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What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate?

Mosquitoes are drawn to human scent, but certain natural odors can keep them away. For those enjoying time outdoors, using repellents like citronella, eucalyptus, or lavender offers a chemical-free way to repel these pests.

These essential oils are effective and provide a pleasant scent. They can be used in candles, sprays, or diffusers. Interested in other mosquito-repelling smells?

Stick with us as we explore more natural solutions to keep your environment mosquito-free, safely and sustainably.

Key Takeaways

  • Certain natural scents from essential oils and plants, like citronella and lavender, repel mosquitoes and prevent them from biting.
  • Commercial insect repellents use synthesized plant compounds for maximum effectiveness against mosquitoes.
  • Creating a mosquito-repellent atmosphere involves strategic placement of scents and repellents to block mosquitoes from entering living spaces.
  • Regular home maintenance, such as draining standing water and securing screens, is crucial to prevent mosquito breeding and infestation.
  • Professional mosquito control services offer more effective and time-efficient solutions than DIY methods, helping to maintain a mosquito-free environment.

Common Scents That Keep Mosquitoes Away

Mosquito species like Aedes and Anopheles are more than nuisances. Their bites can transmit dangerous diseases, such as West Nile Virus, Zika, and dengue fever.

Fortunately, they are repelled by certain natural scents, many of which can be found in available products.

Essential Oils

set of essential oils

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts with strong odors that mosquitoes find unpleasant. The exact mechanism still needs to be fully understood, but these oils may confuse mosquitoes or interfere with their ability to locate hosts.

Here are some popular essential oils and how you can use them:

Essential Oils


Citronella Oil

Add a few drops to diffusers or apply to the skin when diluted with a carrier oil.

Cedarwood Oil

Use in closets or apply to the skin as a diluted body oil.

Peppermint Oil

Apply to skin in a diluted form or bug spray near entry points.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Apply to skin in a lotion or use in an outdoor diffuser.

Plants and Herbs

plants and herbs

Plants and herbs produce natural oils and compounds that repel mosquitoes through their strong fragrance or chemistry. Here’s how to use these plants effectively:

  • Lavender - Grow around sitting areas or use lavender oil on the skin for a double effect.
  • Catnip - Plant in the garden to deter mosquitoes; it's significantly more effective than DEET.
  • Garlic - Plant in the garden; crushed garlic cloves can also be applied to the skin.
  • Marigolds - Place potted marigolds near entryways to keep mosquitoes at bay with their pyrethrum.
  • Lemongrass Plant: Use a patio candle or apply a diluted mixture to exposed skin.

Many commercial insect repellents contain synthesized versions of a natural plant compound that keeps mosquitoes away from your home.

They are formulated for maximum efficacy, and the scent strength varies to suit different conditions.

Here’s what you need to look for on the label of EPA-approved insecticides:

Active Ingredients


Scent Strength






Milder than DEET


Moderate to High







Pleasantly Floral

How to Create a Mosquito-Repellent Atmosphere

Creating a mosquito-repellent atmosphere relies on using effective scents and strategically placing repellents to ensure mosquitoes stay at bay.

Combining certain scents can lead to a more potent mosquito-repellent effect than regular bug repellents.

Here's why: Mosquitoes use their keen sense of smell to locate humans, but complex fragrances confuse their olfactory navigation.

Here’s a list of effective DIY mosquito control combinations you should try:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: A natural spray or perfume that masks body heat and emits a strong scent, deterring mosquitoes.
  • Peppermint and Citronella: When combined, their intense fragrances can be applied as a body spray, diminishing the accessibility to human scents.
  • Clove and Geranium: A potent mix that can be used in oil diffusers, providing a dual-action of pleasing aromas and insect repellence.

Where to Place Repellents

Strategically placing mosquito repellents is crucial as it creates barriers that reduce mosquitoes entering living spaces.

Here are key areas to focus on to stop getting mosquito bites:

Area in the Home



Applying repellent near entrances can deter mosquitoes from entering as they try to avoid the strong scents.


Repellent sprays or diffusers on window sills can act as a perimeter defense, blocking mosquitoes attracted by indoor lights.

Sleeping Areas

Near the bed, use repellents to protect yourself during sleep, when they are most vulnerable due to the emission of body heat and carbon dioxide.

How to Prevent Mosquitoes From Coming Back

To prevent mosquitoes from returning, it's essential to establish natural repellent barriers and adhere to a routine of simple maintenance tasks around the home.

Regular home maintenance is essential to creating a mosquito-friendly environment.

As homeowners, your prime focus when maintaining your property should be eliminating mosquito-breed sites. Here are ways you can do so:

  • Drain Standing Water: Check and clear gutters, plant saucers, and bird baths weekly.
  • Fill Hollows: Level out any ground depressions where water may collect.
  • Secure Screens: Ensure window and door screens fit properly and have no tears.
  • Tighten Lids: Keep garbage bins sealed to avoid water accumulation and mosquito attraction.

Natural Barriers

Creating natural barriers involves using plants that mosquitoes find repulsive. A strategic combination of such plants can serve as an effective deterrent.

The table below lists common natural barriers alongside their optimal placement to maximize effectiveness.

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Placement Tips


Plant around patios and windows to deter mosquitoes with its strong scent.


Essential Oils and Lavender

Place in gardens or near entryways to benefit from its mosquito-repelling oils.


Intersperse between vegetables in gardens to create a vibrant, protective edge.


Should You Call the Mosquito Experts?

When battling mosquitoes, you often consider whether to call in the experts. If DIY solutions and home remedies aren't cutting it, and the situation affects your quality of life, it is time to call for backup.

Professional pest control companies (like us, here at Native Pest Management) can bring a wealth of expertise and efficiency.

We understand the specific types of insecticides that are most effective against mosquitoes without causing undue environmental harm.