Mosquitoes have always been nuisance biting pests within urban and suburban areas, but these days, several non-native mosquito species have established an urban habitat in many areas of the US, and multiple mosquito-borne diseases have been discovered in recent years. Numerous products have been put on the market that purport to control mosquito pests around homes, but their effectiveness has been questioned. Some of these mosquito control products include citronella candles, electrified bug zappers, and lightbulbs that supposedly repel mosquitoes. Unfortunately, research has shown that such products fail to control mosquito populations. It is also not uncommon to visit nurseries and floral shops that advertise certain plant species as “natural” mosquito repellents. Given the plethora of mosquito control products that do not work as advertisers claim, many people view the existence of mosquito repellent plants with suspicion. While it would be nice to simply place an abundance of plants that repel mosquitoes into a home garden, there are few if any research studies that have offered up evidence that certain plant species can effectively reduce the number of foraging mosquitoes in and around homes.
The plant species, Pelargonium graveolens, is sold in many stores where it is usually labeled as the “citrosa” plant, or simply as the “mosquito plant.” This plant is a rose geranium and it is commonly advertised as being an effective mosquito repellent. While this species’ essential oils, which smell like lemon, do have mosquito repellent properties, placing these plants in a garden or on a patio will not reduce the number of mosquitoes in a yard, or residents from sustaining bites. In order to make use of this plant’s essential oils for anti-mosquito purposes, numerous leaves would have to be rubbed on the skin. However, a few lemon-scented herbs have been shown to repel mosquitoes more effectively than citrosa, such as lemon balm and lemon thyme. The lemon-scented plants that are often advertised as mosquito repellents will not keep mosquitoes away simply by sitting on a porch because the essential oils that mosquitoes avoid are not emitted by the plants. That being said, burning or boiling many lemon-scented plants will release their essential oils into the air, providing residents with some degree of protection from mosquito bites.
Have you ever purchased mosquito repellent plants with the hope that they would work as advertised?
Tags: mosquito control