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Natural Mosquito Repellent Ideas for Your Outdoor Space

Keeping mosquitoes at bay can seem like a full time job in the warmer months! Today’s post is dedicated to natural mosquito control strategies, as opposed to chemical sprays and repellents. Kate here, and the city I call home has experienced extremely heavy amounts of rainfall in the last month. That’s great news when it comes to breaking out of the drought, but not-so-good news for mosquito season.

These little buggers are already out in full force, and I’m hunting down effective ways to avoid bites and illness. Can you tell I’m not a fan of mosquitoes? I’m not claiming that the strategies below are foolproof, but they just might be worth a try. Let’s start with some common-sense tactics and surprising tips that help make natural mosquito repellent a reality…

Remove Standing Water

Mosquitoes breed in the water. It therefore goes without saying that keeping your outdoor space free from mosquitoes involves removing standing water from the area. If you have sections of the yard that regularly collect large puddles, perhaps it’s time to look at some drainage solutions. Cleaning your gutters can go a long way in preventing needless standing water as well. [image from Fotosearch.com via Bob Vila

Standing water attracts bugs
Standing water attracts bugs

I’m not suggesting that you remove your birdbath if you love providing a water source for nature’s creatures. But at the very least, make sure you keep the water fresh, regularly dumping out old water and refilling the receptacle. [hanging garden photo from Sustainable Garden Design Perth]

Beautiful hanging pot garden by Sustainable Garden Design Perth
Beautiful hanging pot garden by Sustainable Garden Design Perth

Fans and Bulbs

There are MANY home remedies for deterring mosquitoes, but one of the most consistently recommended strategies is the use of a large fan on your deck or patio. Both the American Mosquito Control Association and The New York Times mention this technique, especially since mosquitoes aren’t strong fliers. An oscillating fan will throw them off track! Below we see the Kingston Outdoor Fan from Frontgate:

Outdoor fan by Frontgate
Outdoor fan by Frontgate

If a standing fan on the patio isn’t your cup of tea, try mounting the fan to the ceiling. Selections such as the Bentley II Outdoor Tarnished Bronze Oscillating Ceiling Fan with Wall Control from Home Depot just might be the solution for you:

Outdoor oscillating ceiling fan
Outdoor oscillating ceiling fan

We now move from fans to bulbs! While yellow bug lights aren’t officially mosquito repellents, they certain won’t attract mosquitoes like incandescent lights. I was truly saddened by the prospect of ditching my clear overhead string lights, and then I found these Bugs Away Yellow Globe String Lights from Plow & Hearth and realized there just might be a solution that’s both stylish and effective. While they’re currently unavailable, I’m determined to find another set of yellow string lights that will do the trick!

Bugs Away Yellow Globe String Lights
Bugs Away Yellow Globe String Lights

Mosquito Nets

Mosquito nets can truly be helpful when it comes to insect control. Before we get to netting, note that gauzy curtains in a material such as cheesecloth can offer additional protection by reducing the amount of open space that welcomes mosquitoes to your outdoor area. But if any openings remain, some bugs will find their way in. [from Peter Rose + Partners]

Breezy curtains by an outdoor dining table
Breezy curtains by an outdoor dining table

Mosquito netting-style curtains from IKEA provide a barrier to mosquitoes in this beautifully appointed patio of Gorgeous Shiny Things blogger Danika Herrick, who emphasizes the importance of sewing the edges of the bordering curtains together to prevent mosquitoes from flying into the open cracks and spaces.

IKEA curtains provide mosquito protection on this porch
IKEA curtains provide mosquito protection on this porch

When using mosquito netting, also make sure the fabric is not touching your body when it surrounds you (to prevent biting through the net). Some nets are dipped in repellent to provide an extra layer of protection. If it’s important to you that your netting NOT be treated with repellents, seek out a selection that’s chemical-free. Below we see a Plow & Hearth outdoor mosquito net from Amazon.com:

Mosquito net over an umbrella
Mosquito net over an umbrella

Are There Mosquito-Repellent Plants?

Do plants such as marigold, lemon balm and citronella really repel mosquitoes? There isn’t strong evidence to show they get the job done. I wouldn’t spend your money planting massive amounts of these plants while ignoring the other methods discussed above. But it might not hurt to add them for some extra protection. Plus, they’ll certainly beautify your yard! [image from National Garden Bureau]

Marigolds are a natural mosquito repellent
Some say marigolds are a natural mosquito repellent

Some critics of plant repellents claim the scent of a plant alone isn’t enough to deter mosquitoes. Rather, the plant would need to be crushed and directly applied to the skin. At that point, you may as well purchase an all-natural repellent made from extracted plant oils. Do your research on ingredients and effectiveness. [image from Harvest to Table]

Mint is thought to repel mosquitos
Mint is thought to repel mosquitos

While my mosquito-averse husband’s solution is simply not to go outside, there are practical ways to avoid mosquito bites! Remember that mosquitoes are the most active at dawn and dusk, so avoiding the outdoors at these times can be helpful. So can covering your arms and legs with light clothing, although this may be uncomfortable during the hottest time of the year. For additional tips and helpful advice, visit the website of the American Mosquito Control Association. Have a fun, healthy spring and summer!

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