Is there anyone who doesn’t want to get rid of mosquitos? Mosquitos are no joke, especially during the summer months. You’re spending more time outside, sharing time with family and friends around barbeques, pools, and campfires.
Unfortunately, that also means exposing our skin to more painful, itchy, and potentially dangerous mosquito bites. For many years, bug spray was the classic solution to get rid of mosquitos that are threatening to ruin your good time. But thankfully, there are plenty of other options besides dousing yourself with chemicals.
As a guy who lives in Orange County Florida (formerly called Mosquito County) <—-True story! I can tell you I have tested just about every one of these remedies firsthand and will tell it to you straight as to what works and doesn’t work.
Think of mosquito abatement as layering Swiss cheese. Nothing will completely stop them, but if you put enough layers of Swiss cheese together you will eventually have a solid wall of mosquito prevention. Let’s get right to it!
1. Get Rid of Standing Water
A good place to start to get rid of mosquitos in your outdoor space is by removing the things in your yard that attract them. The biggest thing that will draw these annoying bloodsuckers is standing water. They need still water to breed, so if your yard has a birdbath, small pond, or even puddles that take a long time to evaporate, you could be creating a mosquito breeding ground.
While these might be fine during winter, make sure that any vessels that are unnecessarily collecting and holding water are emptied and any puddles are dispersed with a broom or rake. To be even more nit-picky, fill in any potholes on your property that could collect rainwater.
2. Do Citronella Candles Work?
Most people have used a citronella candle in their backyard. That’s a great place to start, but unless you hover right on top of the candle or scatter dozens of candles around the yard like the fantasy suite on the Bachelor they don’t do that much.
As a Floridian, I have rarely found a citronella candle effective at a distance of more than 2 feet. Not worth the money in my book.
3. Wear Essential Oils
Most people wouldn’t guess that essential oils can be extremely helpful to get rid of mosquitos. Oils like Citronella, Basil, Rosemary and Lavender work very well. Mix the oil with a carrier like fractionated coconut oil and put it into a spray bottle to cover yourself naturally rather than using traditional sprays.
All are effective at keeping mosquitos at bay, but they must also be applied regularly because the oils do evaporate after a few hours.
Essential oils smell like fresh, natural scents rather than bug spray or unpleasant chemical repellents. Lavender, in particular, is effective at killing mosquitos and is naturally soothing for humans.
4. Plant The Right Plants
If sprays and oils aren’t your thing, having plenty of mint, lavender, basil and the lemon grasses that produce citronella (or all of the above) in your garden can also help keep mosquitos away from the whole area.
One thing to consider is that you’ll need to be growing large quantities for it to be effective, and it will need to be growing relatively close to where people gather in the yard.
This Is not a total fix, but these plants are no friend to mosquitos. They won’t hang around these plats and hide under their leaves like they do with other plants, so the less hospitable the environment you can make for them the more you will be able to get rid of mosquitos.
5. Wear Light Clothes
Mosquitos are surprisingly drawn to dark clothes, so dressing in lighter colors when spending time outdoors can help keep them away from you. Plus, with lighter clothes on you’ll stay cooler.
6. Avoid Salty Foods
For those who are willing to put in some planning into keeping mosquitos away, there are certain foods you can avoid that will make your body smell less delicious. Mosquitos love salt and potassium, so you’ll want to avoid highly salty foods (think most processed foods and salty meats like bacon) and high-potassium foods like bananas.
Many people gearing up for summer barbeques and garden parties will be happy to hear that beer is actually a helpful mosquito repellent. While it’s technically more useful as a repellent while in your hand than it is in your stomach, feel free to keep hold of a beer (or two!) while you’re spending time outside.
7. Cover Your Skin
Mosquitos happen to love sweat and flowery perfumes. You can avoid the perfumes, but sweat is a little tougher. Keeping your skin covered, especially around ankles where the blood is closer to the skin will help hide your natural scent that they find so appealing.
While you can do much about how much you sweat you can use my next hint to keep your sweat down.
8. Install a Fan
Mosquitos are weak fliers. In fact, they are so pitiful that installing some ceiling fans on your porch or some outdoor fans on your backyard deck will keep they off you almost completely.
Not only does the breeze keep them from being able to fly up and bite you it also keeps you from sweating as much which avoids that appetizing smell they love.
9. Go Up High
According to The American Mosquito Control Association (yes, it’s really a thing!) mosquitos are such weak fliers that they won’t even venture flying much higher than 25 feet off the ground.
If you’ve got a three-story house you might be able to avoid these buggers completely by hanging out up on the top story and you can avoid the sprays and everything else.
10. Electrocute Them
For Father’s Day a few years ago my wife got me an amazing electrical tennis racket looking toy called The Executioner that will electrocute any bug it comes in contact with.
All I have to do is push a little button and touch any fly, mosquito, wasp, moth, or whatever and they pop like popcorn and disappear. It’s much easier than using a flyswatter because all it has to do is touch them and they die. It’s mean, but very effective and satisfying.
11. Spray The Yard
If you really need a yard that is free of mosquitos (and all other bugs) there is always the nuclear option of spray’s like Cutter Backyard Bug Control.
This is not an option that I would take likely because it Literally kills everything in your backyard for about two weeks. That includes helpful bugs like ladybugs, bees, and butterflies. It’s scorched earth, but it truly does do what it says and it gives you a bug free backyard with one treatment for a least a couple weeks or longer if there isn’t much rain afterwards.
12. Go Deet or Go Home
I know it’s trite, but old fashioned bug spray that contain deet are some of the most effective at repelling mosquitos. Sprays like Ben’s Insect Repellent have a formula that prevents the deet from being absorbed into your skin if you’re concerned about that.
Yes, it is a chemical and no, it’s not natural, but yes, it does work effectively. If you want natural options look at the essential oils above, if you want old school tried and true check out Ben’s.
Mosquitos are more than annoying. Their bites can pose a health risk, and the itchy welts they leave behind can ruin the fun of a night spent outside.
Whether you go with natural or old school options you’ve got 12 great options to help you get rid of mosquitos. So plant that herb garden, clear those puddles, and grab a beer to enjoy the outdoors mosquito-free.
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.