Look, mosquitoes are awful. They fly around searching for animals or people, to take a bite and suck out their blood. Gross. They may be great food for birds and bats, but you don’t want them hanging around your backyard with their diseases and viruses and whatnot (trust us, mosquito-borne diseases like west nile virus, malaria, or zika don't sound like health issues that we want to explore personally). You also don’t want to spray yourself in harsh chemical mosquito repellents that could themselves be the source of other health issues. So, aside from making your outdoor living areas less friendly to the eggs by getting rid of any standing water (including the water in clogged rain gutters), what are your best option for repelling these bugs, and keeping yourself free from disease?
It turns out that mosquitoes, along with many insects that bite, are attracted to certain odors in human skin. They’re especially attracted to your body odor and other secretions, meaning that if you’re spending a lot of time running around and sweating, or working hard in your garden at the end of the day, you can expect to have more mosquitos following you around.
Alternately certain strong—or unpleasant to the insect—smells can both hide the scent of people and prevent them from getting close enough to bite you. This is why deet sprays and citronella candles sell like hotcakes in the summer. There are several plants with strong scents that we find pleasant, which you can use to help mask your own smell and keep nearby mosquitoes populations under control. The aroma needs to be in the air around you, at the very least, and ideally on your skin.
To get the maximum effect of these natural mosquito repellents, crush herb leaves in your hands to release their perfume and essential oils, and then rub the leaves and their oils over your skin. By including these 8 plants in your garden, you can reduce your dependance on deet sprays and high chemical citronella candles.
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