It goes without saying that mosquitoes are some of the most annoying pests during the summer months.

Aside from their creepy appearance and the irritatingly itchy bites they leave, mosquitoes in Maryland are also known to carry a number of diseases that can be dangerous to humans, including malaria, West Nile virus, and Zika.

Unfortunately, mosquitoes can be some of the most difficult pests to defend against. Even by practicing a few common prevention tips, homeowners who live near ponds, streams, lakes, or neighbors who don’t care for their properties are often hard-pressed to find a solution.

While many natural mosquito repellents exist, do they really work? And what is an actual long-term solution to prevent mosquitoes naturally?

Although the following do help, remember that the only way to truly resolve mosquitoes is through professional pest services.

Natural Mosquito Repellent Alternatives

Organic is all the rage today, especially as many people become aware of the environmental impact that chemicals have.

While we offer organic insecticides and barriers for many pests, many natural products fail to get rid of mosquitoes in your yard for long-term relief.

Below is a list of four popular natural repellents, which we’ll discuss to see whether they really work.

1. Citronella Candles

Citronella has long been used to repel mosquitoes, as this powerful scent masks the scent of things mosquitoes are known to like. Of the five natural products on this list, citronella does offer the best relief inside a confined and small area. However, citronella is only effective when the scent or oil is released. Therefore, plants are largely ineffective, though candles and essential oils offer some relief.

With that said, citronella should never be viewed as anything more than a temporary solution, akin to the efficacy of most over-the-counter bug sprays.

2. Mosquito-Repellent Plants

Many people are under the impression that garden plants such as lavender or citronella will offer relief against mosquito infestations, but that is wrong. The problem is that the scent of these plants is not concentrated enough to ward off mosquitoes, rendering them largely ineffective.

3. Essential Oils

Many essential oils, such as lavender eucalyptus, cinnamon, and lavender oil, may relieve mosquitoes when misted through the air or applied to the skin, but these are only short-term solutions. First, a diffuser can only repel mosquitoes for a very short area, leaving the rest of your yard unprotected. Secondly, essential oils require carrier oils for topical application and are often no more effective or safer than conventional bug sprays.

4. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a popular organic alternative to many insecticides; however, it largely falls short of treating mosquitoes. Since neem oil is mostly used for spot treatment, it’s largely ineffective against flying pests, such as mosquitoes and gnats.

Why Natural Mosquito Repellents Don’t Work

Many natural mosquito repellents promise to deter mosquitoes naturally. However, the problem with using essential oils or bug sprays is that they only offer temporary relief for you and not your property at large.

In many cases, removing the root cause of mosquitoes–standing water–may yield permanent results, but if you cannot remove standing water outside your property that is still drawing mosquitoes, what options do you have?

DEET and Picaridin Safety Concerns

DEET is the active ingredient in many mosquito repellent products, but there has been some discourse over the years regarding whether or not bug sprays containing DEET are safe to use. The United States Environmental Protection Agency declared in 2014 that there are no known risk factors of using DEET to the health of humans, non-target species, or the environment.

Picaridin, another chemical compound that is also used to repel mosquitoes, has not been as closely studied as DEET. Still, the EPA has stated that normal use of this product does not present a health concern to humans.

However, bug sprays may not be the safest route for parents worried about their family’s exposure to synthetic chemicals. Compared to a yard spray offering a long-lasting barrier, the tradeoff becomes whether you want to repel pests by exposing yourself directly to a synthetic insecticide.

Professional Yard Sprays and Larvicides Are the Only Long-Lasting Solution

When tallied up, mosquito yard sprays and larvicides are the only two options that offer long-lasting relief against mosquitoes across the entire barrier of your property.

Yard sprays contain a powerful synthetic chemical called pyrethroids, which mimic the properties of pyrethrins extracted from chrysanthemums. The benefit of these sprays is that they can be applied safely by a professional across the barrier of your yard one time and provide protection for weeks. While an hour or so may be required for the spray to settle, you and your family will be able to safely play and hang out in your yard after this one-time application.

For homeowners looking for a safer solution, Pest Czar is one of the only pest control companies in the nation that offer In2Care Stations–a larvicide that targets mosquito larvae for long-lasting relief. While results do take some time, you will notice a significant reduction in mosquitoes over the course of a month and throughout the warmer months.

How to Prevent Mosquitoes Naturally

Understanding what attracts mosquitoes to your yard is the first step in prevention.

While many natural repellents fall short of offering sustained relief, you can still get rid of mosquitoes naturally by doing whatever you can to eliminate standing water, such as:

  • Dumping bird baths
  • Cleaning out clogged gutters
  • Removing tired or any large debris
  • Treating pools with chlorine

Mosquito netting and outdoor fans may provide temporary relief, as well as wearing long-sleeves outdoors.

However, the only proven way to get rid of mosquitoes is to call a professional who offers yard sprays or larvicides.


Do natural mosquito repellents really work?

While some natural mosquito repellents may offer temporary relief, you cannot eliminate mosquitoes entirely without the help of a professional exterminator.

How do I prevent mosquitoes indoors?

When it comes to preventing mosquitoes from making their way inside your home, you must keep your doors closed during the summer months. You should also inspect the screens on your windows and doors for any holes or tears at the start of the season, as this can allow these pests to fly in. Using an air conditioner during the summer instead of opening the windows can also prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.