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Does Rosemary Repel Mosquitoes? Plant-Based Repellent in Detail

The market offers a wide variety of mosquito repellents based on distinct plants. Herbal-based solutions always seem credible to customers, especially when it comes to products applied directly to the skin. Nowadays, we are more environmentally conscious and pay more attention to global issues except for the price and expiration date. In this article, I will explain whether herbal remedies are a marketing trick or a way to care for your health and the environment. I will answer the main question: Does rosemary repel mosquitoes?

Guide on How to Use Rosemary to Repel Mosquitoes

Here are the basic principles of rosemary-based means regardless of their formula:

  • Apply them only to the exposed skin and clothing;
  • Do not use such products on the areas around your eyes and mouth;
  • Do not spray them on the face;
  • Neither inhale a spray nor use it on food.

rosemary on a plate

Does Rosemary Oil Repel Mosquitoes: Brief Research

Like all herbal remedies, rosemary is unlikely to be as effective as DEET. However, natural products are often chosen not because of their high efficiency but due to their safety for human health. Let’s start with the effectiveness of plant-based products.

According to the research on mosquito prevention, the most effective was one of the products that contained soybean, geranium, and coconut oils. Its repellent effect lasted more than three hours. Other studies with citronella, geranium, basil, garlic, and peppermint gave less lasting results (about two hours or less). Rosemary showed repellency effectiveness for up to an hour and a half at concentrations of 1, 2.5, and 5 mg/cm2. Thus, herbal remedies are considered to be effective but do not expect them to last as long as DEET because oil is in-between effective mosquito repellents and your safety.

How to Use Rosemary to Repel Mosquitoes?

If none of the ready-to-use products seems reliable to you, there are simple recipes for homemade repellents. All these solutions are divided into two groups: The first is based on the essential oil, and the second contains dried herbs. They rarely consist of a single ingredient, so I recommend adding other plants to rosemary for a longer effect. Here is one of the recipes you might like to try:

  1. Add 1 cup of dried rosemary to a quart (32 ounces) of water.
  2. Boil it for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Add a quart of cool water.
  4. Pour the blend into squirt bottles and apply it directly to the skin and outdoor pets.
  5. Store the unused portions in the refrigerator until the strong rosemary scent wears off.

ground rosemary

Is It Effective?

Does rosemary deter mosquitoes? To answer this question, you need to understand the mechanism of how repellent plants work, so I will use some terminology. All plants that can repel insects are divided into three groups, according to their actionable principle:

  • the first affects the nerve endings of mosquito olfactory organs and prevents insects from choosing an object for nutrition;
  • the second spoils the taste and smell in direct contact with the treated surface;
  • the third type neutralizes or destroys natural odors that attract these pests.

Such plants do not affect mosquitoes directly but make you unappealing to them. Speaking about the effect of plant-based insect repellents on mosquitoes, scientists claim that rosemary has repelling capacities, reducing attractive signals such as kairomones, water vapor, and temperature.

FAQ About Rosemary Mosquito Repellent

After summarizing the rosemary plant mosquito repellent effect, let’s move on to practical issues. Here are the questions that might arise after you decide to grow rosemary in your garden.

What is the best plant to keep mosquitoes away?

Lemon eucalyptus is considered the best plant to keep mosquitoes away as it has the same level of effectiveness as low-concentrated DEET. Other mosquito repellents showed lower results, in particular, the effect of rosemary oil lasted for about an hour.

Which insects does rosemary attract?

Although rosemary is not the best plant for repelling mosquitoes, the good news is that it brings pollinators to your garden. Rosemary attracts a variety of bee species (mason bees, bumblebees, mining bees, honey bees) and butterflies, primarily swallowtails.

bumblebee on flowers

What can you not plant near rosemary?

It is necessary to choose the right plants as neighbors for rosemary in your garden. For example, mint and basil require completely different treatment; however, you can grow lavender next to rosemary since it is often used in mosquito sprays.

Rosemary Mosquito Repellent: Safety Is First

Most mosquito species can’t significantly harm humans, but some can spread diseases. In this article, I’ve focused on the effectiveness of rosemary and mentioned other herbs with repellent properties. Does rosemary keep mosquitoes away? It has shown a medium rate of effectiveness: The effect lasts nearly an hour. Although DEET products provide better results, herbal remedies are considered safer for the skin and airways. If safety is your priority, do not expect fantastic results: Natural recipes rarely last long. Which effective methods of mosquito control do you know? Please, share them in the comments.

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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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