If you are here, chances are you are a mosquito magnet. I am, too. So in a fit of itchy frustration, I started wondering does lavender repel mosquitoes?
Lavender plants are perennial flowers and are a member of the mint family. Lavender essential oil is distilled from English lavender, Lavandula anguvstifolia, which is considered a “true” lavender.
While these plants can be placed in your yard and garden to enjoy year after year, you can also grow them in a pot on your patio. They grow best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Why Does Lavender Keep Mosquitoes Away?
Lavender smells good to humans. In fact, we use it in a variety of drawer fresheners, cosmetics, bath products and more. However, lavender is offensive to mosquitoes. Go figure.
Because it’s SO fragrant that it overwhelms them. It is a similar response like using DEET to prevent mosquito bites. While DEET (diethyltoluamide) is controversial for its potential health effects, it does work because it overwhelms mosquito olfactory senses. The good news is, lavender is natural and works the same way, too.
Lavender plants contain up to 25% linalool. It’s a terpene alcohol that is effective at repelling mosquitoes. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes linalool as an active ingredient to keep mosquitoes away while outside.
The Environmental Working Group, (EWG) recognizes linalool with a toxicity score of 3, which is low.
Studies proved that linalool is definitely effective at repelling mosquitoes.
How to Use Lavender to Repel Mosquitoes Outside
The scientific study in the tropics suggests that using lavender oil in combination with other natural repellants is more effective for immediate protection from mosquitoes. Another mosquito repellant study showed that while lavender’s linalool oil repelled female mosquitoes by 58% outside, other natural oils such as geraniol worked better (repelled up to 75%).
However, the same study suggested that lavender is definitely effective on its own for killing mosquitoes long term. It found that three times more mosquitoes died after exposure to linalool in the 24 hours after they were exposed to the substance.
So planting lavender around your yard or patio might not completely keep mosquitoes away short term, but it will help to kill off the mosquito population. It’s a beautiful plant to enjoy, too, which makes it a positive addition to your garden landscape.
You will still want to use a candle, spray or other type of topical mosquito repellant using lavender oil in addition to other oils such as citronella to have the best effect at keeping biting mosquitoes away.
Repelling Mosquitoes Indoors
Mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance outside. Have you ever tried to get to sleep with one solitary mosquito buzzing around your bed?
The good news is that lavender does repel mosquitoes indoors, too.
This study in the Journal of Vector Ecology showed that diffusing linalool indoors repelled mosquitoes by 93%. In fact, it repelled mosquitoes better than citronella indoors.
Using Lavender Essential Oil for Bugs
As with any essential oils, you do want to be careful with using them. Ask a medical professional about using essential oils during pregnancy or on babies or young children. Lavender oil can enhance relaxation, so consult a physician before using if you are on anti-anxiety medications or have other medical conditions that might be affected with increased relaxation.
Consult your veterinarian before using essential oils on or near your pets. Any essential oils could be toxic to pets.
Don’t apply essential oils without a carrier oil or diluting them in some way, as they can be very strong. That’s why our homemade bug spray uses lavender oil in witch hazel as a base.
Dangers of Mosquito Bites
We often think of mosquitoes as just pesky insects whose bites are annoying. But there is a reason why you need to be so diligent in protecting yourself from their biting. They can be dangerous insects.
In fact, they are the deadliest animal in the world, according to Bill Gates’ foundation.
Mosquitoes spread malaria in many parts of the world. And if another type of new disease started that was spread by biting insects, mosquitoes would be among the insects that would spread it.
This is what happened with Zika virus.
So it’s wise to start repelling mosquitoes now and find the most effective treatment that works for you.
In addition to planting lavender in your yard, and using lavender essential oil repellants, these clothes will prevent mosquitoes from biting you.