Keep mosquitoes away

Asked June 12, 2016, 7:46 PM EDT

Is there a natural product, either bought or home-made, that can be put on the lawn to keep mosquitoes away and not harm other bugs. My husband is blind, cannot see or feel them biting and will not wear a repellent.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

We do not have recommendations for organic controls for the lawn. You can put out a fan to keep the air moving when outside. Also, there are some organic repellents that you can spray on your skin or clothing such as Lemon Oil Eucalyptus and a product that contains the active ingredient picaridin. You can contact the National Pesticide Information Center for toxicity issues at

Mosquitoes can be an area wide issue and there are many mosquito species in MD. Among them is the Asian tiger mosquito. They are small, black with white striping on the legs and are out flying (and biting) during the day. If the mosquitoes come out primarily at night, then it is most likely a native mosquito which breeds in bodies of water such as wetlands that is the problem. But no matter what the species is the control tactics are very similar.

Reducing populations involves eliminating any water that is present in containers and other areas on your property. For additional information see our mosquito page,

Any water you can't regularly drain or change should be treated with mosquito dunks which contain Bt, a biological insecticide. Mosquitoes like to rest on plants that tend to hold moisture on their leaves, so increase air circulation in an area by pruning shrubs and cutting down tall weeds.

We don't recommend spraying or fogging with an insecticide for multiple reasons. The main reason is that the recommended insecticides can kill non-target species, including many beneficial insects and pollinators. Plus sprays often miss the target and do nothing to control the larvae. It is more effective to target the larva than spray the adults. Plus multiple sprays are necessary which is time consuming and expensive.

It is prudent to protect yourself from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, pants, and a hat (you can even find clothes treated with insecticides that repel insect pests). Repellents containing Deet work. See the above organic choices. Make sure to follow label instructions and consult with a pediatrician before applying to children. See our publication on preventing mosquito bites: