Catnip from Natural Mosquito Repellents

Natural Mosquito Repellents



According to a study at Iowa State University, catnip oil is a strong alternative to the popular DEET infused repellent products. It was found to repel more mosquitoes at lower concentrations. While pure catnip oil is too strong to put directly on your skin, the doses that were tested only contain one to five percent of the oil.


Flickr/Subash BGK

Neem oil, a vegetable oil from the fruits and seeds of neem trees in India, has proven to provide protection from mosquitoes. An article in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found, “Two percent neem oil mixed in coconut oil, when applied to the exposed body parts of human volunteers, provided complete protection for 12 hours from the bites of all anopheline species. Application of neem oil is safe and can be used for protection from malaria in endemic countries.”


Flickr/Eira Monstad

A study in Bioresource Technology found that the when peppermint oil is applied on human skin it becomes a strong repellent against adult mosquitoes. Although the fragrance is attractive to us humans, mosquitoes and other bugs are sure to flea.  


Flickr/Matthew Allard

While testing plant extracts with known medicinal attributes, scientists found that certain leaf extracts including Ocimum canum (african basil), Ocimum sanctum (holy basil) and Rhinacanthus nasutus (snake jasmine) can be strong, long-lasting repellents.

Lemon Eucalyptus


As previously mentioned in the best bug sprays for protecting your skin this summer, lemon eucalyptus oil is a dermatologist-suggested repellent for people who have negative skin reactions to products including chemicals such as DEET.



Citronella has become one of the most popular oil repellents on the market today. You can find it in your candles, bracelets, or even buy a plant to deter insects. While Citronella has proven not to last as long as some repellents, an article in BioMed Central states, “Recently, the use of nanotechnology has allowed slower release rates of oils to be achieved, thus prolonging protection time.”


Flickr/Cindy Zackowitz

A recent study at Hainan Medical College, found Lotus, or Nelumbo nucifera, to be effective in killing mosquito larvae and provide protection between 30 and 150 minutes. And as noted in our tips for keeping bugs away from your summer BBQ, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you add some Lotus plants to your pond, you will add beauty and protection to your yard.

Black Pepper

Flickr/Scot Nelson

The same study found black pepper, or Piper nigrum to have the same protective qualities as the lotus plant. It resulted in the conclusion that both pepper and lotus are among leaf and seed extracts that have the potential to be used as an eco-friendly approach in controlling mosquitoes.


Flickr/Martin LaBar

While soybean was proven in The New England Journal of Medicine not to be as effective in the mean complete protection-time as DEET, it did protect against mosquito bites for an average of 94.6 minutes. This mean-time was much higher than some other natural repellents.