The Best Ways to Repel or Kill Mosquitos

Some places in Canada claim the mosquito is their national bird! They’re big and plentiful in these parts, always waiting to turn our outdoor events into a bloody feast and days of itchy misery. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’re known carriers of several diseases.

How to Repel Mosquitos

Most people know the basics of preventing mosquitos, such as removing standing water. We also know wearing loose clothing can prevent bites. And of course, bug sprays containing DEET are a standard line of defense that works well, but it is a chemical and has an overpowering scent.

What other options do we have to prevent and repel mosquitos? Is there anything new?


Some plants contain essential oils that repel or kill mosquitos or their larvae, and scientists are evaluating their effectiveness. For example, scientists have identified Ligusticumsinense hexane/sinense extract as the most potent natural, plant-based mosquito repellent of all those studied thus far.

Bottle of Citronella extract

Once considered “old wives tales,” many of the most promising plant-based solutions have been relatively well-known and commonly used for years, such as:

  • Throw some dried sage and/or rosemary on the fire to repel mosquitos.
  • Lemongrass is a natural source of mosquito repellent (citronella). Plant it where it will be walked upon frequently to release the oils, or dry some and throw it on the fire.
  • The essential oils in basil and peppermint can kill mosquito larvae, so hungry females avoid it.
  • Catnip essential oil is a powerful, deadly insecticide. Growing it or using it in personal mosquito repellent recipes comes with the love and devotion of cats, however. Grow it indoors and only use it as a personal repellent if you want lots of attention from nearby cats.

The list of scientifically proven, natural insect repellents is actually much longer than I expected.

“The highest repellency effect was identified from Ligusticum sinense extract, followed by citronella, pine, Dalbergia sissoo, peppermint and Rhizophora mucronata oils with complete protection time ranging from 9.1 to 11.5 h,” states Effectiveness of Plant-based Repellents Against Different Anopheles Species [Mosquitos]: a Systematic Review. “Furthermore, essential oils from plants such as lavender, camphor, catnip, geranium, jasmine, broad-leaved eucalyptus, lemongrass, lemon-scented eucalyptus, amyris, narrow-leaved eucalyptus, carotin, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon oil, juniper, cajeput, soya bean, rosemary, niaouli, olive, tagetes, violet, sandalwood, litsea, galbanum, and Curcuma longa also showed good repellency with 8 h complete repellency against different species of Anopheles.”

You’ll find recipes for homemade mosquito repellents online, but effectiveness can vary widely. Bob Vila has 5 recipes for natural mosquito repellent if you’d like to check them out.

Notes of Caution:

  • “Natural” ingredients aren’t automatically safe for humans, children or pets. Consult with your doctor or veterinarian before using any insect repellent on adults, children, or pets. Read 30 Essential Oils That May Not Be Safe For Pets for guidance.
  • Keep all essential oils and other insect repellents or insecticides out of reach of children & pets.
  • Only use high-quality essential oils. If the price is too low, the quality probably is too.

Mosquito Repelling Devices

[DISCLOSURE: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website.]

There are a few products and devices on the market for repelling mosquitos that accomplish the task in a variety of ways.

Ultrasonic pest repellers work by using ultrasonic frequencies and are said to repel a wide variety of pests, including mosquitos, such as the Senqiao Ultrasonic Pest Repeller.

Some products repel mosquitos by releasing repellent into the air so you don’t have to put it directly on your body if you don’t want to. Mosquito coils & citronella candles are well-known examples, but you can also purchase clever devices like the Thermacell Patio Shield Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller.

How to Kill Mosquitos

If you’re out to kill, there are several very effective options.

Zappers can be electric or solar powered. In short, they attract and electrocute flying insects. A popular example is the Endbug Bug Zapper with LED Light. If you like swatting or require more functional portability, try the Florarich Electric Fly Swatter & Bug Trap.

Mosquito life cycle

You can kill mosquitos in the larvae stage with water products like Mosquito Dunk (which can also be used for some soil pests). If you’re treating a pond with fish in it, verify that it’s safe for fish before using. While one could assume all water treatments would be safe for them, it isn’t necessarily the case. You probably won’t need it anyway, since fish love to devour larvae and it’s very good for them.

Mosquitos are one of the unfortunate parts of summer in Canada, but you don’t have to be a victim of these mini vampires. Try the above suggestions for a bite-free summer!

Do you have any tricks you use to keep mosquitos away? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.

Related Reading

Clever Recipe Substitutions and Switches for Healthier Summer Eating

6 Easy Berry Bushes for Your Canadian Garden


©  Content on this website may not be used elsewhere without expressed permission. Thank you for respecting the effort that we have put into our original content.

DISCLOSURE: We may receive compensation for links to products on this website. We are participants in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments