Lavender as mosquito repellent?

Lavender    North Carolina

A person was recently touting Lavender in the garden will keep away mosquitoes. Any shred of proof to this claim?

Posted by: Debbie Cox (2 points) Debbie Cox
Posted: April 1, 2014


I looked for any scientific literature on the topic. I did find some evidence that plants oils including lavender, clove, citronella, yarrow, rosemary and catnip can be used for short term (up to 2 hours) mosquito repellents against a variety of mosquito species. In the South, American beautyberry leaves crushed and rubbed on the skin are a traditional repellent; I know people that swear by it.

However it is a long jump to apply studies about a concentrated distilled essential oil to growing plants in an open space. I grow many of the plants studied and unfortunately have never noticed any reduction in mosquitoes around them.

If someone is looking for a way to avoid manufactured repellents like DEET, I find that a fan works as well as anything when I am sitting outside.

Posted by: Nicole Castle Brookus (21 points) Nicole Castle Brookus
Posted: April 2, 2014

I have a colleague here are Penn State, Dr Matt Thomas, who is a world expert on mosquitoes, their ecology and the disease they carry (malaria). He is always going on about how all the products sold to repeal mosquitoes from spaces like gardens and decks are completely untested. For example, the citronella candles. Of course, citronella does repeal mosquitoes, as I am sure many compounds in lavender do. But how much is needed to create a strong barrier, such that they stay out of your garden/deck. There is no data on how much is needed.

There is data on the use of fans, which Nicole mentioned.

Here is a NYT piece on it http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/sci...

And the original paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14...

Posted by: David Hughes (54 points) David Hughes
Posted: April 2, 2014

Growing lavender won't keep mosquitoes out of the garden. However, when I'm in the garden at dusk and mosquitoes are biting, I often rub some lavender leaves on my face and arms -- even in my hair! Once I do that, I don't get any more bites, though I don't know if it'd be effective for longer than the hour I'm out there. I've also successfully used essential oil of lavender when I was car camping in an area that had clouds of mosquitoes. The strong aroma in a small space kept them out all night.

Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: April 8, 2014

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