Can Plants Really Repel Mosquitoes?

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Home Grown Mosquito Control: Fact of Fiction?

It’s a late summer afternoon and it’s finally cool enough to work in your garden. You pull on your dirt-stained overalls and head outside. The light breeze tickles your skin as you water the plants and pull weeds. But wait: just a few minutes in, you start to feel an itch on the back of your neck. A minute later, and two more pop up. You start to hear the buzz of the mosquitoes around your head. It’s time to go inside, but you only got a few minutes to enjoy one of your favorite pastimes!


Everyone's experienced a scenario like this, whether you like to garden, walk, or just sit in the shade and read a book. There are few things more annoying than having your time outside cut short by the hungry mosquito!

Many garden stores and other plant suppliers claim that plants such as citronella, basil, and lavender are “mosquito-repellent.” This is a tricky marketing tactic; it relies on the consumer’s trust that the plants will simply repel mosquitoes. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Natural remedies for something as commonplace as a mosquito sound great, but you want to make sure that you don’t waste your money on ineffective mosquito control methods.

The Science Behind the Claim

The reality of mosquito-repellent plants is that they only work after they’ve been processed. In most cases, having enough of one of these herbs to be able to concoct an effective remedy requires many plants. Let’s look at it from a scientific perspective: there are certain compounds in each of these plants that are mosquito repellent, and they’re present in the oils of the plants.

Oils present in basil, lavender, and citronella are repugnant to mosquitoes, who won’t want to fly near these scents. However, plants don’t just release these oils as they grow in your garden. If you’ve ever smelled a citronella candle next to a citronella plant, you’ll notice that the plant has hardly any smell compared to the candle. The plant in its natural state doesn’t release enough of its oils for the mosquito to smell, and therefore is not an effective repellent unless processed.

Do Mosquito Repellent Plants Really Work?

Plants such as citronella, lavender, and basil do repel mosquitoes, but only after being processed. You can process these plants at home if you know which method to use. Processes may include boiling, mashing, or oil extraction. Some plants can simply be crushed and applied to the skin, while others require a little more attention to tease out the oils. There is little to no legitimate information available regarding how effective each of these plants are, or how long they last. There’s one thing we know for sure: they require several applications per day, especially if you’re active. 

Environmentally Friendly Mosquito Control

Controlling your local mosquito population doesn’t have to involve any dangerous chemicals or environmental degradation. Here at Home Pest Control, we combine our knowledge of local ecosystems, expertise in applying EPA certified repellents, and commitment to the environment to provide safe, healthy, professional mosquito control. We target mosquitoes without affecting pollinator populations on your property.

Home Pest Control: Effective, Affordable, and Safe

Our mosquito control methods keep mosquito levels low without sacrificing your health or the health of your garden. Contact us today to set up your mosquito treatment plan!


February 15, 2019

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