Some of the most impactful prevention methods involve tedious tidying routines and pesticide sprays that can feel rigorous and expensive. However, not all anti-mosquito tactics are a chore. Instead, there are some flowers and oils that deter the pest from your home – while filling your space with sweet scents and (in some cases) vibrant color. 

8 scents that deter mosquitoes – for aromatic relief from the pest

You may know about the colors that attract or repel mosquitoes, but what about the impact of scent? Here are the eight mosquito-repellent plants, oils, and foods that make repelling mosquitos more pleasurable. 

1. Marigolds

‘Believe it or not, marigolds (yes, the beautiful flowers) are actually one of the most effective scents that deter mosquitoes,’ says the Mosquito Magician (opens in new tab). The expert referred to a study (opens in new tab) by researchers in the 90s that suggests this flower omits insecticides that are toxic to mosquitoes. 

2. Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus is one of the most hated smells among mosquitoes, according to Melanie Rose from Nationwide Pest Control (opens in new tab).  ‘The reason these smells deter mosquitoes is because they produce chemicals that mosquitoes don’t like, namely linalool and geraniol.’ This is why you often find scents like eucalyptus are used in soaps and candles that are used that keep bugs away from your home.

3. Grapefruit

‘Grapefruit is a refreshing summertime treat packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. But when it comes to repelling mosquitoes, a compound called nootkatone is a hero,’ explains Scot Hodges, the vice president of professional development for Arrow Exterminators (opens in new tab).  You can use the nootkatone in your grapefruit to deter misquotes from your home or garden, but it’s even more than a pest deterrent. ‘Not only can you snack on grapefruit, but you can use grapefruit oil on your skin, too,’ Scot adds. 

4. Mint

Mint may be a staple kitchen garden idea, but it has its uses against mosquitoes, too.  ‘If you have mint plants in your garden, you may have noticed that they attract lots of bees—but not mosquitoes,’ says Melody Estes from The Project Girl (opens in new tab). This is because mosquitoes don’t like minty smells. ‘If you have some mint growing nearby, maybe consider putting some in pots outside to keep those pesky bugs out of your backyard.’

5. Lemongrass 

Lemongrass contains citronella oil – perhaps the most famous of mosquito repellent scents. But how can you introduce this plant into your scheme? You can start by knowing how to grow lemongrass in your garden, or, for a delectable solution, you can bring the kitchen. ‘Swap your summer glass of lemonade for a chilled glass of lemongrass tea, or carefully use lemongrass oil on your skin for a quick mosquito repellent,’ Scott suggests. 

6. Lavender 

Lavender is one of the most famous mosquito repellents, but it’s easy to see its appeal. Melanie explains that, while the pest dislikes its distinctive scent, the same smell has a calming effect on humans – which is why it’s often used as an essential oil for aromatherapy and meditation.  Knowing how to grow lavender in your yard or arranging it in a vase is one way to keep mosquitoes at bay. Or you can choose one of the best candles on the market, many of which are infused with this powerful scent.

7. Pine oil 

With its pleasantly woody aroma, it can be hard not to take joy in pine oil. However, while this scent will always have a place amongst the best-selling essential oils, it should have an equal spot amid your decorating ideas too.  Zackary DeAngelis from Pest Pointers LLC (opens in new tab) explains that the scent of the pine oil ‘will overpower and confuse a mosquito’s senses, limiting its ability to detect you’ and keeping you safe from bites.  ‘To use pine oil as a mosquito repellent, one great way is to place rags with pine oil outside of your windows, porch, or doors,’ the expert suggests. ‘You’ll have to refresh the rags every few days, but you could also use this method specifically on days where you’re more likely to have mosquitoes for easier application.’

8. Chili peppers

If you can stand a healthy amount of spice, it may be worth incorporating chilies into your diet, especially over summer when mosquito activity is at a high. ‘These peppers are known to repel mosquitoes thanks to capsaicin, a heat-producing compound that the fly doesn’t like,’ Scot says.  So, while this kitchen idea is not for every palette, it is worth considering adding a kick to your dishes to keep the pest away. 

What smells do mosquitoes hate?

Mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, citronella, clove, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary. They also hate smells such as smoke, for further insight, see our exploration on, does smoke keep mosquitoes away?