Outdoor Summer Pest Prevention (mosquitos and ants)

 in Garden

When it’s summer I know all you want to do is enjoy the patio, garden or any outdoor space you have, but then the little flying blood suckers come. Living in the tropics I have to compete with mosquitos to enjoy my outdoor space most of the year, but summertime is also my rainy season and mosquitos get the worst. Here there is no messing around with hacks and candles that don’t work because of the infectious diseases that mosquitoes can carry. I’ve spent time researching and applying the best techniques for dealing with the mosquito population. 

Preventing Mosquitos

  1. It’s obvious you should remove anything that holds water or make sure to turn them out often so mosquitoes don’t multiply there. If you need the standing water for some reason (say rain catching) then add some kitchen oil to it to help smother the eggs and larva.
    (thanks to a friend for teaching me that tip!)
  2. Keeping the grass trimmed and neat will also go a long way, but I have a rocky weedy backyard and sometimes it’s hard to manage alone. When I can’t pull the weeds I trim them with hedge cutters to keep them short(ish).
  3. Many pages will suggest removing all dead or fallen leaves and I agree that mosquitoes can live in dry leaves, but I never remove mine. I think leaves have a benefit to the soil and other bugs who live in them so instead I use my cheap organic spray below to treat my ground, paths and buildings for mosquito prevention. I move all my leaves to be around the trees or into beds to keep the problem more manageable instead of all over the place.
  4. When all the above fails, because mosquitos don’t care, my homemade outdoor mosquito prevention repellant (recipe below) has been treating me right and I’ve been using it 2 times weekly (every 3rd day or so)  to garden in peace. 

Added bonus this spay also helps prevent the dreaded leaf cutter ants that plague us because they can’t stand the smell of clove or citrus (sweet orange is the best for this specific pest, but any citrus will do). You can also add cinnamon when you boil this up if your goal is to keep away the leaf cutters. 

Homemade Outdoor Repellent Spray
to Prevent Mosquitos and Other Pests

This recipe makes a concentrate that should be diluted 1:1 with regular water when applied.
Keeps 2 weeks in the fridge (don’t ask how I learned that one) but I found it is best used immediately. 

Time needed:
1-5 minutes prep
5-10 minutes boiling
8 hours soaking

Spray Ingredients

For every 2 Liters of desired concentrate 
Used peels of 4-6 Limes (or other citrus fruit)
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 Tablespoon ground star anise 
1Tablespoon kitchen oil
1 Tablespoon neem oil (optional) 


1. Use the 4-6 limes to make lemonade or homemade fabric whitener and reserve the peels. 

2. Boil the peels in 2.5 liters of water with the 1 Tablespoon cloves and 1 Tablespoon star anise for 5-10 minutes.

3. Allow to cool and soak overnight.

4. After 8 or more hours stain the liquid concentration and place in a spray bottle with equal parts water.
Note: I use the complete 2 liters because I have a large spray pump, but if you have only a small spray bottle dilute your concentration 1:1 accordingly. You can also apply this using a watering can if you don’t have a hose or pressure pump to spray with. 

5. For the 2 liters of concentration mixed with 2 liters of water you need 1Tablespoon of kitchen oil (this helps smother any mosquito eggs that may exist and keeps working even when the smell fades away) If you are only using 1 liter of concentration with 1 liter of water you only need ½ Tablespoon of oil. Measure according to your concentration amount that fits into your application device. 

6. Add the neem oil if using, neem is a proven insect repellent and natural garden pesticide but is optional. The smelly stuff in this is what’s most important.  

7. Spray on your paths, outside of garden beds, around trees and on or around your patio and buildings. Pay special attention to where people will be most and apply the spray there. 

Notes on bees: This spray will not harm your plants, but it is best to NOT spray plants with this as the smell of cloves and anise is also unpleasant to bees and other pollinators. If they smell this spray they won’t visit your flowers or pollinate your pumpkins. I use this on patios, building and pathways and it has been very effective in preventing mosquitos and ants. 

How often to apply:  I apply this 1 day before I plan to garden and during mosquito season when I’m worried about dengue or other infectious disease every 3 days. 

If you need or want a video explanation I did one on Instagram and you can see it in my highlighted stories by following @nik.of.thyme one day maybe I’ll learn how to use Youtube… I know it’s important in the gardening world but I’m not ready for another commitment just yet.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Sherry Fauscett

    Thanks for sharing. I will definitely try this!

    • Nik

      May your yard be mosquito free and full of bbq all summer long!

  • Dave Allison

    Thanks for the solution and other great suggestions and directions.

    • Nik

      No problem, I’m glad you liked it. Hope you can try this and enjoy your garden all season long.

  • Marianna

    Is there any method to get rid of flies? We have so many, all of them rush in the house every time we open the door. Thank you!

    • Nik

      I have used hanging bags of water, the reflecting light keeps them away.

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