What kind of plants I should grow to drive the mosquitoes away?


My house is in Oakville, not very far from the lake.  We have a lot of mosquitoes from spring to fall. We cannot turn the lights on in the summer because the portico and the door will covered with these tiny insects. Can you suggest any plants or flowers that can drive the mosquitoes away. Thanks.


Mosquitoes are the bane of Canadian summers and can put a damper on our ability to enjoy those precious warm evenings.  Mosquitoes need standing water to breed.  Your proximity to the lake may make it difficult for you to control the mosquito population in your yard, but you should also make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water, such as empty containers, planter trays and wading pools. Rain barrels should be covered or screened.  The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has a fact sheet on effective methods for controlling mosquitoes here.

There are a number of plants that are purported to repel mosquitoes, including geranium, basil, lavender and citronella.  Gardening expert Mark Cullen has a recent article on plants with repellant properties, as well as other natural controls for these pests.

Mosquitoes are largely attracted by heat and carbon dioxide and are only minimally attracted to light.  Its likely those flying pests swarming your outdoor lights are not mosquitoes, but rather midges.  Areas close to Lake Ontario have experienced vast swarms of these tiny pesky insects over the past few years, typically in the spring and fall.  While they look a lot like mosquitoes, midges don’t bite or spread disease, but they certainly are an annoyance because of their vast numbers.  There is some recent research that suggests that LED bulbs with a warm colour temperature  (i.e., yellow-orange light) are less attractive to insects, so replacing your outdoor lights with these types of bulbs may help to reduce the evening swarms.