Are you worried about your kids getting bitten by mosquitoes? Perhaps you’re pregnant and you don’t want to risk a nasty mosquito-borne disease yourself. Here are the best tips to get rid of mosquitoes naturally from your backyard so the whole family can enjoy being outside.
Whether you want to barbecue or you’re just playing with the kids outdoors, it’s easy to keep those mosquitoes away if you plan ahead and create the perfect mosquito repelling environment.
When you’re in the yard you can’t just close the door and keep the insects away. You want to know the best strategies to repel and remove the insects and how to use home remedies to achieve this.
I like to start with herbs since we grow them in the garden and the ones that repel mosquitoes are actually quite easy to keep alive. By using herbs we also have the added benefit of being able to eat them in dinners, salads, dressings, marinades and so much more.
How to Use Herbs to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Naturally in Your Yard
First, focus on the places where you usually sit in the yard. Do you have an outdoor dining set where you like to enjoy a meal or have a drink during the summer months?
When you’re not moving around much, mosquitoes love to target you. This is when you really need to learn how to get rid of mosquitoes naturally.
Where you sit in the yard or on a deck:
- Plant a border of mosquito repelling herbs around where you sit e.g. rosemary (and let it grow tall)
- On a deck, plant containers of mosquito repelling herbs around your outdoor furniture e.g. mint or peppermint
- On an outdoor table, place a smaller container of potted insect repelling herbs as a centerpiece e.g. basil
- Keep a homemade remedy of mosquito repelling herb water in a spray bottle near where you’re sitting
If you’re trying to get rid of mosquitoes naturally from the area where your kids play in the yard, use the following strategy.
Where your kids play in the yard:
- Cut the grass regularly to deter mosquitoes from sheltering in long grass
- Plant a border of mosquito repelling herbs around the play area
- Plant clumps of herbs in garden bed areas that are easy for the kids to access (no sharp edges defining the garden bed)
- Encourage your kids to know which plants (herbs) are safe to touch in the garden and to agitate the herbs while they’re playing to encourage the scent of the herb to be emitted to deter mosquitoes
- Teach your kids to identify a herb like Mint and pick the leaves and run them on their skin to deter mosquitoes (we do this all the time when we’re outside and the scent is beautiful)
6 Best Herbs to Repel Mosquitoes
In my yard I only grow mosquito repelling plants that have a nice scent. We also eat all the herbs we grow. Our favorite herbs to get rid of mosquitoes naturally in the yard (as voted by my kids) include:
- Mint and Peppermint (great for rubbing on your skin to warn off mosquitoes)
- Lemon Balm (closely related to mint and it has a divine scent – see picture on the right)
- Rosemary (we also use a lot in recipes)
- Basil (we also use in salads and marinades)
- Lemon Grass (great used in Asian cooking or as a tea)
- Sage (perfect to put on the grill while you’re barbecuing to keep mosquitoes away, add Rosemary too)
6 Best Plants to Discourage Mosquitoes
To get rid of mosquitoes naturally I prefer to use herbs because they have the dual purpose of being edible. However, these are some of the other plants that can help in your yard. We use several of them in addition to the herbs.
- Catnip (very effective against mosquitoes and your cat will love it, but we don’t use it because it tends to attract too many cats!)
- Geraniums (especially the ones where the leaves have a lemon scent)
- Pennyroyal (very effective but we don’t plant this in our yard because it is toxic for dogs)
Why We Plant Basil from Seed Every Spring
Most types of Basil die off during the winter. But we love having lots of Basil in the garden beds and in containers on the deck. This is why we plant so much Basil from seed each Spring, so we’re ready for Summer outdoor living. If you’re trying to get rid of mosquitoes naturally, you definitely should consider using Basil. It’s one of the best.
Basil is perfect for discouraging mosquitoes because it works effectively even if you don’t agitate the scent to be released from the plant. You can keep Basil plants near you and they are very good at keeping the mosquitoes away.
You can buy Basil as plants ready to go. This is what we used to do and it worked well. It was only once I realized how well it works that I started helping my kids to plant lots of Basil seeds at the right time of the year.
What if you don’t have a green thumb?
Basil grows very easily in small or large containers. If you want to get rid of mosquitoes naturally using herbs then start with Basil. Second I’d use Mint and next Rosemary. These are all easy to grow.
Just be careful with Mint because it grows so well. If you don’t keep it in check it’ll take over your lawn. Grow Mint in a container or keep it contained in a garden bed with a defined edge to stop it spreading to your lawn.
When I first tried growing Basil from seed I made the mistake of planting the seeds too deep in the potting mix. Be sure to read the instructions on the seed packet and don’t plant too deep!
If you can keep the containers warm in a green house you’ll find the seeds germinate faster than the expected time stated on the packet. But even if you don’t have a green house, as long as you’re planting in Spring, your Basil should grow from seed easily.
Growing Basil from seed is a fun project to do with kids. So get the whole family involved and benefit from the results (you’ll also have lots of Basil for making pesto!)
Natural Bug Spray
This is effective against mosquitoes but you shouldn’t spray it on your skin. It’s only to be used on the deck or around the yard.
I prefer to use a simple natural bug spray to get rid of mosquitoes naturally.
I use 4 drops of peppermint oil in about a cup of water in a spray bottle.
This type of natural bug spray is more gentle and can be used on your skin. I like to use this on my kids.
The quick and simple way to make this natural bug spray is with a good quality essential oil of peppermint like this one (click here to see more). However, you can also make the spray from your own mint leaves grown in the garden.
This is how I make natural bug spray with mint leaves:
- pick the mint leaves and place them on a plate to dry
- place about 2 spoons of dried mint leaves in a pot of 2 cups water
- boil the mint leaves (you can add lavender too if you desire)
- let the water cool with the lid on for about 2 hours
- place the mint water in a spray bottle ready for use
Next time you’re swatting at mosquitoes in your yard and you’re wondering how to get rid of mosquitoes naturally, think of herbs and plants. Not only are these fun to grow and educational for your kids but you’ll save yourself and your family from all the chemicals in commercial bug spray.
By keeping it natural you’ll be happy about your kids’ health. I always used to hesitate before spraying on bug spray and then I’d wonder whether it was worth letting the kids outside in the late afternoon when the mosquitoes are at their worst.
By incorporating mosquito repelling herbs and plants in our garden I feel much happier about spending time outdoors in Summer.
When we barbecue we put a sprig of Rosemary on the grill and sometimes add some Sage too. The aroma is delicious.
Beyond the Backyard
It’s easy to rub mint leaves on our arms and legs when we’re in the yard but when we’re out and about elsewhere it can be difficult to take a bottle of natural spray with us.
That’s why I also buy these mosquito bands that use natural citronella and lemongrass oils to get rid of mosquitoes naturally. They are easy to wear around the wrist and ankle. My kids love wearing them too. They like the smell. The smell is not too overwhelming which is good.
✅ Click Here to see the current price on these natural Mosquito Bands
Just a tip when you’re using these bands, you’ll get many more hours out of them if you seal them up again in the ziplock bag when they’re not in use. That way you lock in the mosquito repelling aroma and make sure they stay effective.
They say they’re waterproof. Sure the band is waterproof, but I think if you get them wet they don’t last as long. The water seems to wash the scent off the band.
I tell my kids not to get them wet. It still happens but at least they take them off if they’re going to be fully immersed.
These mosquito bands are a very cost efficient way to naturally deter mosquitoes when you’re away from home. We wear them hiking, going to summer parties, at outdoor events, and even if we know we’ll have to park a long way from where we’re going and it’s late in the afternoon when the mosquitoes will be prevalent.
They really are handy. You can keep a packet in the car or in your bag ready to go. My kids are really good at getting them out of the cupboard at home and putting them on themselves before we go out.
I do recommend putting one on your wrist AND ankle because the scent doesn’t carry too far.