Does Lemongrass Repel Mosquitoes? Important Facts

Mosquitoes are annoying and sometimes even carry dangerous diseases. No wonder many people want to get rid of them. But it’s not always easy to find the right way. It can be tempting to reach for a store-bought insect repellent, but many other options may be safer and more effective. Now there’s a lot of talk about Lemongrass and its insecticidal potential. Which begs the question: Does lemongrass repel mosquitoes?

Cymbopogon Citratus or Lemongrass is a tropical plant that grows all over Asia and Africa. Lemongrass contains citral, geraniol, citronellol, and limonene in its essential oils. These compounds have insecticidal properties that make them effective at keeping mosquitoes away from their target.

Let us dive more into lemongrass and its benefits. 

Lemongrass is a mainly used herb that can be found in most tropical and subtropical countries. It is a perennial grass with stiff stems that produce a citrus aroma and has a wide variety of culinary and medicinal uses. It can also be used to make teas, infusions, and essential oils for aromatherapy.

How Effective Is Lemongrass as a Mosquito Repellent?

Some of the components of Cymbopogon Citratus ( Lemongrass) are effective at repelling mosquitoes. In one study, citronellal, geraniol, and citral were identified as the compounds responsible for most of the insecticidal activity of lemongrass oil. Citronellal showed the highest activity against Aedes aegypti, an important vector of dengue fever.

Lemongrass mainly consists of Citral. Citral is a mixture of two isomeric organic compounds, neral, and geranial. These compounds are responsible for the characteristic lemon-like aroma of lemongrass oil. It has potent antimicrobial, antifungal and insecticidal properties.

In an experiment of citral against Culex quinquefasciatus, a mosquito species that transmit West Nile virus, it was found that citral showed a 96% mortality rate at 0.1% concentration and a 99% mortality rate at 0.5%. 

Citral is also effective against the malaria-transmitting Anopheles darlingi mosquito. It is mostly compared to DEET (diethyltoluamide) in its effectiveness. However, citral does not have any toxicity for mammals and humans at the concentration found in lemongrass oil.

How Do You Use Lemongrass for Mosquitoes?

There are several ways that you can use lemongrass for mosquitoes. Here are some of the most common ways:

Plant and Pot

One of the easiest ways is to plant it in your vicinity. Lemongrass is a hardy plant that can grow well in most parts of the world. Planting it near your house will not only help keep mosquitoes away but also add to the beauty of your surroundings. It can be placed indoors or outdoors with very minimal care and maintenance. Just be mindful of the climate that your lemongrass is being exposed to.

If you’re planting it outdoors, make sure that the area is well-drained and has plenty of sunlight. You can also add some fresh lemongrass sprouts in your backyard as they are known to work well as natural mosquito repellents.


Spray Away

If you don’t have a green thumb and want to combat mosquitoes, you can use a natural mosquito repellent spray. Using the plant itself, collect clusters of lemongrass leaves the more the better. Prepare 500 ml of water and boil it in a pot. Add the lemongrass leaves to the boiling water and allow it to simmer until the water turns yellow. Some people add whole garlic in the batch for more efficacy.

Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool down. Filter out all of the plant matter using a strainer or cheesecloth before pouring your formula into a spray bottle. Spray this onto your skin or wherever you want to keep mosquitoes away from you.

You can also make a mosquito spray using lemongrass or citronella oil. Yes, citronella oil is from lemongrass. It’s a popular ingredient in many natural mosquito repellent products, and it’s easy to find online or at your local health food store.

To make your citronella spray, you will need witch hazel oil (or carrier oil of your choice), citronella oil or lemongrass essential oil, vodka, and water. You’ll also need a spray bottle to store it in. 

In a 100 ml spray bottle pour in 5 ml of your carrier oil. Add 15 ml vodka and 60 ml water. It is advised to use distilled water if possible. Add 25 drops of citronella oil or lemongrass essential oil and shake well to combine. You can also incorporate lavender essential oil if you want to make it smell more appealing. Spray on clothing, skin, and hair as needed.

Make a Lemongrass Oil Lamp

A lemongrass oil lamp is a great alternative to citronella candles. Lemongrass oil provides a natural, chemical-free way to ward off mosquitoes. To make your lemongrass oil lamp, you will need Lemongrass leaves, lemongrass essential oil or citronella oil (optional), carrier oil, a glass container (like an old candle jar), and some wicking material (like cotton string).

First, cut the leaves into smaller pieces and boil them with your chosen carrier oil for about 20 minutes. You can add a few drops of lemongrass or citronella oil to make it smell better if desired. Let the mixture cool, then strain out the leaves using a cloth. Pour your strained oil into an old candle jar, and place wicks into each corner.

Why Do Mosquitoes Hate Lemongrass?

Mosquitoes are attracted to human body odors, including sweat, breath, and even the carbon dioxide we exhale. Mosquitoes hate lemongrass and for good reason.

Lemongrass oil has a strong smell that helps repel mosquitoes because it masks the host’s natural scents. The citral mixture in the Lemongrass acts as a repellent by disrupting mosquito olfactory receptors from detecting lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This makes it difficult for mosquitoes to find their next prey.

With the accessibility and the benefits of Lemongrass, it is no wonder that many homeowners are choosing to add this plant to their landscape. Clearly, Lemongrass is a nuisance to pests but for homeowners, it is a gift.

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