Mosquito experts suggest avoiding citronella to get rid of mosquitoes

As summer approaches, mosquitoes will come out and they are relentless; they swarm, buzz and bite, leaving millions with itchy red spots.

With countless mosquito deterrents on the market that promise to keep the little pests away, looked into which ones were most and least effective.


Citronella is an essential oil distilled from a variety of lemongrass and has long been regarded as a “natural” mosquito repellent. It is used in many different forms; candles, oil diffusers, tiki torches, and sprays – to attempt to keep pests at bay.

But according to the New York Times, citronella is not effective because it “doesn’t consistently offer a substantial invisible shield” compared to other repellents like DEET (the most common active ingredient in insect repellents).

Mosquito Reviews were also unable to come up with much evidence for citronella to work at repelling mosquitoes unless the leaves of the plant were rubbed directly onto the skin.


According to Mosquito Reviews, while a lavender plant produces an insignificant amount of mosquito-repellent properties, lavender oil, on the other hand, “produces a strong odour that is pleasant to humans and detestable to mosquitos”. This is primarily because it overloads their sensitive olfactory organs, much in the same manner as DEET.

The experts added: “In terms of testing, a 2009 study found that lavender oil possessed a 93 percent repellant rate against mosquitos indoors and only around a 53 percent repellant rate against mosquitoes outdoors.”

Lavender oil can be used as a skin rub – but it needs to be mixed with a carrier oil – or a spray.

Skin rub: add 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil into a small bottle or jar and add two tablespoons of carrier oil (almond, jojoba, argan, or avocado oil, for example). Shake and rub onto the skin.

Spray: Add 15-25 drops of lavender essential oil into a spray bottle, with one teaspoon of carrier oil, one teaspoon of witch hazel or vodka and two teaspoons of water. Shake and spray.

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Cinnamon oil 

According to a 2004 study, cinnamon oil is a great-smelling, and environmentally friendly pesticide, with the ability to kill mosquito eggs and repel adult mosquitoes.

Depending on your needs, you can use cinnamon oil as a spray by diluting 10 drops of oil into a spray bottle with 30-40ml of water.

It can also be added to standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay eggs and multiply.

Apple cider vinegar 

Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is touted as one of the best mosquito repellents around due to the overpowering smell of vinegar which mosquitoes taste through their legs.

Ideal Home suggests making a homemade trap using apple cider vinegar, which has a sweet smell to attract mosquitoes.

Pour a little apple cider vinegar into a bottle, then make a funnel with a piece of paper and place it in the mouth of the bottle. Place the bottle in the area of your home where you’re seeing the most mosquitoes.

The mosquitoes will trap themselves after being attracted by the aroma of the apple vinegar.

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