5 Unlikely Repellents That Can Deter Mosquitoes

Mosquito Repellant

As we gear up toward warmer temperatures here in the Carolinas that also means mosquito season is coming. With the infamous heat and humidity here in the South, we all know just how bad the mosquitoes can get during spring and summer. Not to mention, the other critters the heat will bring out. Fear not, our mosquito control professionals are here to help protect you from these swarms of mosquitoes. While we all know about mosquito repellants and barrier treatments, are there ways we can repel mosquitoes with items we already have in the house? Well, our mosquito control professionals discuss five unlikely repellents that can deter mosquitoes. 

Tightly Woven Fabric

Clothing is a great physical barrier between your skin and mosquitoes. However, not all clothing is created equal. Athletic clothing that is typically worn outside does not provide much protection as mosquitoes can bite right through them due to the material and how tight the clothes are. Opt for looser fabrics that are tightly woven like denim, nylon, and polyester. These should be long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and closed-toe shoes for the most coverage and protection. Some studies have suggested that light-colored clothing deters mosquitoes more effectively than dark or bright colors as well. While we know clothes protect you, choose your clothing wisely for the best protection.

Air Conditioning

Who knew you could stay cool while also deterring mosquitoes? A southern summer miracle! Air conditioning does more than just keep you comfortable during warmer weather, it also inhibits mosquito activity. Mosquitoes can’t regulate their own body temperature and are therefore very sensitive to the environmental temperature. As temperatures rise mosquitoes become more energetic but when temperatures fall, especially room temperature, mosquitoes become less active and less likely to bite. Additionally, the air movement that air conditioning provides a disruption to the carbon dioxide gas trail mosquito follows. Mosquitoes identify their prey by detecting the release of carbon dioxide, this is how they detect the presence of humans as our respiratory system inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide. When air conditioning is running the cool and dry air circulates around the room making it hard for mosquitoes to “find” us. This also works if you turn on a fan as well. The high levels of air circulation disorient the mosquito’s senses. 


Grapefruit is another highly effective mosquito deterrent. A naturally occurring chemical found in this tart fruit called nootkatone is responsible for the distinctive odor and taste of grapefruit and is quite repugnant to mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests as well. Nootkatone is commonly used in both the food and fragrance industries. The deputy director of vector-borne diseases at the CDC, Ben Beard, told the New York Times that the mechanics of how nootkatone works are, “not known in great detail.” However, we do know that in large enough quantities, insects essentially, “twitch to death,” when in the presence of this chemical. There is a clear distinction between eating grapefruits and the smell of the grapefruits. While a delicious breakfast option, when using grapefruit for mosquito repellant try and rely on just scent and oil. 

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

While lemon eucalyptus may sound like some sort of fancy essential oil, it is actually oil extracted from the Australian plant, Corymbia citriodora, also known as lemon-scented gum. OLE is derived from the leaves of lemon eucalyptus trees and then chemically synthesized. It is often found in lotions or perfumes but was proven to work as an effective mosquito repellent as well. In 2000, the EPA approved OLE as an insecticide. Please note that OLE extract is not the same as the lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Although lovely, this essential oil isn’t effective as a mosquito repellent. 

Victoria’s Secret Bombshell Perfume

Yes, you read that correctly. This hack went viral on Tiktok last summer, however, there is a 2015 academic study to back up this claim. The study tested eight common insect repellents alongside the Bombshell perfume and found that the perfume was shown to repel mosquitoes for as long as two hours. Scientists found that this specific scent acted as a form of “camouflage,” for humans as we exhale carbon dioxide. So while Bombshell did seem to deter mosquitoes, it’s important to note that participants in the study applied about 5 times the standard amount of perfume. At doses this high, you may deter more people than you do mosquitoes. We don’t recommend throwing out all your mosquito repellent for this perfume but it is an interesting deterrent. 

If you find yourself to be a mosquito magnet, these unlikely repellents may help you deter mosquitoes. This can be especially useful as we approach mosquito season and temperatures start to warm up here in the Carolinas. Did we miss any of your favorite mosquito repellents? Let us know or feel free to contact us today for a free inspection of your property! Our professional mosquito control experts are here to help. 

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