Real Simpleanswers your questions.

By Real Simple
Updated April 29, 2008
Beatriz Da Costa

Q. What are some natural ways to repel mosquitoes?

Arleen Honick

Atlanta, Georgia

A. Try planting marigolds. Place the fragrant flowers in a garden bed to keep the insects away―their odor may deter mosquitoes. But to be sure they stay off you, it's still best to apply repellent directly to your skin, says Joe Conlon, a technical adviser with the American Mosquito Control Association. He recommends a concentrated formula of oil of lemon eucalyptus. Try Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray ($6.50, for locations).

More Mosquito Solutions

Pesticide-Free Repellents

  • Bug Band, $15 for four bands,
  • Infused with a highly concentrated dose of geraniol, an active ingredient in geranium oil, these wristbands create a sphere of protection around you that lasts up to 120 hours.
  • Don’t Bite Me!, $5 for five patches,

With this all-natural insect-repellent patch, a combination of aloe and vitamin B1 is absorbed into the skin and then releases an almost undetectable scent through the pores to keep bugs away. Each patch lasts up to 36 hours.

The Latest Buzz

Their bites itch, but that’s about all you may know about mosquitoes. Here are some interesting tidbits about summer’s most annoying insects.

  • The myth that mosquitoes die after one bite is false. Most adult females live two to three weeks.
  • Mosquitoes aren’t attracted to Chanel No 5, Dior Poison, or any other perfume for that matter. In fact, they’re attracted to carbon dioxide. So just by breathing, you’re drawing them near.
  • Mosquitoes are generally weak fliers. Keep a fan around to help deter them.
  • Most mosquitoes can travel up to three miles from their breeding spot.
  • According to the American Mosquito Control Association, West Virginia has the fewest species of mosquitoes, while Texas has the most.
  • Only females feed on blood. They need an extra protein boost to produce and lay eggs. To identify a threatening mosquito, look to see if it has bushy antennae. If it does, it’s a male and you’re safe from attack. But if it doesn’t, shoo it away―it’s a hungry female.