An Herb a Day Keeps Mosquitoes Away

green leavesThe American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) wants you to know this is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.

You are aware of mosquitoes, aren’t you?

That’s what I thought!

Mosquitoes are certainly annoying, but they can also spread West Nile virus. That’s why it’s important for gardeners to do all they can to control these insect pests.

“Over the last few years, the U.S. has had increased cases of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the West Nile Virus and other exotic diseases such as dengue fever and Chikungunya threaten our shores,” says AMCA Technical Advisor Joe Conlon. “To ensure the safety of family, friends and pets, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re taking the proper steps: first, reducing mosquito breeding through water management and source reduction, and second, reducing adult
mosquito populations.”

The AMCA says one of the easiest and most crucial thing to do is to remove any standing water around your property. Empty pots, tarps, tools and trash cans of any water that has collected as they are all breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

If a mosquito problem already exists, AMCA recommends controlling adult mosquitoes through mosquito traps, space sprays and vegetation management.

Another way to drive mosquitoes away is by planting some of the strongest-smelling herbs.

Although unproven by rigorous scientific research, gardeners have devised a list of herbs that mosquitoes seem to avoid.

One of those herbs at the top of the list is lemon-scented geraniums, often referred to as “citronella.” The leaves of lemon-scented geraniums are especially fragrant, and I know gardeners who pluck a few to rub on their arms to keep mosquitoes away while they’re working in the garden.

In addition to lemon-scented geraniums, there are other herbs that work against mosquitoes, too. Here’s the short list — see if you notice any common theme here:

  • Lemon thyme
  • Lemon savory
  • Rue
  • Lemon verbena
  • Penny royal
  • Lemon basil
  • Catmint
  • Lemon grass
  • Eucalyptus

Are there any mosquito-repelling plants that you like to add to your garden? Please add them to the list!


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Standing water is one of my big problems that I have. At my own doing of course. I have pots, buckets and containers everywhere and I am constantly forgetting to either dump them or turn them over when it rains.

Hi Mike…if you search online for “mosquito dunks” or “mosquito cakes” you’ll find all kinds of products that you can put into places where standing water collects.

I know it’s not a perfect solution for all the smaller containers, but for larger ones, it might be worth it.


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