How To Repel Mosquitoes & Keep Them Away

  • Written By Dan Edwards on May 17, 2018
    Last Updated: December 10, 2020

Mosquitoes are very frustrating pests. Not only do they cause irritating bites, but in some cases can also transmit nasty diseases. Keeping mosquitoes away can be difficult, especially in the warmer months.

We are here to help you try and keep the mosquitoes at bay. There are a number of different ways you can protect yourself and your home from these pests. We have outlined below some natural and chemical methods of pest control that you might want to try.

What Is It That Attracts Mosquitoes to People?

There are a number of different factors that attract mosquitoes to people. Some people are also more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Here are some common reasons that mosquitoes find humans so attractive.

The majority of these factors are natural and unchangeable. So, mosquitoes will almost always inevitably be attracted to humans. With that in mind, we can only acknowledge and understand why they bite us and then take certain measures to try and keep them away.

Carbon Dioxide

The scent of carbon dioxide is particularly attractive to mosquitoes. As humans, we exhale quite a bit of the stuff, along with a few other gasses. The unique combination of chemicals that we exhale lets mosquitoes know that there are humans around.

The amount of CO2 that you exhale can also make you more or less attractive to a hungry mosquito. Those of a larger build, as well as pregnant women, tend to secrete more than small children, for example. As a result of this, larger adults and pregnant women are more likely to be bitten than small children.


As we are warm-blooded, mosquitoes can easily determine where to target us. They are looking for warmer blood and blood that is closer to the surface of the skin. When we get too hot, our veins move closer to the surface of the skin to help keep us cool.

mosquito bite on hand

Veins close to the surface makes easy access for bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The most common areas of our body where veins may be closer to the surface include elbows, neck, forehead and wrists.

Body Odor

A study at the University of California has shown that a number of different odors released by humans can attract mosquitoes. These can include a number of things such as uric acids, ammonia and lactic acid.

Bacteria on the body also releases different odors that a mosquito will be attracted to.  Bacteria combined with sweat creates body odor and this is another reason that draws these pesky bugs to bite us. This can be prevented by frequently washing to avoid any body odor smells.

Other Factors

In addition to the factors mentioned above, there are a number of other factors that make us attractive to mosquitoes. Our blood type is said to determine how attractive we are to mosquitoes. Humans who are blood Type O are the most attractive, and blood Type A are the least attractive.

mosquito mouthpiece

What you are wearing can also make you more or less attractive to mosquitoes. If you are wearing dark clothes you are more likely to stand out against the horizon. Thus, making it easier for the mosquitoes to see you.

Lactic acid can also be particularly attractive to mosquitoes. They are more likely to bite humans with a larger buildup of lactic acid. With that in mind, make sure to exercise indoors during the summer months and then shower immediately afterwards to prevent bites.

Speaking of showering, mosquitoes can also be attracted to perfumed and scented body products. This is another factor to consider, especially during summer. Perhaps switch to less powerfully scented body products to help protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Best Ways to Repel Mosquitoes & Keep Them Away

We know that mosquitoes can be very annoying during the warmer months. However, considering the reasons why mosquitoes bite us, there is not much we can do to change our genetic makeup. We can not change our blood type or the scents we release to keep them away.

There are a number of different methods you can try to keep the mosquitoes away. Some methods are more natural based for those interested in steering clear of harmful chemicals. However, in more extreme cases, where there is a higher population of mosquitoes, a chemical repellent is a much more effective solution.

In most instances, it is easier to take measures to protect yourself from mosquitoes than trying and kill them. No matter how many mosquitoes you manage to kill, they will always manage to sustain their population eventually. There are so many great options, that are also natural and chemical free, to help keep these pesky bugs away from you, besides the regular mosquito traps.

Natural Repellents

There are a number of natural plants and herbs that will help to deter mosquitoes. These plants can be used in a variety of different ways. Some are more effective than others at repelling mosquitoes.

Cut off the Source

Before you start investing in extra repellents, first do a thorough search of your garden to see where mosquitoes may be coming from. Mosquitoes live and breed in and around water, especially stagnant water.

mosquito larvae in water
Mosquito larvae positioned in standing water

If you have containers in your garden that are holding old water, clear them out and dry them. Empty plant pots, toys, bottle tops or anything that can collect water will make the perfect breeding ground. Search for and eliminate any potential breeding areas around your garden to keep the population of mosquitoes at bay.

To do a more thorough check for possible breeding locations, you could also get a professional exterminator involved. An exterminator will check areas like gutters that can become comfortable incubators for these pests to lay their eggs.


Plants are a great way to keep mosquitoes at bay in your garden at home. If you enjoy sitting outside in the summer there is a small selection of plants that can repel mosquitoes. Some can even help keep their population down.

Basil is great if you have a water feature or a pond in your garden. Mosquitoes lay their eggs on water, so a pond or water feature may be a breeding ground for these pests. Planting plenty of basil around the pond can be toxic for mosquito eggs.

The basil will help lower the number of eggs that survive, which in turn should keep the population of mosquitoes down in your garden, too. Plus, basil is a handy herb to have in the garden for cooking.

Other mosquito-repelling plants work to ward off mosquitoes through smell. Plants that have a strong scent can confuse these pests, making it harder for them to smell humans. However, not all strong smelling plants will work.

Some great plants that will help to repel mosquitoes include rosemary, mint, catnip, marigolds and lavender. If you decide to invest in these plants for your home and garden, you must consider one thing—how effective these plants are at repelling mosquitoes is based on proximity.

lavender mosquito coil
A lavender mosquito coil

Make sure the plants are positioned close to where you will be sitting. This method is not effective if the plants are the other side of the garden from you.  Placing a variety of different plants in small pots around your seating area is a great option for better protection.

Natural Sprays or Lotions

There are a number of natural sprays available on the market that can help keep mosquitoes away. You can even make your own easily at home if you have some of the plants mentioned above. Lavender and rosemary work particularly well for making your own repellent spray at home.

The majority of natural mosquito repellent sprays are formulated from a variety of essential oils. These oils will all be from plants that mosquitoes find repulsive. Using a natural repellent spray is a great option if you are hoping to avoid using chemicals.

Chemical sprays can be toxic if used regularly and over a long period of time. With that in mind, a more natural repellent is the best choice. Especially if you are looking to keep mosquitoes away from small children as well.

mosquito spray for children

Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle of your insect repellent to get the optimal protection. The bottle will tell you how often to reapply your spray or lotion to get the best protection possible. Repellents of this type are only effective when re-applied regularly.

Burn Baby Burn

There are a number of things you can burn to keep mosquitoes away, too. If you are having a BBQ or a bonfire, burning bunches of rosemary can be a great deterrent. There are also some great incense products on the market that release a repelling smoke into the atmosphere.

Burning incense containing eucalyptus, cloves or citronella are some examples. This will not only release a nice smell, but will keep the mosquitoes away. You can also use oil diffusers to burn the same scent of essential oils as listed above.  

Candles and lanterns can create a nice atmosphere at your outdoor gathering and repel mosquitoes at the same time. Burning candles with citronella oil or wax that has geraniol in it will work wonders to keep these bugs away. Lanterns and candles can only repel up to an area of 15 square inches, so consider where you place them for the best coverage.

Dress for Success

Another easy way to keep yourself protected from mosquitoes is to keep your skin covered. In the summer months when the weather is hotter, we tend to wear less to keep cool. However, having more skin on show is like an open buffet for mosquitoes.

Opt for light cotton or linen clothing to keep you cool while covering more skin. Especially in the evenings, wearing long trousers or longer sleeves will keep more skin protected from bites. Mosquito nets can also be very effective in bedrooms and tents, etc.

mosquito net on bed

Bacteria, sweat and heat make our feet a prime target for mosquitoes. Wear closed shoes, some cotton socks or apply extra repellent to your feet to keep them protected.

Chemical Repellents

There are a huge number of chemical-based mosquito repellents on the market. They come in both sprays and lotions. These work very well to keep the mosquitoes away but need to be reapplied regularly to have the best effect.

You may also want to consider a broadcast treatment. This is where a chemical is sprayed around the garden and entryways of the house. These sprays only work temporarily to kill the mosquitoes in the area and can be harmful to your health if done regularly.

These broadcast treatments are designed for large open areas and should never be carried out indoors. Once the treatment has been applied, refrain from touching any areas that have been sprayed with the chemical. This kind of repellent is best for creating a perimeter barrier to keep mosquitoes out.


A mosquito larvicide can also be used if you live near areas where you cannot control the collection of water. Troughs and ponds can be treated with larvicide. This chemical works to kill the mosquito larvae that may be on the body of water.

By targeting the larvae, you will reduce the number of mosquitoes that survive and become blood-sucking adults. Some will prevent the larva from growing and others will prevent the larva from eating, thus preventing growth.  

Be very careful to read the product label before using larvicides. Make sure you are using the correct one for the body of water you are treating.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping mosquitoes away, there are a number of measures that you can take. We recommend making sure any potential breeding grounds in or around your garden are taken care of. Then, growing mosquito repelling plants in your garden will help to keep you more protected.

There are chemical procedures that are effective at wiping out large numbers of mosquitoes. However, with that said, it is cheaper and easier to take certain measures to protect yourself from them instead of trying to kill them. Covering up your skin and applying mosquito repellent regularly works well to stop these bugs from biting you.