What Are the Best Plants to Keep Mosquitoes Away?
In order to find hosts to feed on, mosquitoes rely on their scents. Specifically, they are attracted to body odor and human breath. Any strong fragrances, then, work as a natural deterrent to mosquitoes by masking their sense of smell. There are a few plants and herbs that may help keep mosquitoes away, but only when the leaves or stems are crushed to reach the oils within.
While plants may somewhat deter mosquitoes, it’s important to focus on more reliable forms of mosquito prevention. This is best achieved by getting the opinion of or working with a professional mosquito exterminator.
What Plants Repel Mosquitoes?
It’s important to note that it is typically the oils from plants that work to repel mosquitoes, not the plants themselves. However, it’s still wise to plant a garden with various plants and herbs that can aid in creating mosquito repellents right at home. Common mosquito-repelling plants include:
- Citronella. Often marketed as “mosquito plants” in big-box stores, this leafy plant is simply a geranium variety. Citronella grass, on the other hand, is most useful for extracting citronella oil.
- Lavender. As one of the most fragrant plants, lavender oil can help deter a mosquito by blocking its sense of smell.
- Marigolds. Both easy to grow and beautiful, marigolds emit a scent that also helps to deter mosquitoes. They also prevent aphids, whiteflies, and other garden pests.
- Basil, rosemary, and thyme. These fragrant herbs are just that: fragrant! Similar to other plants, the scents of these keep pests and mosquitoes at bay.
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Do All Mosquitoes Feed on Blood?
No, not all mosquitoes feed on blood. In fact, only female mosquitoes feed on blood! For both male and female mosquitoes, nectar is the main source of sustenance. Male mosquitoes in particular feed only on nectar, plant sap, and honeydew. The reason why females feed on blood is that they need to do so in order to reproduce. The nutrients found in our blood are necessary for the development of mosquito eggs. However, for the most part, mosquitoes feed on nectar from plants found right in your garden.
Scents to Keep Mosquitoes Away
Mosquitoes rely on their sense of smell. Female mosquitoes use their keen sense of smell to locate carbon dioxide, which is breathed out by people nearby. Plants, citronella candles, and other scents can help to keep mosquitoes away from your home or garden in the North and East Bay. However, wearing strong perfumes can attract mosquitoes toward you.