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gone cuttin
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I have had great success with essential oils and mixing my own sprays. We use both of these on ourselves and our horses:

For mosquitoes: 5 drops Palo Santo in 16oz spray bottle filled with water and 1tsp. Thieves Household Cleaner (or any liquid soap). Most users find as good results as commercial DEET sprays!

Bug Spray: 3 drops each: Dill, Idaho Tansy, Lemon, Palo Santo & peppermint. Mix in 1 qt. spray bottle filled with water and 1tsp. Thieves Household leaner.
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Greywolf
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What is the best way to extract oils from plants like this that I grow?

I know - I could always do a websearch for it, but if it is said here it makes THIS PLACE on the web that much BETTER!
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rainbowgardener
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You can make what I call a flavored oil very easily. Take a glass jar and stuff it with your leaves, mint or rosemary or whatever, packed in. Then fill the jar with a good neutral salad oil (not olive oil, something with less flavor of its own). Put it on a sunny window sill and let it sit for a week or so. Strain the leaves out and then repeat with fresh leaves but the same oil.

But if you want true essential oils, I think the only way is a little still. You can get small distillation set ups on line for pretty inexpensive. Santa brought me one for Christmas, but I have yet to use it, because all the herbs were dried by then. Soon though!
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Greywolf wrote:I don't think I have ever been mosquito bit around areas where oranges, lemons, and limes grow in abundance....

(All of the above are considered "CITRUS" fruits, also grapefruit and some others)

THINK ABOUT IT! Isn't that true?

(Personally observed)
Though there is always an exception- citrus fruits are a major crop here in Spain but we still have major mozzie issues. Wondering though maybe if the issue here is causing by the ancient watering systems still used locally which water can stand in for a while making a perfect mozzie breeding ground.

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A few goldfish in any standing water eliminate that issue pretty quick; any good aquaculture will deal with this issue...

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applestar
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Yep. Feeder goldfish and what they call "minnows" are really inexpensive at pet shops like PetSmart. The "minnows" stay smaller -- about 2" after a full season, compared to the goldfish that grew to about 3". I even had one minnow each in 6" and 8" containers growing rice plants. Got a nod of approval from the County Mosquito inspector too (long story detailed elsewhere in the forum).

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I have often wondered if a pond or small pool with minnows or even sport fish would be a good idea.

I have known people before who brought home live trout, bass or catfish and kept them in something like that - or even a large aquarium - until they were what they considered "Ripe Eating Size". Aside from feeding them in other ways, it was not unusual for a mosquito zapper to be hung out over the end of a small dock so that the fish would gain the fallen bugs as a dietary supplement so to speak...

One old friend of mine in the Sarasota Florida area had an arrangement like that, and everytime the bug zapper flashed you could see the fish making ripples around it on the surface of the water.

In Arizona, on the north side of I-8 is a small town I can't remember the name of where there is a Trout Farm (or there was anyway) made of metal troughs over a hundred fifty feet long with fish food machines (like bubblegum machines, but for a nickle they sold a handful of fish food) that was free for the public to visit. I think it's withing fifty miles or closer to the California/Arizona line. It may have been I-40, it's been a long while

Strange to see huge schools of fish living in tanks with seperators like that...
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When I was raising fish during the summer I would throw a bunch of fry in a wading pool and not feed a thing and they grew to be three times the size of tank raised unless I was feeding frozen prepared foods or brine shrimp (still twice as big as those)...

Fish: Nature's mosquito control...

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cherlynn
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My daughter has had an ongoing problem with Mosquitos. Last year she sprayed a garlic spray...listed to be natural...around her yard. Seems like something easy enough to make. In fact, I believe I saw it mentioned in another thread...here it is:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24347&highlight=garlic+spray
cherlynn

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Get a Thermacell and plenty of refill packages. Those things are worth their weight in gold for repelling bugs. I've sat in plenty of super bug infested areas during hunting season and the Thermacell will keep virtually anything at bay.

https://www.mosquitorepellent.com/

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I am one of those people who just gets eaten alive by mosquitoes, so naturally I had to search for a thread like this!

I use Citronella candles on my patio, but the scent makes my stomach cramp and hurt. I am not sure why. It's not that it makes me nauseous, but it literally makes me get stomach pains and my throat feels odd. I always remember having it happen whenever we would be using anything citronella when I was growing up.

I am going to try some of these alternatives, because Citronella and I don't get along too well!

I wonder if it's an allergy??

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No, it's not an allergy; an allergic reaction involves the release of histamines, which are directly implicated in inflammation. Anti-histamine medications, including those sold over-the-counter, can be helpful.

What you describe sounds like a chemical reaction (I've had enough of them to recognize at least one set of symptoms, unfortunately). I just went to the website of one citronella candle manufacturer and found--as usual--that 0.5% of the item is "Oil of citronella." The other 99.5% of the compound, termed "inert ingredients," are specified. However, the three listed "inert ingredients" seem unlikely to be the whole story: "Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Paraffin Wax [sic]."

Often, what we react to is something unrevealed in the "inert" ingredients, perhaps a volatile organic compound (VOC) or other potentially toxic compound. Toxicity is dose-dependent, but many people have thresholds lower than the regulations admit for a chemical reaction. (Canada is phasing out citronella as an insecticide due to toxicity data-gap concerns, according to Wikipedia; the European Union phased out all use of citronella as an insect repellent in 2006.)

I've dealt with VOCs as well as I can in my own home, but am at the mercy of others whenever I go out in public: perfumes, after-shave lotions, quick-light BBQ briquets in the neighbors' yards--anything like these can bring on either a "two-inhale" migraine or a respiratory "freeze" where I can neither inhale nor exhale. The respiratory "freeze" isn't asthma (one of my sisters had asthma all of our childhood), and it's not anything I can re-create in the doctor's office, either, to help her make a diagnosis. But it's definitely a reaction to chemicals; it's too immediate to be anything else.

Surely Native Americans/First Nations people had protection against mosquitoes. I wonder what it was?

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rainbowgardener
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Oil of geranium is actually a better repellant than citronella and perhaps less likely to aggravate sensitivities (though I can't say that for sure). There's s lots of products around now based on it like geraniol impregnated wristbands. I used to have a little thing for our deck that was a geraniol cake with a little fan blowing across it. It worked quite well if you set it up a half hr or so before you went out, to give a little time for the scent to accumulate. I would like to find it again.
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Where would I go to find oil of geranium? I think I would like that better than oil of garlic.
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If you just google geraniol mosquito repellant, you will find lots of products based on it. Or search on geranium oil and you can get the pure essential oil. Soak a pad with it and put it over a candle/ lantern/ light bulb, where it will get warmed but not burned. That will diffuse the scent. Or use an oil diffuser (like the reed types).
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Has anyone planted lemon balm? My mother had lemon balm but I don't recall smelling it unless you picked some of the leaves off or rubbed your fingers through it.

I am doing some research on plants that give off a lemon/citrus smell without having to be crushed or anything. So far I've found people recommend lemon balm, daphne odora, and lemon verbena.

I wonder if any of these will be effective at keeping mosquitoes away?

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Hm just looked up daphne odora and all parts of the plants are poisonous and the sap can even irritate some people.

Probably want to stay away from that one. :roll:

I think I am going to try lemon verbena, lemon balm, and maybe some lemon basil.

Haha we will see!

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I heard that carrying around a dryer sheet (citrus scented), works. I haven't tried it.
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I grow lemon scented geranium - often miss labled as a citronella plant. The leaves rubbed on your skin especially at pressure points helps a lot. When I was a child my parents would load the bunch of us into the station wagon and take us to the drive in movies. Mosquitoes were a bane. Dad always had "picks" which were set on the hood of the car and on the ground around it. This is a coil shaped thing that you light and burn. REALLY works.

The biggest issue is avoiding breeding ground for the buggers. No pot saucers. Bird baths cleaned every 2 days. No standing water anywhere.

G has electronic mosquito repelents that he uses in the woods when hunting and swears by.

In south Louisiana mosquitos are large enough to be the state bird.
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There is no such thing as a plant you can grow, even as a hedge, that will keep mosquitos out of your garden just by being there. Mosquitos fly and they will just fly over it.

There are a number of plants that have repellant qualities when crushed or in their essential oils. That would include citronella, and all the citrus-y plants you named, geranium, tansy, yarrow and other aromatics. You can put geranium oil or other essential oils on a pad and put it over a candle to diffuse it and it will help keep mosquitos away from an area like a deck.
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I'll have to experiment. While there is no standing water around my apartment's patio, I live a few feet away from a creek and there's sure to be standing water down there because I live in eastern NC which tends to be swampy.

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I planted lemon balm, which spreads like wildfire, along the back of the kids' swing set/fort/slide under the oak tree. (dry shade). Every time they are trampled, they release their lemony scent, but they come back every year. :twisted:

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I try to have pennyroyal in a couple of containers. When out can rub a few leaves on legs/arms (we're talking summer, not cold March!). Also I have a box fan on the deck and porch, and when enjoying that space just turn it on.
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Bt works. It also helps to go out with a bottle of dishwashing liquid and put a few drops into the cups of bromeliads and any puddles that you find that you cannot drain. The dishwashing liquid break the surface tension of the water and mosquitoes larvae drown.

Otherwise, mosquito punks work best for area control.

Most of the lemon scented herbs are said to control mosquitoes to some extent. None of them work well unless you crush the leaves and can smell them. There are some organic based oils available for personal protection.

Citrossa, the mosquito plant has great propaganda, but I read a study that said that lemon thyme and lemon grass were more effective, but DEET was still no. 1.

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/news ... ragon.html
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Sometimes, I grab a sprig of lemonbalm, rosemary, lemongrass, geranium, mint, etc. crumple/crush/roll them between my palms into a ball, dab it on my neck like I'm putting on perfume, and then tuck the remaining herbal blob inside my clothing (I won't say where but women have the advantage :wink: ) Then make more and tuck those inside my shoes, finishing by rubbing my hands on other exposed skin areas. :mrgreen:
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

As the temperatures warm the mosquitoes swarm in south Louisiana. In an earlier post I mentioned the le,n scented geranium and other poster referred to other plants that help but the leaves do have to be crushes and rubbed on your skin to work. When I originally replied G was out of town and I forgot to ask him about the gadget he uses in the woods. It is a Thermacell. I think jmoore mentioned it. One unit will keep a 15'x15' area clear of mosquitoes, black flies and noseeums. There is no open flame or odor. He has a portable unit that he can clip to his belt or hang from his deer stand. That would be great when working in the yard. They also have lantern units. I have not looked at them yet but I want to see if a battery operated candle can be inserted to provide a glow. If so that would look nice hanging from the patio cover or set on a table. I like the idea of no odor and nothing on the skin. Available at Walmart or any sporting goods outlet. BTW I have walked through the woods where G hunts. I could see black clouds of mosquitoes swarming outside the effective perimeter of the unit but did not get a single bite from the monsters.
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ElizabethB
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

After talking to G this AM about the Termacell he came home this afternoon with one of the lantern types. It is 7 1/2" tall without the hanger. There are 8 LED lights in the base that run off of 4 AA batteries. Gives a nice glow. The chemical wafer fits on the top and the butane cartrige screws into that. Too cool for mosquitoes tonight but will test it out in the next day or 2. It really looks good. The body is a dark aged bronze colored plastic. The sides are frosted plastic to look like frosted glass. Really better looking than I expected. HMMMM think I like this. No odor and no need to put anything on my skin.

Thanks to my Honey I won't get eaten up by mosquitoes, black flies or noseeums.

:-()
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Thermacell is not an Organic Mosquito Solution.

I want to post a note about ElizabethB's suggestion of Thermacell. Thermacell is a popular product used by hunters and anglers for repelling mosquitoes. Thermacell works by spreading a cloud of insecticide call Allethrin.

Thermacell is not an organic solution to mosquitoes. There are a number of scientific papers about this class of insecticide. Here is a summary of those studies as posted on Wikipedia:
The allethrins are a pair of related synthetic compounds used in insecticides. They are synthetic pyrethroids, a synthetic form of a chemical found naturally in the chrysanthemum flower. They were first synthesized in the United States by Milton S. Schechter in 1949. Allethrin was the first pyrethroid.

The compounds have low toxicity for humans and birds, and are used in many household insecticides such as RAID as well as mosquito coils. They are, however, highly toxic to fish and bees.
From this scientific fact sheet:
https://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/pyrethrins.pdf
Pyrethrins are highly toxic to fish and tadpoles. They
affect their skin touch receptors and balance organs
(4).
• Pyrethrins are toxic to beneficial insect (such as
honeybees) and many aquatic invertebrates (4).

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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

All the lemon talks makes me wonder if maybe just lemon juice would work. Safe for the skin and cheap enough to dump all over lol.
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

You could maybe use frozen concentrate or bottled lemon juice (do they still have those in cute lemon shaped plastic bottles?) I would totally use fresh lemon juice if I lived where I could grow a lemon tree or two or three.... :D

There is a recipe for sliced whole lemon and sprigs of rosemary poured over with boiling water then steeped overnight. Supposed to be great for no-seeums. not sure about mosquitoes.

That swing set area -- I forgot to mention I also let garlic mustard "naturalize" there. And we were talking about garlic greens and I'd mentioned garlic chives. I don't want garlic mustard around the house, but maybe I'll scatter garlic chive seeds all along the edge of the patio 8) I actually already have a lot of "excess" self seeded garlic chives in the garden that I could transplant.

I don't know if onion smell would also help but Egyptian walking onions are amazingly hardy. They grow through the winter, and its almost impossible to kill the top sets. I found a new clump of onions growing in the thick turf about a foot outside one of the garden beds. Apparently I dropped some of the top sets least year/fall?. :roll:

Right now, with frost warnings still being announced here and there, lemon balm, mints, garlic mustard, garlic chives, and egyptian onions are all growing like mad. So they will be in full growth by the time mosquito season arrives, whereas geraniums, lemon verbena, or lemon grass will just be getting started.

Lemon eucalyptus has been touted as "more effective than deet". I wonder if there are anything other than eucalyptus that has the "eucalyptus" scent?

I have switched my body soap from cocoa/shea butter and mango moisturizing winter soap to to lemon grass/lemon verbena summer soap, and will be combining with eucalyptus soap soon (I stick the two bars together). I'm making a new batch of rosemary scented shampoo (I just stuff the shampoo bottle with rosemary sprigs and fill with unscented kids shampoo.) this year, I think I'll make rosemary and lemongrass shampoo. 8)
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Applestar, I told my fiance about you planting lemon balm near your swing set, and we agreed that that was a great idea! The house we bought has a few healthy clumps in the front flower bed. We decided we could dig a few up and put them out back near our deck. His idea is to hit them with the mower or weed sacked if we plan to spend long periods of time out there. I hope that works! Thanks for the idea!-FGT
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

I was watching recorded this week's episode of Elementary, and Holms who in this incarnation is an avid bee hobbyist was telling Watson that the assassin had established an Africanized bee colony on a jogging route of his severely allergic target to be attacked and stung to death, probably by using lemongrass oil as lure.

...so I had to look it up:
Lemon Grass
Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromone. Because of this lemon grass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees. Be warned, however, that lemon grass oil can cause a robbing behavior if it is used within or on a weak hive.
https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Beekeeping ... ntial_Oils
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Interesting! But lemon grass is more intensely lemony than lemon balm. And lemon grass oil is the concentrated essence of the lemon grass. So rest assured, your lemon balm will not lure in swarms of bees - I have tons of the stuff. Bees do like their flowers, but they don't come in swarms, just the occasional one or two.
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Oh yes. I should have said I haven't had any problems.
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ElizabethB
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Just a comment. Commercially produced citronella oil and citronella candles are not technically organic. In addition to the inert ingredients the essential oil is a synthetic produced in a lab and not extracted from plants.
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

I won't claim this as organic but I was directed to use 1 cup of lemon scented ammonia and 1 cup lemon scented dish liquid into a hose end sprayer and dilute over 20 gallons of water. (about 4 tsp per gallon)

The recommendation called for an application of 3 times a week over the entire lawn to drive the mosquitoes away.

I haven't done it consistently enough to judge it's effectiveness.

I really do need to find something though because we have Asian Tiger Mosquitoes and they are horrible.

Has anyone been able to successfully bring Dragonflies or Damesflies into their environment?
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Yes, you have to catch the dragonflies (big ones go nicely into butterfly nets!) and put in big jars with 'skeeters and some common garden weeds. If you put in enough plants you don't have to poke holes in the lid. Then just wait. Once they get around to breeding you release half of them into the yard, and let the other half breed again. Eventually let them all out. If you have enough skeeters they will stay near your home.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Have you actually done this? How big a "jar"? How long did it take?
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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

Took several months to get rid of al the mosquitoes in the area (a few houses adjacent to mine were also mosquito-free!) but it was worth it; you can use as big a (GLASS!) jar as you will catch dragonflies: less dragonflies-->less breeding-->less offspring-->less space taken.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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Re: ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL

So you've done it? How long did you need to keep the dragonflies in the jar? What kind of jars did you use?

Please describe the process step by step. I would try it if I could understand the whole process.
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