Summer means warm, sunny weather; unfortunately, it also means mosquitoes. It's hard to enjoy the nice weather outside if you're constantly surrounded by the buzz and bites of a mosquito swarm.
Unfortunately, while do-it-yourself mosquito solutions exist, they come with a number of downsides. Store-bought mosquito repellants often contain harmful chemicals. All-natural formulas may be available, but they are usually expensive.
The biggest disadvantage of a DIY approach to a mosquito infestation is that, as a homeowner, you probably won't have the tools or training necessary to eradicate them completely. Ultimately, if you want to eliminate the infestation for good, you'll have to contact a pest control specialist.
Still, while it's next to impossible to fully remove a mosquito infestation without help from a professional, there are a number of viable DIY options available to homeowners that can keep mosquitoes at bay for the short-term.
What Are Mosquitoes Deterred By?
One of the most effective ways to keep mosquitoes away from you is to use the scents that deter them. There are a number of plant and chemical combinations available to homeowners that can be applied to your body as a personal repellant or strategically placed in your yard as a defensive perimeter.
Listed below are some scents that deter mosquitoes that you can utilize when making a homemade mosquito repellant:
- Lemon balm
- Flowers of geranium
- Tomato tops
One easy way to utilize these scents is to buy them in essential oil form and add them to a formula. Note that garlic and onions can be toxic to dogs and cats, so avoid those ingredients as deterrent if you have pets.
Make Your Own Spray
You can find hundreds of recipes for mosquito spray online, but most recipes boil down to a simple formula that you can play around with to find the best solution for you.
First, you will need to choose an oil or alcohol base. Options include olive oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil, witch hazel, vodka, and rubbing alcohol. Then, just add the essential oil(s) that you prefer, using the list of scents above as a base. Use several if possible.
You want the solution to be about 90-95% of the oil or alcohol base, with the other 5-10% to be essential oils. Simply mix your ingredients together and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray all over the skin, but take care to avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes. You can then spray your yard or patio as an extra line of defense.
The Vinegar of the Four Thieves
One of the most famous formulas for mosquito repellant comes from a legend of four thieves that arose during the the black plague.
The legend goes that four thieves were arrested for looting the homes of the dead, and were thrown in prison. To pay for their crimes, they were ordered to bury the dead they had stolen from; once they had done so, they would be free to go. The catch, of course, was that they ran the risk of contracting the deadly plague themselves.
At the time, there was no known cure or protection from the plague. The thieves had traded life in prison for a death sentence.
One of the thieves, an herbalist, created a concoction of herbal wine made from rosemary, sage, lavender, wormwood, peppermint, garlic, and vinegar. The herbal wine miraculously kept all four thieves alive and plague-free as they carried out their punishment, and all four were set free. Their incredible story spread quickly, and their concoction was replicated far and wide to great success.
While we now know much more about how the plague spread (fleas, not mosquitoes) and have far more advanced sanitary measures to prevent contracting disease, the Vinegar of the Four Thieves remains a cheap and effective mosquito deterrent made from common ingredients that any homeowner can find at their local supermarket.
Keeping Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard Safely
One of the biggest problems DIY mosquito treatments carry is the danger they pose to other plants and animals in the environment. Mosquito blowers can be particularly harmful; for more information, check out our blog on some of the important animals mosquito blowers are harming.
Luckily, there are several methods of keeping mosquitoes out of yard that do not involve harmful chemicals. Using one of these strategies will allow you to enjoy your yard during the nice weather without harming yourself or wildlife.
One method is to plant herbs and flowers that give off scents that mosquitoes dislike and avoid. Examples include basil, lavender, mint, citronella, rosemary, and marigold. If you're having barbeque or outdoor function, you might also try throwing some of these herbs on the grill, which will both release their scents into the general area and keep mosquitoes away from the food.
Remove any standing water from your yard, as it can attract mosquitoes and quickly become a breeding ground. Make sure moisture can easily drain in your yard, and remove water from kiddie pools, swingsets, benches, or anything other outdoor container that can hold liquid.
You can find numerous DIY mosquito traps online to place in your yard, and the good news is that almost all of them are made of common household products. For instance, you might try Dengarden's homemade mosquito trap, made with a plastic bottle, water, yeast, and brown sugar, which releases CO2 to attract mosquitoes before trapping them so they can't escape.
Keep in mind that for the most effective mosquito repellant, you will probably need to utilize a combination of methods and play around with ingredients to find the best solution for you. There are thousands of species of mosquitoes, so the most effective repellant method for the mosquitoes in your yard could be different from other yards.
For more information about how you can keep mosquitoes out of your yard this summer, check out our free informative Ebook, How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard This Summer.