Garden items that repel mosquitoes

The smell of citronella candles can bring back memories of family barbecues and warm summer nights. Unfortunately, in terms of protecting against pesky bugs, smelling good and nostalgic is really all they do.

According to a study published in the Journal of Vector Ecology, although citronella in essential oil form may deter insects, citronella candles do not contain enough active ingredients to prevent mosquitoes from taking up residence in your space. personal. Additionally, the study found that candles generally release their active ingredients vertically from the flame, minimizing the area that these active ingredients can reach. (Diffusers, on the other hand, continuously release active ingredients horizontally, covering more of the room or area. But more on that below.)

If insects in your garden are disturbing your ambiance, you’re probably looking for simple and effective ways to keep them at bay. Although you may be tempted to shower your garden with chemicals, LJ Brubaker, a volunteer entomology research assistant at Drexel University’s Ward Lab in Philadelphia, says chemical treatments often do more harm than good.

“I wouldn’t recommend any type of insecticidal treatment because they’re not effective for just one species,” Brubaker told HuffPost. “They will impact other plants, animals and insects that you want and need have around.

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, electrical, ultrasonic, and/or other “bug traps” or zapping devices generally have the same result. While these devices can kill some mosquitoes, they’re often harmful to the “non-pest” insects and animals you want, like songbirds. Additionally, many marketed “mosquito traps” often require a great deal of installation and maintenance, leaving room for human error to make them far less effective.

But don’t be dismayed! While citronella candles and chemical spreads might not do the trick this summer, we’ve rounded up a bunch of scientifically proven garden supplies to protect you from insects.

HuffPost may receive a share of purchases made through links on this page. Each item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

A versatile mosquito net

According to Brubaker, a physical barrier like a mosquito net or tent is the most effective way to keep mosquitoes away. Yet, they warn, not all nets are created equal.

“You’ll want to get one with a stronger mesh that will stand up to wear and tear,” they said. “Durability is important. Your screen is only effective if it’s not full of tears.”

This is a versatile rectangular mosquito net that can be used indoors, outdoors and with motorhomes and mobile homes. It comes with a hanging kit to install it over a tub, food table, truck bed, or any other location. Reviewers say they use it on their porch, over their bed, and for their minivan while camping.

An enveloping mosquito net for outdoor umbrellas

If you like to eat out or spend long sunny afternoons under your umbrella, this wraparound mosquito net with a weighted bottom hem may be just what you need. It’s adjustable to fit most sizes of outdoor umbrellas, with a zippered door to protect you from bugs.

A freestanding mosquito tent

If you have a large yard, enjoy camping, or simply don’t have a porch or deck to hang a net, you may prefer a freestanding screen awning. It works to both block the sun and create a physical barrier against insects when you’re outdoors. This is available in three sizes.

External diffusers of essential oils containing geraniol and linalool

Lemongrass might be the big name in the bug-killer game, but a 2009 study found that geraniol and linalool – two different compounds found in a bunch of essential oils and plants and herbs aromatic – are actually much more effective at repelling insects. Additionally, the same study found that air fresheners were significantly more effective at protecting against insects than candles, both indoors and outdoors. (If you’re a big nerd like me, you can read the full study, which explains how compounds react to direct heat and why diffusion is more efficient than burning.)

You can find geraniol and linalool in rose oil, lemongrass, basil, and lavender, among other natural scents. According to Brubaker, having an outdoor essential oil diffuser with some of these scents can deter flying insects.

“All smells are just chemicals,” Brubaker said. “When we smell something like rotten food, it tells us, ‘No, don’t go there,’ but that same chemical attracts a fly to the rotten food. There are smells that we feel as good as when an insect feels it says ‘No thanks’.”

The Skeeter Patio Egg is an outdoor diffuser that comes with its own lemongrass and geraniol oil concentrate, not to mention a super cute macrame hanger. When the concentrate runs out, you can refill it, keeping the egg for many summers to come.

Lemon eucalyptus oil distilled in water

According to a 2013 study on the effectiveness of low-cost insect repellents, para-menthane-diol (PMD), a biochemical pesticide found in lemon eucalyptus leaves, provides insect protection comparable to DEET. A field study in Guatemala showed that PMD provided 98% protection for 5 hours against 13 species of mosquitoes, compared to 92% protection with DEET. And according to the CDC’s Yellow Book for Health During International Travel, PMD is the only herbal insect repellent suggested for use in areas with high rates of mosquito-borne diseases.

The insect repellent qualities of Lemon Eucalyptus in essential oil form aren’t as proven as the pure PMD form, and its repellent effects won’t last as long, but the oil is much easier to buy for your home. . To get the most out of it, know that a 2011 study from the National Institute of Health concluded that lemon eucalyptus oils are most effective when distilled in water and spread over a large area. Brubaker suggested diluting lemon eucalyptus essential oils in water and spraying them around your outdoor space.

A wood-burning fireplace

Smoke has long been associated with keeping insects at bay. A field study in Papua New Guinea found that burning specific plants and woods like wild ginger and coconut husks provided additional protection against insects. However, according to the study, most natural wood smoke (such as firewood from your local grocery store) will help protect against insects.

This is a collapsible and portable wood burning fire pit that is perfect for camp cooking, backyard parties or just keeping bugs away. It comes with a carrying case, screen cover, poker and log grate.

Mosquito Dunks for Standing Water

Brubaker said another effective way to reduce mosquitoes in your garden is to treat spots of standing water, like an old flowerpot that has started to collect rainwater or a birdbath that doesn’t. is not changed regularly.

“Mosquitoes breed in small to medium-sized areas of standing water; their larval stage is in water,” Brubaker said. “If mosquitoes are able to breed near your home, it will be harder to deter them.”

The Mosquito and Wetland Control District of Northeastern Massachusetts suggests using Mosquito Dunks, a larvicide you can put in standing water that prevents future mosquito breeding, but is nontoxic. for other plants and animals. They discovered that using a half or even a quarter disk has the same effect as using a whole one.

A pack of 2 yellow GE “bug lights”

According to the American Mosquito Control Association, it may also be helpful to swap out your patio or outdoor light bulbs for General Electric’s yellow “bug lights.” Unlike other incandescent lights, these yellow bulbs do not attract mosquitoes.

A large outdoor fan

If you get bug bites in all sorts of places, you might be surprised to learn that, according to the AMCA, mosquitoes don’t really fly very well. In fact, they suggest placing a large fan on your deck, patio, or yard to keep you cool and prevent mosquitoes from approaching you.

This 3-speed high-speed fan works both indoors and outdoors. It has a floor stand so you can easily stick it to your deck or patio, and it’s available in three sizes.


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