When it’s warm enough to sleep with my window open, I usually am really happy about it. Though, mosquito are really annoying and I always wake up pretty pricked. Even with mosquito nets in front of the window, I usually have a lot of itchy marks on my skin. The mosquito will just enter through the door and a nearby window without protection.
Usually, they not only follow the warmth and the CO2- exhalation of our body, but especially our smell and the 4-methyl-phenol in it. Since my hair, my clothes and even my room absorb this smell, it wouldn’t help much to air, try to cool down the room temperature or – not breathe -. The mosquito will find you anyway as long as blood pumps through your body.
Of course I would prefer turning into a vampire to pay back, but since protection is the only available option right now, I’ll go with that!
The first protection always is a physical one: mosquito nets are really helpful and also keep away other annoying “Lästlinge” (which is the German way to say “animal that annoys me”) such as Tipula or bigger ants. It’s also good to air the house while it’s raining, especially in summer because a) it’s colder, b) it smells good and c) flying insects like mosquito or the species of Tipula are less likely to fly whilst rain. In the night, they are rather active.
Since, in summer, the chance of rain decreases drastically and the hotness of the day would not be comfortable to sleep at night, it’s always useful to also have other protections, not just in the room, but also outside of the house. Especially around non-moving waters such as seas or swimming pools, the possibility to return with a lot of red, itchy spots is really high.
We learned that mosquito follow our smell in general and that’s why the typical protection against mosquito consists other smells which are repulsive to mosquito, such as DEET or Icaridin. Often produced synthetically, these repellents are problematic for the environment and for most people, they don’t even smell nice. It would be most sustainable to not use them at all (also, I only saw them in plastic bottles in Germany, so that’s another reason against the sustainability of these sprays), but I get that, sometimes, it’s necessary or just functional and comfortable to use them. To reduce this usage, however, I will present some plants and other tips to repulse mosquito sustainable.
Since a lot of this plants need a lot of care and sun as well, it’s always an alternative to use dried parts of the plant or the repellent as essential oils or comparable substance and evaporating it by hanging up a wet towel with a few drops of this oil. Here, it’s important to stress that the VOC, the volatile organic compounds, are highly concentrated and could cause irritations, death and environmental pollution if used wrong (here: too much or as food). But it also helps to a more humidified room temperature, especially in summer. Since a lot of these plants are useful, beautiful, easier to dispense and/ or attire cats (YAY!), it’s still really nice to have them in your room or in your garden/ balcony/whatever. Here we go:
P.S.: Most plants prefer being outside, since there’s more sun, air and a natural surrounding, so best would be to create a “barrier” on our balcony, which would a) be a nice place to sit in summer and b) is good to air the rooms around, also because of the smell most plants will produce. However, it is possible with hardly every plant to keep her inside with a nice climate (humidifier), fertilizer and a special lamp that imitates sunlight, or alternatively, just accept that the plants won’t be as successful as their companions outside.
Basil (mostly for outside, needs a lot of sun)
Repellent: essential oil (methylchavicol)
Against: flies, mosquito, some plant pests
nutritious, water-permeable soil
seed time: mid may to June
If bought out of a supermarket, re-pot it into a bigger pot and tr to keep it outside as long as possible (the glass in our windows is filtering a lot of the nutritious sunlight)
Monarda citriodora (mostly for outside, needs a lot of sun)
Repellent: essential oil (citronellol)
Against: mosquito, fleas, mites
Attractive to: bees, bumblebees
seed time: march to June
Catnip (mostly for outside, needs a lot of sun and space)
Repellent: essential oil (nepetalactone, 10* more effective than DEET, if not used on the skin)
Against: mosquito, fleas, mites
Attractive to: cats, bees, bumblebees
Sunny or mostly sunny atmosphere (depends on the species)
barren ground, pH between 6 and 7
seed time: march to may, august to September
Attention: cats like to nestle to it!
Tomatoes (mostly for outside, but these plants are also nice for inside: Tumbling Tom red/ yellow, red robin, pixie)
Repellent: smell (I didn’t found more information
mostly sunny, but cool atmosphere
lime-free water once a day
Lavender (for outside, needs a lot of sun and space)
Repellent: essential oil (oleum lavandulae)
Against: mosquito, fleas, mites, cats, bedbugs,
Attractive to: bumblebees, bees, butterflies, good sleep
Repellent: essential oil (allium sativum)
Against: mosquito, vampires, cabbage root fly, red mite
Sunny atmosphere during the first time
Substrate solution without soil, but vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber or peat, water-permeable
Rosemary (mostly for outside, needs a lot of sun)
Repellent: essential oil (rosmarinus officialis)
Sunny and not too hot
Lemon balm (can easily be hold inside)
Repellent: essential oil (melisse officinalis)
moisturized with tab water
Lemon grass (can easily be hold inside)
Repellent: essential oil (Cymbopogon Flexuosus)
light and warm, dry air
3 to 4 hours direct sunlight
nutritious, wet soil, water-permeable
To sum it up, the smell of citrus and some other essential oils are repellent to mosquito. I would recomand a mix out of the most convenient methods for you. I’m really happy with my mosquito nets in front of my window, dried lavender in my bed and a little bit of lavender oil on a wet towel, since I really like lavender.