Repelling Mosquitoes in the Wild (20 Recipes and Examples)

So you’re going camping and want to learn how to repel those nasty mosquitoes? No problem! Here a few different methods I found that will help you out.

  1. Cover up open skin by wearing long-sleeved clothing
  2. Try using mosquito netting
  3. Light a smoky campfire
  4. Use a mosquito trap
  5. Don’t camp near large bodies of water
  6. Use natural repellents such as plants
  7. Burn citronella leaves
  8. Rub crushed catnip leaves on your skin
  9. Toss some garlic cloves around your camp
  10. Try our recipes for natural mosquito repellents

I’ve come up with tons of more methods on getting rid of mosquitoes. I’ll also be going into exact detail about the recipes passed down from my family. Avoiding mosquitoes is so important, yet so little know how to do it.

Methods to repel mosquitoes while camping

Though we assure great success from our natural ways to repel mosquitoes which you can read more about below, let’s look into some ways that we can optimize our defenses a bit more.

1. Wear long-sleeved clothes

All these methods do not involve any sort of bug spray and are all methods that you can start implementing today with the help of some tools so that you can be one hundred percent mosquito and insect-proof when camping.

By far, this is probably the best tip anyone could ever give you if you wanted to repel mosquitoes in the wild or while camping.

Mosquitoes simply can’t bite you, and once they realize that there’s nothing but pieces of fabric everywhere, they’ll simply leave!

Make sure to always gear up and pack some long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and of course a good pair of boots so that those nasty bugs can’t reach you.

Even with all this protection, however, your face and hands may still be vulnerable, so let’s look into what else we can do to repel mosquitoes in the wild.

2. Set up mosquito nets

I’m in love with mosquito nets and I take them absolutely everywhere I go, and they work excellently.

I just cover my tent with my net and still get to experience the wonderful breeze, view, and atmosphere, but without those nasty mosquitoes trying to bite me.

My personal favorite is the MEKKAPRO Ultra Large Mosquito Net as it is super easy to set up and is quite large, leaving you with tons of space.

Most importantly, however, some of these other mosquito nets are simply made of low-quality materials, so the nasty bugs can still get through, whereas with this net the number of mosquitoes or insects getting in will be zilch.

It works great, and I’ve yet to make any complaints about it, so I’ll keep you guys posted, but for now, this is my personal favorite.

3. Light a campfire

You may think that mosquitoes are attracted to light, however, recent studies have proved that mosquitoes are not attracted to light at all.

Lighting a campfire is actually very beneficial in repelling mosquitoes in the wild because of the smoke it produces.

Mosquitoes hate smoke, so your campfire will be a good defense mechanism to consider when wanting to get rid of mosquitoes and other insects.

The more smoke the better, and if you want to get more smoke coming from your campfire, simply do the opposite of what I talked about in my article on campfire smoke.

Repel mosquitoes with campfire

4. Set up a mosquito trap

I don’t really utilize this method myself, however, I definitely will start doing so as most of my friends use mosquito traps whenever we go camping and it works quite well.

They’re pretty easy to set up and work great in killing not only mosquitoes but other insects as well.

The exact mosquito trap that most of my friends use is the DynaTrap Outdoor Insect Trap, however, ultimately I believe that you don’t really need one of these if you follow at least some of the methods we’ve listed above, and a few of the ones we are yet to list below.

5. Set up basecamp away from large pools of water

Lakes, streams, ponds, and puddles are the perfect location to be in if you want to attract a load of mosquitoes to you.

We highly recommend setting up camp away from pools of water such as the ones listed above, as mosquitoes naturally stick around those areas and will be a huge problem if your camp is in or near one of those places.

Trust your natural camper instinct and take the high ground so that you can be away from these darn bugs.

If you really insist on being in one of those places, then we highly suggest reading down below to see some natural ways you can repel mosquitoes even in those areas.

How to naturally repel mosquitoes with plants?

If you’re already out in the wild and forgot to pack the necessary gear to protect yourself from mosquitoes, fear no more, for we are here to help.

Read below to see a list of plants that you can easily locate in outdoors, which can naturally repel mosquitoes in the wild if you use them properly as we are about to show you.

1. Citronella

Citronella Leaves

Being one of the most common and well-known ingredients in mosquito repellents, you’ve most likely heard of this one before.

In order to use the citronella plant to repel mosquitoes in the wild, there are a few things you can do.

You can either just bring the plant with you and place it around the area where you’re camping, or you can simply burn the leaves.

The scent that it gives off is extremely hated by mosquitoes, so they will immediately leave the nearby area and let you be free.

Personally, I enjoy the smell that the citronella plant gives off when it is burning, as it reminds me of when I was a child and when my mother would put citronella candles on our porch in order to repel mosquitoes (those also work quite well).

2. Catnip

Catnip Leaves

Another extremely common and well-known plant for repelling mosquitoes, you can identify the Catnip plant by its heart-shaped leaves.

It is part of the mint family, and as you may know, mint is also effective in repelling mosquitoes if you are out in the wild and cannot find anything else.

The way to properly use catnip to repel mosquitoes is either by crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your skin, or just hanging its leaves around your tent or camp.

The smell gives off is also extremely horrific to mosquitoes, so you can be sure that they will leave at all costs.

3. Sage


Isn’t it only used for cooking? That’s what I thought as well, however, after doing some research, it turns out that the sage plant can be extremely effective in repelling mosquitoes as well.

It’s quite common in the wild, and when you do find it, I suggest grabbing a handful and tying it together with a rubber band or some strings.

Do this until you get a few handfuls, and later, if you notice lots of mosquitoes simply burn it.

Sage is one of the most effective natural repellents, and the smell it will give off once it is burning should keep you absolutely free of mosquitoes for a good amount of time.

If you notice more mosquitoes coming, just light another bundle on fire, and the coast will be clear.

4. Peppermint


We already mentioned above that mint is effective in naturally repelling mosquitoes wherever you go, however, specifically peppermint works very well and is definitely one of my go-to plants.

Just grab some leaves, bruise and crush them together and rub the oil on your skin.

It’ll work effectively in repelling not only mosquitoes but other insects, as well as they, are not big fans of the smell, unlike us humans.

Another benefit to rubbing the peppermint oils on your skin is also the fact that it will cool down your skin and relieve any bites if you’ve already been bitten by a bug or a mosquito.

5. Lemon balm

Lemon Balm

Just like with most of the other plants listed above, grabbing a couple of this bad boy’s leaves and rubbing them on your skin will work quite effectively.

Lemon Balm leaves are pretty common in the wild, but they are a bit harder to distinguish, so your best bet would probably to just bring some from home.

If you’re tired of constantly rubbing plants on your skin, well, you’re in luck, as you can also just chuck some Lemon Balm in the fire.

The smell that it gives off when burning will be enough to rid the nearby area of mosquitoes for a while.

Also, if you’ve got some leftover Lemon Balm, a great idea would be to dry the leaves and use them to make some herbal tea. It’s delicious!

6. Bee balm

Bee Balm Leaves

Not to be confused with Lemon Balm, Bee Balms can be identified by their open, daisy-like shape, with tubular petals in shades of red, pink, purple and white.

They can be commonly found in woodland areas in North America and are also one of the best natural mosquito repellents.

Just like with most other plants on this list, you can crush the leaves and apply the oils onto your skin.

It’s also part of the mint family, so it is guaranteed to be quite effective in repelling against those pesky mosquitoes.

One negative of using bee balms, as you may have guessed from the name, is that they do attract bees.

This is why we recommend just placing the actual flower around your camp instead of rubbing it on your skin, however, both methods are effective and will not disappoint you.

7. Garlic


Mmm, writing about this got me thinking of garlic bread. Anyways, though, garlic is an edible repellent that is also extremely effective in getting rid of those darn mosquitoes as well as other insects.

Just the simple smell terrifies mosquitoes and other insects and makes them run for their lives.

As you may know, you can eat it and that will work fine, but what actually works better is just cutting the garlic cloves into slivers and scattering them around your tent or campsite.

If you wanted to go the extra step, you could blend the garlic with essential oils in order to make your own mosquito repellent, however, we’ll talk more about that below in our next section.

8. Lavender


I absolutely love the smell of lavender, however, most insects and mosquitoes would have to greatly disagree.

You can either burn the plant or use lavender candles!

Something else we also recommend is simply placing or planting it near the area where you’ve settled down to camp.

It’ll not only decorate the area and liven it up with its beautiful colors, but also protect you by ensuring that no mosquitoes or other annoying insects step foot near you while camping.

9. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Leaves

Just like with the citronella leaves, the eucalyptus plant has a very strong smell that causes mosquitoes to try to get away as far as possible from it.

They absolutely despise it, and will not go anywhere near you as long as you’ve got some eucalyptus oil on you, or just have the plant near you.

If you do decide to apply the oil on you, we recommend doing so a bit more often than you may with other plants, as the smell it gives off may die off a bit quicker than with other plants.

10. Rosemary


We’ve come to an end of our list of the best ten plants that can naturally repel mosquitoes in the wild.

On that note, the Rosemary plant also works quite well, however, I’d have to say that I’ve had lots more success with the other nine above than with Rosemary. 

Nevertheless, I still do recommend tossing a few sprigs of rosemary on the grill when you’re cooking or barbecuing your food.

The smell will give off will drive mosquitoes away for as long as it is burning, however, afterward it does not stick around in the air for too much and that is the only reason as to why I have ranked it a bit lower in this list.

Making your own natural mosquito repellent

Now that we know which plants work well in keeping away mosquitoes in the wild, it’s time to explore these plants and their abilities a bit more thoroughly.

Some of these recipes that I will talk about below may be unfamiliar to you, however, that is because they are fully authentic and come directly from my grandmother’s recipe book.

As an herbalist, she knows a great deal about plants and herbs as well as their abilities.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of recipes for natural mosquito repellents that I have tested out and seen the most success from.

1. Grandma’s special vodka mosquito repellent



  • 30 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 oz of vodka
  • Small container (to mix it in)

Out of all of them, this one by far is my favorite as it is the easiest to prepare and also works for up to 4 to 6 hours with no problems at all.

If you’re short on vodka, you can also use witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, or even cooking oils and you will still get a similar result.

Once you’ve added all the ingredients, just stir it all very well until you can see everything has been blended with minimal floating bits of oil.

The color should usually resemble a very thin gravy.

Voila! You’re done! I like to pour mine into empty bottles of air freshener so that it is nice and easy to spray it on myself, however, you can use anything you’d like.

2. Jumbo jumble mosquito repellent

Lavender Essential Oil


  • 2 tbsp of witch hazel or vodka
  • 2 tbsp of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 50 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil
  • 20 drops of cedarwood oil
  • 20 drops of lavender oil
  • 10 drops of rosemary oil
  • ½ teaspoon of vodka (if not already using)
  • 3 or 4 oz spray bottle (dark-colored work the best)

This is quite the mix, hence where the name comes from, however, I’d say this is slightly better than number one, but I decided to rank it a little lower due to the number of things necessary to make this mosquito repellent.

Once you’ve poured it in the bottle, it’s extremely important to shake it up well before each use or the effects might not last as long.

For this natural mosquito repellent, in particular, I’d say it lasts around 6 to 8 hours after you spray it on yourself, however, if you start to notice some mosquitoes headed your way earlier than that, simply shake it well and spray yourself again.

3. Beer mint fantasy mix mosquito repellent

Before we list the ingredients, I just want to clarify that you should not spray this on yourself. I’ll explain more as to why below.



  • 6 cans of beer (any kind works)
  • 6 cups of lavender fragrance Epsom salt
  • 2 bottles of mint-flavored mouthwash
  • Container (to mix it in)

Don’t outdo yourself here, you won’t be spraying this on yourself, so just get the cheapest kind available of each ingredient.

One thing to note, however, is that you should use a strainer to put the Epsom salt and mouthwash mixture into a spray bottle in order to make sure that the salt does not block the sprayer.

Anyways, what you want to do with this mixture after you’ve made it and shaken it up, is to store it in a bottle and spray it around the area where you will be camping.

It’ll make everything around you smell really nice, and not only help you to repel the nearby mosquitoes, but also lots of other insects you may find in the wild such as fruit flies, bugs, and more.

Be prepared, though, as all these ingredients equate to around 1 gallon of amazing mosquito repellent solution!

4. Rubbing alcohol mosquito repellent



  • 15 ml of lavender oil
  • 40 ml of water
  • 2 tbsp of alcohol
  • Empty spray bottle

If you’re out in the wild and are just looking to quickly set up a defense mechanism that can repel mosquitoes this is your go-to repellent.

It’s made with ingredients that you most likely carry with you wherever you go, and it works amazing.

Just pour all the ingredients in your spray bottle, shake it up, and you’re ready to go.

An additional benefit to this repellent is that when you apply it onto yourself, it can also help you soothe current bug or mosquito bites that you may already have.

5. Ultra effective mosquito and insect repellent



  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil
  • 4 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups of water
  • Spray bottle

Not only will this natural mosquito repellent help you keep the mosquitoes at bay, but it will also help you repel many other insects you may encounter in the wild as well.

These ingredients are perfectly selected, and after you pour the entire mix into your spray bottle and shake it up, you can be sure that all those nasty bugs will be far from you for the next few hours.

Personally, I like to reapply this onto my skin every two or three hours as I really enjoy the smell when it’s freshly sprayed, but the repellent will remain effective for longer than that.

Natural vs Chemical Insect Repellents

It’s quite a large debate, however, if you were to ask me, I’d pick the natural mosquito repellent option any day.

As I said before, my grandmother was an herbalist, so the recipes that I included above were all passed down from her, and I can assure you that they are the best natural mosquito repellents you can ever make.

I’ve never really needed to use purchasable mosquito repellents as the natural ones have always worked fine for me.

Besides, why would you?

Purchasable mosquito repellents come with lots of dangers due to all of the chemicals that are put in them, so I’d rather just stay safe and stick with the natural methods.

You decide, though just test out the recipes I’ve included above, and maybe test out some purchasable mosquito repellents and leave a comment below as to which worked better, but I can already guarantee you will prefer the natural ones, especially after trying our recipes.