7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes

    Aug 3, 2015 9:16:00 AM

    7 Essential Oils to Tame MosquitoesSummertime means sunshine, camping, hiking, gardening, and an all-around good time being outside. But with the great outdoors comes one big bugaboo: mosquitoes!

    Rather than spraying on a synthetic cocktail of chemicals with conventional bug spray, we prefer to use natural essential oils.

    You may have already read our post 10 Essential Oils that Naturally Repel Insects, which includes a great list of essential oils that can be used to manage pesky bugs. But there seems to be one winged menace that’s especially difficult once the weather turns hot and humid. 

    Not to worry … Here are seven essential oils that naturally discourage mosquitoes:

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes1. Cypress Essential Oil

    A 2013 Greek study looked at eight species of cypress to assess their effectiveness against mosquito larvae from Aedes albopictus. Three of the essential oils (C. benthamii, C. lawsoniana, and C. macrocarpa) were as effective as DEET!

    How to use your cypress essential oil: If you are enjoying a cabin vacation, try diffusing your cypress essential oil with a woodsy, outdoors blend including Pinus sylvestris (L.) and clary sage Salvia sclarea (L.). Make sure you shut all the windows and doors before sundown, as this is when mosquitoes are at their worst. If you’re hiking during the day, ditch the shorts and opt for long pants you can tuck your socks into and use the same blend as a topical spray with a base of a very light oil such as aloe or camellia that absorbs quickly.

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes2. Fennel Essential Oil

    An Italian study in 2010 showed that fennel Foeniculum vulgare (Hill) essential oil was highly effective against the mosquito A. albopictus (98.3-100%).[1] Also, in a 1998 study, fennel essential oil caused more than 50% mortality of the mosquito Aedes aegypti larvae at a 50 milligram per liter concentration.[2]

    How to use your fennel essential oil: To scare away those insidious bugs this summer, you can diffuse fennel in a diffuser or atomizer, or make a room spray by diluting fennel oil in water with a little alcohol to help with solubility.

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes3. Clary Sage Essential Oil

    This lovely, floral essential oil is known for its uplifting and mood balancing properties. But clary sage S. sclarea has a serious side and can terrorize the tiger mosquito A. albopictus.[3]

    How to use your clary sage essential oil: Blend into an aromatic room spray or in a diffuser. It’s also an ideal oil for winding down after a long day. So if you find yourself getting “bugged” before bed, try mixing three to four drops of clary sage S. sclarea essential oil into your diffuser to place on your bedside table.  

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes4. Immortelle Essential Oil

    We love immortelle Helichrysum italicum (Roth) essential oil here at ACHS. President and Founder Dorene Petersen recently wrote a comprehensive article on the uses of immortelle essential oil and extract; you can check out an excerpt here.

    Immortelle is a fantastic oil that can promote normal healing of cuts and bruises, but it is also packs a punch against mosquitoes. The same 2010 Italian study that examined fennel F. vulgare essential oil also showed that immortelle H. italicum caused a high mortality rate against the mosquito A. albopictus.[4]

    How to use your immortelle essential oil: Diffuse around your home to create an uplifting, floral ambiance that will discourage unwanted critters. Blend into an aromatic room spray; immortelle blends well with Roman chamomile Chamaemelum nobile (L.), clary sage S. sclarea, clove Syzygium aromaticum (L.), and cypress C. sempervirens.  The blend can also be added to a base such as aloe or camellia and used as a body oil.

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    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes5. Yarrow Essential Oil

    The final essential oil examined in the 2010 Italian study was yarrow Achillea millefolium (L.).[5] In addition to being effective against mosquitoes, yarrow’s uplifting sweet and fresh aroma blends well with two other oils on this list: clary sage S. sclarea and cypress C. sempervirens.

    How to use your yarrow essential oil: Blend in your diffuser with other repellant oils and diffuse around the house.

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes6. Catnip Essential Oil

    Iowa State University researchers tested the strength of catnip Nepeta cataria (L.) essential oil against mosquitoes and found that “catnip was 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than the compound used in most commercial bug repellents.”[6] The researchers studied the effects of nepetalactone—the main constituent in catnip essential oil—on mosquitoes in a glass tube. After 10 minutes, approximately 80 percent of the mosquitoes had fled away from the oil![7] 

    How to use your catnip essential oil: Blend this green and slightly minty essential oil in your diffuser or room spray to diffuse around the house. You can also dilute it in a light base oil or aloe vera gel and apply liberally to your exposed skin.

    7 Essential Oils to Tame Mosquitoes7. Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

    Lemon eucalyptus Eucalyptus citriodora (Hook.) is a favorite in natural insect blends. In 2013, researchers found lemon eucalyptus was very effective against the mosquito Anopheles gambiae.[8] Plus it also smells great! This essential oil has a fresh, lemony aroma that is ideal for a summer ambiance.

    How to use your lemon eucalyptus essential oil: Add this lemony, refreshing essential oil to an aromatic room spray to discourage mosquitoes. This oil also blends well with lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.), lime Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.), bergamot Citrus aurantium (L.) var. bergamia, and tea tree Melaleuca alternifolia (Cheel).

    What are some of your tips and tricks for beating the bugs this summer? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

    Essential Oils As Biopesticides

    Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.

    [1] Conti, B., Canale, A., Bertoli, A., Gozzini, F., & Pistelli, L. (2010). Essential oil composition and larvicidal activity of six Mediterranean aromatic plants against the mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitology Research, 107(6):1455-1461.

    [2] Chantraine, J.M., Laurent, D., Ballivan, C., Saavedra, G., Ibanez, R., & Vilaseca, L.A. (1998). Insecticidal Activity of Essential Oils on Aedes aegypti Larvae. Phytother Res., 12(5):350-354.

    [3] Conti, B., Benell, G., Leonardi, M., Afifi, F.U., Cervelli, C., Profeti R, et al. (2012) Repellent effect of Salvia dorisiana, S. longifolia, and S. sclarea (Lamiaceae) essential oils against the mosquito Aedes albopictus Skuse (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitology Research, 111(1):291-9.

    [4] Conti, B., Canale, A., Bertoli, A., Gozzini, F., & Pistelli, L. (2010). Essential oil composition and larvicidal activity of six Mediterranean aromatic plants against the mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitology Research, 107(6):1455-1461.

    [5] Ibid.

    [6] Iowa State University College of Agriculture. (2001). Catnip drives cats wild, but drives mosquitoes away. Retrieved from http://www.mosquitosolutions.com/iastateu.html

    [7] Ibid.

    [8] Bossou, A.D., Mangelinckx, S., Yedomonhan, H., Boko, P.M., Akogbeto, M.C., De Kimpe, N. et. al. (2013). Chemical composition and insecticidal activity of plant essential oils from Benin against Anopheles gambiae (Giles). Parasit Vectors., (6):337.

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