Mosquitoes are more than just an itchy nuisance. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they also carry a host of different diseases like encephalitis, West Nile virus, dengue fever and malaria. Along with chemical-based products that repel mosquitoes, there also are naturally based homemade recipes that may be just as effective.
Various essential oils are effect in repelling mosquitoes. Cedarwood, basil, citronella, lemon, juniper, pine, myrrh, rosemary, palmarosa and rose geranium are all good choices; these can be used as a single fragrance or combined to your liking. Your local health food store should carry most essential oils. To make the repellent, combine 2½ tsp. of essential oils with 1 cup of 190-proof grain alcohol (available in your local liquor store). Place both ingredients in a jar and shake to combine. Transfer the mixture to smaller spray bottles. Experiment with the essential oils to find what will work most effectively and what you like best.
Pepper spray will repel more than just a human attacker. Boil 2 to 3 cups of water and then add ½ to 2/3 cup of hot peppers (chopped finely). Allow the mixture to sit for 10 to 20 minutes to steep. Pour this through a sieve to eliminate the pepper pieces. Transfer to a spray bottle and use as needed. Be careful to avoid getting the mixture in your eyes and avoid spraying directly on plants.
To make a natural repelling mist, fill a spray bottle with witch hazel (available in drugstores). Add several drops of lavender oil, peppermint oil or tea tree oil, cap tightly and shake. Feel free to mist all over your body.
Vanilla is useful even out of the kitchen. Dab a small amount behind your ears and on your neck and wrists. Most insects (including mosquitoes) are repelled by the smell.
You can either grow your own lemongrass or buy it in the grocery store for use in a spritz. Boil 2 cups of water and add 1 cup of chopped lemongrass. Allow the mixture to steep for one or two hours. Strain through a sieve and place into a spray bottle.
Use Your Landscaping to Repel Mosquitoes
If you would rather not spray anything on yourself, using plants to repel mosquitoes is an effective alternative. Citronella grass is effective but not practical since it grows approximately 6 feet tall and mostly thrives in the tropics. Some other options include catnip (which according to ABCGardening.net is more effective than some popular chemical options in repelling mosquitoes), rosemary (the oil is a natural repellent) and marigolds (many humans don’t care for the smell but neither do mosquitoes and other harmful insects).