Which scents keep mosquitoes away from your home — Nawel’s student essay

Which Scents Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Home?

If you were ever to ask someone what the most annoying bug in the world is, they will most likely say that it is the mosquito. Though their bites are undoubtedly downright annoying, their ability to act as vectors for many contagious and debilitating diseases such as malaria and the West Nile virus, causing around 2.7 million death a year worldwide, they are also extremely dangerous in certain parts of the world. This is why it is very important to control the number of mosquitoes around your house, especially since they’ll most likely end up being the ones that come into contact with you.

Like many other bugs, mosquitoes are very sensitive to smells, and though it is their greatest strength in finding you as particular smells and sensory information cues are what attract mosquitoes to certain people, it is also their greatest weakness. Mosquitoes are attracted by the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans and other animals, which is what leads them to zone in to a particular area. 

It is important to note that female mosquitoes are the ones that go for blood, which is full of proteins that they require for egg development. For energy, however, they usually just go for sugary nectar or plant sap. When it comes to human, something else that attracts mosquitoes is body odor, with the body odor bacteria being what gives sweat a scent.

man use fumigation mosquitoes machine for kill mosquito carrier of Zika virus and dengue fever

Though it may seem like a good idea to just not go outside during mosquito season to make sure the natural human odors don’t attract the mosquitoes, it is very easy for mosquitoes to just get inside your house. Not only that, since they use the blood for reproduction purposes, they will most likely give birth to more mosquitoes, with many mosquitoes being able to set up to 100 eggs every third night after mating just once. 

Since houses are filled with sink and shower water, it will be a prime spot for more mosquitoes to be birthed. This is why it is very important to make sure that the mosquitoes don’t get into the house in the first place, and that’s when certain smells come in.

Tiger Mosquito

It is as important to know which odors attract mosquitoes, and thus which ones to avoid, as much as those that repel mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes are by nature attracted to sugary and flowery smells due to their formerly mentioned gaining of energy through nectar, it is very important to avoid many kinds of perfumes, fragrances, scented lotions, unless they are used as traps outside or inside of the house.

Since these aforementioned smells are very attractive to mosquitoes, very acrid and piquant smells are very unattractive to mosquitoes, with most people being aware that one of the most intuitive ways of getting rids of mosquitoes is through the use of mosquito repellant. What makes the repellants, and many natural plants, work in scaring mosquitoes away are particular chemicals inside of them. One of the most famous chemicals is DEET, which reduces the volatility of the odorants to which it is mixed, not quite scaring away, but keeping them away from the smells that lead them to you in the first place.

If one does not really like subjecting themselves, or their home for that matter, there are many natural scents that keep mosquitoes away from one’s house. One of these is lavender, which keeps mosquitoes away due to its being highly concentrated and containing volatile oils. It also includes an alcohol called Linalool that naturally protects it from insects, with a 2009 study published in the vector ecology showing that linalool diffusers are 93% effective indoors. Other natural scents that repel mosquitoes are those of vanilla and tea tree oil, as they mask one’s natural body odor from mosquitoes, which is what attracts them in the first place. Pepper can also help against mosquitoes, thanks to a chemical called Picaridin.

With these smells, the annoyance and deadliness of these bugs will be greatly decreased, and your home will be a very enjoyable place during the mosquito season.

Author: Nawel Fajardo

University of Arizona

Student Scholarships

Every year Thrive Pest Control hosts an essay contest and the reward is a 1-year scholarship at a 4-year university in the United States. This blog post is one of those scholarships.