a mosquito

The Best Mosquito Repellent for Yards to Keep the Bites at Bay

You're preparing for a huge yard party and the mosquitoes are running amok. You need to find the best mosquito repellent for yards. And you need to find it quick!

Home and Garden

If mosquitoes are attacking you in your yard, you may need to pull out the heavy hitters. These can be natural or chemical, or a combination.

If you are one of those people that attracts all the mosquitoes, you want to pay particular attention to developing your "cone of protection."

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Spring Cleaning and Removing Standing Water

grayscale fly

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If you're having a party, you are probably already doing some yard clean up. There are a few things you might miss, which is where we come in.

You can do many things to make your yard less inviting to these little biting demons.

We'll get to that in a minute...

Mosquitoes are pesky little critters. They hide everywhere and you don't see them until they're flying away with a pint of your blood.

The Best Mosquito Repellent for Yards: An infographic with facts about mosquitoes
Infographic created by the author - Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.

Image via Pixabay Information from Gardeners Supply Company

So, while you are performing your spring cleaning, there are many things to keep in mind that will make your yard less inviting:

  1. Remove stagnant water and algae from ponds
  2. Plant naturally repellent landscaping features
  3. Encourage your neighbors to practice good bug deterrent habits also
  4. Use natural or chemical sprays before entertaining

We found a really helpful video for you too:

Landscaping hacks with a dual purpose

 The Best Mosquito Repellent for Yard to Keep the Bites at Bay

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People think of landscaping as making their yard a showplace. But did you know that your landscaping can compete as the best mosquito repellent for yards?

It's true!

By keeping bushes, trees, and garden areas trimmed up, you eliminate a lot of hiding areas for bitey bugs.

While we are concentrating on mosquitoes, other bitey things will be naturally controlled by implementing these simple hacks.

But, back to mosquito control.

We mentioned removing breeding grounds. The best way to accomplish this is to eliminate areas where water collects. Do this by:

  1. Treating ponds or water features to eliminate breeding grounds
  2. Keeping your gutters clean (we know, but at least once per season)
  3. Filling holes and low spots in your lawn
  4. Seal cracks and holes in your driveway, sidewalks, or pathways
  5. Keep trash lids on the cans if they are stored outdoors

Spread a cedar-based mulch around the base of your shrubs and in flower gardens. Cedar is a natural repellent and will aid in creating a pest-free environment.

Keep your grass mowed to a lower level. Bugs and bitey things can hide in tall grass. While the biggest problem is usually ticks and fleas, short grass will help with mosquito control also.

And it makes your yard look awesome!

​Plants that repel mosquitoes

green leaves

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One of the things that really work as the best mosquito repellent for yards is to plant flowers and other greenery that bitey bugs hate. In addition to adding beauty, you are adding a layer of protection for your family and guests.

A small row of brightly-colored marigolds planted around your patio or deck will add beauty and keep the bugs away. These plants have natural bug deterrent aromas that are not unpleasant to humans.

This incognito repellent method will garner compliments from neighbors and beautify your yard.

And it's easy!

Citronella plants can be planted in areas where it doesn't freeze. Citronella is the active ingredient in citronella candles used for mosquito control. This grass is a beautiful accent to any decor.

In addition to marigolds and citronella, mosquitoes also avoid:

  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Catnip
  • Peppermint
  • Scented geraniums
  • Lemongrass

Simply placing your herb garden on your deck or patio can help repel mosquitoes. Who knew?

​The Best Mosquito Repellent for Yards DIY Style

There are plenty of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solutions. We know that the safety of your family is important, so we'll be discussing those first.

If you have animals, check for pet safety on all sprays, powders, or solid repellents before use. Your dog walks barefoot in the grass.

Paul Harvey Cheap Mosquito Spray for Yards

a mouthwash

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This recipe has been in use for more than 20 years. It has been reported that it will keep mosquitoes and other pesky yard bugs away for two to three months.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of (cheap) blue mint mouthwash
  • 3 bottles of (cheap) stale beer (12 ounces each, total 36 ounces)
  • 3 cups of Epsom salt

You will also need a large bowl or small bucket, and a spray bottle or pressurized garden sprayer. A funnel would be a handy item to have also.

How to mix it up:

Dump the entire bottle of mouthwash into the bowl or bucket, then add the stale beer and give it a quick stir. Add the Epsom salt, stirring it as you pour. Make sure the Epsom salt dissolves completely, stirring will help speed this process up.

Once the salt has dissolved, you can pour the mix into a spray bottle or pressurized garden sprayer.

How to use it:

Spray it (almost) everywhere. Poof. It's that easy.

Concentrate on the areas where you spend a lot of time -- decks, porches, around benches, on the side of garden paths, and especially around ponds and water features. Allow the spray to dry thoroughly before using the area.

Ideally, spray the day before a backyard barbeque or outdoor party.

If you are camping, spray the entire area around your campsite before setting up your tent. It should dry within a few minutes.

It is totally safe for children, pets, and vegetation (although you should avoid spraying it directly onto flowering plants, which are more delicate than stems and leaves).

While this spray generally lasts around 60 to 90 days, it may need to be reapplied sooner. Rainy and humid climates, or extremely mosquito-prone areas may need a fresh application mid-season.

The minty-fresh smell will offer a breath of fresh air to your yard (I know... lame... but you cracked a smile, didn't you?).

Lemon and clove garden pods

a lemon fruit

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This simple solution adds a bit of citrus decor to your patio and gardens.

Make "pods" by slicing lemon or limes in half and then tucking whole cloves into the meaty area of the fruit.

The acid from the citrus fruits engages the cloves, emitting a not-unpleasant smell for humans. But bugs HATE it.

​Apple Cider Vinegar Mosquito Repellent

apple cider vinegars

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Sometimes, your best defense against mosquitoes can be found in your kitchen. Our next DIY best mosquito repellent for yards is quick to make, sprays on easily, and is very efficient.

There are three ingredients: apple cider vinegar (2 ounces), water (2 ounces), and essential oil (about 20 to 25 drops) of your choice. You will need a spray bottle, and a funnel is handy, but not required.

The most effective oils against mosquitoes are:

  • mint
  • tea tree
  • spearmint
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • lemongrass
  • clove
  • citronella
  • eucalyptus

Although this recipe doesn't last as long as the beer and mouthwash DIY repellent, it will last for a couple of weeks. Because of the smaller quantities, it can be remade as-needed to keep your yard bug-free all summer.

You can make this right in your spray bottle by mixing all the ingredients and shaking.

This recipe is completely safe. It will not harm humans, the environment, or your pets.

While it is safe, we do recommend allowing it to dry before letting Fido out to play. Dogs are sometimes more sensitive to the essential oils.

​The Best Mosquito Repellent for Yards

We all have our quirks. One that many of us share is an aversion to using chemical sprays.

Unfortunately, sometimes the best mosquito repellent for yards is a chemical. When we started evaluating products to highlight, we considered chemical products, natural, and eco-friendly products.

The list below is comprised of a combination of chemical and natural products that are commercially available. We judged their suitability based on reviews, both professional and customer-based, pricing, ingredients, and overall effectiveness.

We have used many of these products, but not all of them.

OFF! Outdoor Fogger

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The OFF! Outdoor Fogger sprays up to 20 feet and covers a large area. The repellent lasts up to six hours, and it is effective against mosquitoes and other flying insects.

With an Amazon customer rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, this product has only one negative comment. The spray valve on the can received by one customer was not operational. The remaining commenters all raved about how well this works.

This product is available on Amazon and in local retail establishments. The price ranges from $5 to $10 depending on your point of purchase.

OFF! Backyard Retreat Outdoor Fogger

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Another good product from the folks at OFF! the Backyard Retreat Outdoor Fogger is specially designed for yards and patios. It should be sprayed 15 to 30 minutes before you plan on using the space to allow the fog to dissipate.

With a rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars, customer feedback is a bit more varied on this product. Most people have positive comments, while a few voiced dissatisfaction with the claimed effectiveness interval of six hours.

The pricing on a single can available from most local retailers will be in the range of $5 to $10. Most online retailers market this product in a multi-pack containing at least three cans, so pricing from the online outlets may range from $18 to $45.

Summit Mosquito Dunks

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Summit Mosquito Dunks are designed to be placed in areas where mosquito larvae may be present. The product will last up to 30 days and is all natural.

Some suggested uses are flower pot drop trays, bird baths, gutters, and rain barrels. This product is safe for use in fish habitats and animal-accessible water sources.

The customer satisfaction rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Mosquito Dunks are available in multipacks of 2, 6, or 20 "dunks" per package. Pricing on the 6-pack ranges from $10 to $20, while the 20-pack ranges from $30 to $40.

Summit Mosquito Bits

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Another environmentally friendly product from Summit, Mosquito Bits can be used in water or soil to control mosquitoes, gnats, and other small pests. Bti-coated corn granules kill off larvae but pose no threat to humans.

Used in water, the bits will return water to a mosquito-free zone quickly. In soil, the bits can be sprinkled post planting, or used in potting soil pre-planting for fungus gnat control.

Mosquito Bits are registered with the EPA in 50 states. This product is approved for organic farming pest control operations.

This item has a 4.1 out of 5-star rating with Amazon customers. With a price ranging from $14 to $24, it is available from many retailers.

Murphy's Mosquito Sticks

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These incense sticks can be used in a variety of ways to ensure a mosquito-free time outdoors. With a pleasant smell combining lemongrass, citronella, and rosemary, the smoke results in a bug-free zone. It is a 100 percent natural product.

Each stick burns around 2 hours and will keep mosquitoes away for up to 12 hours. The product is packaged in tubes, with one dozen incense sticks per tube. They are available in a three-pack ranging from $23 to $36, or individual tubes ranging from $10 to $15 each.

Customers are very satisfied with this product, rating it at 4.4 out of 5 stars at Amazon. Murphy's Mosquito Sticks can be purchased from Amazon, Murphy's, or many of your local retailers.

​Choosing Personal Protection Sprays

When you select sprays for personal protection, there are a lot of variables involved. While DEET is a very good active ingredient, there has been a lot of controversy over the potential harm it can cause.

Many people are shifting to more natural solutions for personal protection. There is a multitude of commercial products that are chemical free.

We briefly mentioned your personal "cone of protection." In addition to spraying your yard, it is always important to use personal protection products, especially on children.

Here are a few products we like for personal mosquito protection:

Squito Spray

This spray is an all natural product from Good Earth. It contains catnip essential oil, though, so be prepared for extra kitty-lovings if you're a cat parent.

Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent

This commercial repellent is safe for the entire family. The main ingredient is effective against ticks, mosquitoes, and many other bitey insects. If you are in a highly tick-prone area, having a product with Picaridin is highly recommended.

REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

This product from REPEL is a great repellent with a pleasant smell. It is fairly effective but doesn't seem to work well on some people. It is DEET-free but needs frequent reapplication if outdoors for more than five hours.

Natrapel Tick and Insect Repellent

This Picaridin-based product is effective against most insects, including ticks. The convenient pump dispenser packs away easily in a backpack pocket, diaper bag, or small daypack.

Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent

Another DEET-free product from All Terrain, this spray is environmentally friendly and non-toxic.

Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

If you want totally non-toxic, 100 percent natural, and zero chemicals these bracelets might be the perfect answer. They are made from Citronella oil and are DEET-free.

​More resources are at your fingertips

You can find additional DIY recipes for the best mosquito repellents for yards and personal protection in many online locations. Here are a few:

Chemical and Natural Solutions Combined Might be Your Best Option

Some of the things you can do to decrease mosquitoes might seem unusual, but they work. For instance, add a fan to your outdoor party to circulate air (yes, outdoors). The fan, like a slight breeze, helps keeps bugs away.

While many people shy away from chemicals for all the right reasons, sometimes you just can't avoid them. Our favorite DIY solution is the beer and Epsom salt yard spray.

When that doesn't work well enough, we have used the OFF! Outdoor Fogger with great success. The combination of the two repellents has always worked well to control even the worst mosquito infestations.

When faced with such a dilemma, using a product containing chemicals is not a deadly sin. Use them considerately (breezes blow the sprays around) and sparingly as needed. The diseases carried by mosquitoes are a worse fate.

We tried to offer a little bit of everything here to meet your needs. We hope that you found something that works well in your particular circumstance.

Leave us a brief note below and tell us what works for you against mosquitoes.

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