Summer is here and so are those pesky mosquitoes. The stores have stocked their garden centers with citronella, lemongrass and other lemon scented plants in hopes that homeowners will buy them to deter mosquitoes from their outdoor living spaces.

Save yourself some money and don’t purchase them strictly for mosquito control. They do not work!

The only way these plants will work is if you crush the leaves and rub them all over your skin. However, they do add a nice fragrance to your outdoor space.

The best way to repel mosquitoes is to remove any standing water. Water can collect in many spaces you might not think of. Magnolias with their waxy leaves can hold water, as do French drains, plant saucers, gutters, etc.

If you have any drains that don’t drain well, you can place mosquito dunks in them. They kill mosquito larvae which helps keep them from breeding. The dunks usually come in a pack of four or six, though you only need a piece of the dunk for most areas of water.

If you have a bird bath, be sure to change the water every other day, or add a dripper to it.

As always, try to stay inside during late afternoon to dusk when the mosquitos are most active. If you’re having an evening outdoor get together, place some fans around. Fans actually blow the mosquitoes away. They’re effective and keep the air moving.

Also, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeves. If you choose to use bug spray, you’ll want to know that the more effective sprays are those that contain DEET.

Enjoy your summer outdoors, but be mindful of those pesky mosquitoes!

Sarah E. Brodd

Sarah E. Brodd is a Natural Resource Agent for UGA Extension in DeKalb County.