mosquito bites.

So, if you ask us, the increased attraction to those drinking alcohol could use some more research. Any volunteers? (For legal reasons, this is a joke.)



Pregnancy combines a couple of factors we’ve already touched on: CO2 and temperature.

Studies show that pregnant people attract mosquito bites about twice as much as other people. While we wish it weren’t the case, on average, pregnant people exhale around 20% more CO2 and run about 1.3 degrees warmer than non-pregnant people.


Clothing Color

Mosquitoes don’t rely solely on their sense of smell. They can also see potential targets, which means wearing colors that stick out could work against you. Professor James Day gives examples of black, dark blue or red clothing being potentially easier for mosquitoes to spot than lighter colors.


What Keeps Mosquitoes Away from Biting You?

Mosquito repellents come in various forms, including sprays, lotions, candles, and electronic devices. While many products claim to repel mosquitoes effectively, it’s crucial to distinguish between what works and what doesn’t.

When it comes to keeping mosquitoes away, certain repellents have been proven effective through scientific research and real-world application. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best mosquito repellents contain active ingredients like DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Using mosquito repellent (and following label guidelines for application) in combination with professional mosquito control services will be your best bet to keep mosquitoes from biting you.


How to Use Essential Oils to Repel Mosquitoes

Popular essential oils for repelling mosquitoes include citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint. Using essential oils for skin application may provide some reprieve from mosquito bites, but they are not as reliable as professional-grade repellents. Additionally, relying solely on room sprays may not address outdoor mosquito populations, leaving you vulnerable to bites.

While essential oils can be effective as short-term repellents, they require frequent reapplication and may not offer consistent protection. Professional-grade mosquito control services provide more reliable and long-lasting solutions for comprehensive mosquito prevention.


What is the Best Home Remedy to Keep Mosquitoes off of You?

One popular recipe involves combining equal parts water and witch hazel with a few drops of essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus, or lavender. Another option is to crush fresh herbs like basil, mint, or rosemary and rub them onto the skin. And remember to patch test before applying more broadly!

Of course, homemade remedies like DIY sprays or herb-based solutions may offer temporary relief, but they lack the potency and precision of professional mosquito control treatments. They may also pose risks of skin irritation or allergic reactions.

Our best advice for those looking for a home remedy is to learn about taking an integrated approach. Combating the problem by addressing the environment and deploying physical intervention in addition to any chemical treatment you choose to pursue will give you the best chance of victory.


What to Burn to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

Plants like citronella, lavender, and eucalyptus contain natural oils that repel mosquitoes when burned. Simply bundle dried leaves or stems of these plants and burn them in an outdoor fire pit or campfire to create a natural mosquito-repellent smoke, but please note this is not a cure-all or a long-term solution.

Burning natural plants may produce smoke that repels mosquitoes temporarily, but it does not address the root cause of mosquito infestations. Professional mosquito control services offer targeted treatments that effectively eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and populations.


What Colors Do Mosquitoes Hate?

While mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors like black and navy blue, they tend to avoid lighter colors like white and pastels. Wearing light-colored clothing can help reduce the risk of mosquito bites by making you less visible to these pests. This likely goes without saying but, wearing light-colored clothing may make you less attractive to mosquitoes compared to those wearing dark colors, but it does not provide comprehensive protection against bites.


What is the Most Effective Natural Mosquito Repellent?

The most popular natural mosquito repellents typically contain a combination of essential oils known for their repellent properties. Citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint are among the most commonly used essential oils for repelling mosquitoes.

While natural repellents and essential oils may offer some degree of protection, they are not as effective as professional mosquito control services. Professional-grade treatments target mosquitoes at all stages of their lifecycle, providing more comprehensive and long-lasting protection.


What Kills Mosquitoes the Best Naturally?

While essential oils can deter mosquitoes temporarily, they lack the potency and lasting impact of professional mosquito control methods. Sprays and plant-based solutions may offer limited protection and are not as effective in controlling mosquito populations.

If you are seeking a DIY natural solution, consider taking action through physical and environmental intervention. For example, you can empty standing water and keep debris clear from your yard. This won’t solve the problem on its own, but it’s still important to do even if you don’t want professional mosquito control services.


Don’t Share Your Yard with Mosquitoes: Trusting Science Over Myths

While natural mosquito repellents and essential oils may provide temporary relief from mosquito bites, they are not as effective as professional mosquito control services. To achieve comprehensive protection against mosquitoes and reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, it’s a good idea to invest in professional-grade mosquito control treatments.

Call us at (800)225-5305 to learn more about our comprehensive mosquito control services and safeguard your home against mosquitoes effectively. You can also schedule a free inspection online.

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