Asked on Jun 29, 2014

Skeeters, gnats and flies..oh, my!

Dee W
by Dee W
Help--we are being eaten alive and find ourselves constantly swatting the air every time we step outside whether it is to do yard work or just head to the car. We even resorted to using Sevin and Bayer to spray the lawn and into the trees but they only lasted for about a week or until it rained.
Is there a better solution; one that won't challenge the gardens, my dog or need repeating every week?
We had so hoped to build an outdoor sitting area this year but if this is a predictor of the summer ahead, there's no way we would be able to enjoy it.
Help! Any and all comments or suggestions are appreciated--thank you.
q skeeters gnats and flies oh my, outdoor living, pest control
  51 answers
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Jun 29, 2014
    They breed in anything that holds water, even leaves. They can stay dormant for months and hatch out at next rainfall. They come out at dawn and dusk mainly. In Florida, we have a state funded Mosquito Control to try to control them and have some informative websites.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 29, 2014
    I am almost afraid to mention our method because every time a post comes up using chemicals, so many get upset. But folks, it is down to us or the bugs...I am choosing us! In sprayer hooked to water hose, put half and half lemon scented dishwashing liquid and lemon scented ammonia. When bubbles stop, refill and continue. Spray underneath bushes, up on roof to drain through gutters, flower pots, etc. If you like sitting outside, gets some box fans...they can't fly in the wind! I have read that they have a range of only about 200 feet from where they are born.

    • See 6 previous
    • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Apr 21, 2017
      I don't consider your idea bad. In fact I think it is great. At least we know what is in the spray. I'll be trying this and I'm not one that uses pesticides unless they are close to natural. I saw a recipe for homemade Miracle Grow and that has a small amount of ammonia in it. Very interesting. Thank you.

  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Jun 29, 2014
    I agree, Jeanette. We have a right to enjoy the fresh air and outdoors without being dinner for the teams of insects. My husband has a fogger that he uses when they get bad and it does reduce their numbers.

  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on Jun 29, 2014
    I have tried garlic granules for the yard for mosquitos, I've tried the Off brand to hook up to the water hose, I've tried the mosquitos plants & lemon grass, I've tried some solution I found on Pinterest to trap them, I've tried other kind of granules to also rid of mosquitos. I'm willing to try Jeanette's solution if it won't hurt the plants. I wish I could afford the mosquitos misters.

  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Jun 30, 2014
    I'm about to get out my fogger!

  • Dawn Becker Dawn Becker on Jun 30, 2014
    I just moved to a heavy mosquito area on the gulf coast. I'm willing to try almost anything. Does this hurt plants or animals?

  • Lynn Lynn on Jun 30, 2014
    We weren't able to enjoy our pergola during bug season until we installed a ceiling fan. Sometimes just a slight breeze is enough to push those delicate little terrors away.

  • Dawn Dyar Dawn Dyar on Jun 30, 2014
    Then there is always Avon Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil. It is well known to deter the mosquitos although it can't be advertised in that way. I love the way it makes me feel, good for my skin, and the smell is refreshing. If you google the uses for it, you will find people use it on their pets also. ) On sale this campaign at a great price of $6.99 product code 462913 Campaign 14. I ordered 20 to have in stock and the great news for me was, they ran out of that size and have bonus sized it up. Yay for me. Hope this helps.

  • Carol G Carol G on Jun 30, 2014
    my worst pests ARE FLIES! I have a fan on my porch but that does not deter them. Does any one have a solution for flies?

  • Carol G Carol G on Jun 30, 2014
    I tried putting bags of water and that does not help!

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    • Jenelle H Jenelle H on Jun 30, 2014
      @Carol G You need to put copper pennies in the water that is in the bag and then hang it above the door. Works for us.

  • Carolyn Ross Carolyn Ross on Jun 30, 2014
    No one has mentioned pots of scented geranium - the cintronella variety, in particular, repells the bugs and smells really nice whenever you brush against it, it's a very pretty plant and will bloom too. You can easily take cuttings to start new plants and keep them indoors over the Winter for the next year too. I like the Off! brand clipon bug repellant because it repells the mosquitos without having to resort to spraying bug repellant all over myself. Another option that was mentioned was setting up a fan while you're outdoors since the breeze keeps the mosquitoes away, while cooling you :-)

    • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Apr 21, 2017
      I recently bought a flea, mosquito and tick collar for my dog. The main ingredient is geranium. It is supposed to work for 4 months.

  • Dallas G Dallas G on Jun 30, 2014
    I made up a Mixture of essential oils in a spray bottle yesterday to try on my dogs. The flies were driving them nuts. Be careful not to spray around their eyes. I sprayed on their ears and back of neck and in a few minutes they were smiling because they were not snapping at flies any longer.

  • Chuck Chuck on Jun 30, 2014
    My wife is a mosquito magnet. She can be out in the yard and within moments she's bitten. So yesterday when she was going to go out to pick blueberries I encouraged her to put neem oil on her exposed skin, to see if it would keep the mosquitoes off her. She came in about a half hour later...not one bite. I know that the smell is not the greatest (it's kind of a nutty smell) but the oil is good for your skin and you can shower off the smell later. I haven't tried putting some essential oil in it to make it more acceptable, but not getting bit is worth the sacrifice.

  • ByLightOfMoon ByLightOfMoon on Jun 30, 2014
    great chart too, I adore the oils too! Smiles, cyndi

  • Lynn Lynn on Jun 30, 2014
    Our grandkids were here in Houston (mosquito heaven) last month and we discovered a fast relief once you are bitten. Place a spoon in a cup of hot water (not boiling) and when heated hold firmly over welt.....1-2 minutes. Stops the itching and it usually didn't come back. (the heat breaks down the protein in the stuff the mosquitoes inject in you to thin your blood) We also have a ceiling fan which helps, but not for kids running all about the yard! ha

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    • Brenda L Hatfield Brenda L Hatfield on Apr 21, 2017
      I rub a wet bar of soap, any brand. Rub a good amount on the bite and the itching stops, without any skin irritations 😊 Hope this helps.

  • Patricia Patricia on Jun 30, 2014
    I'm a mosquito magnet too and the only way I can work or sit outside in summer is with a fan trained on me. No chemicals, just an extension cord and a fan. Wish I'd discovered it a lot sooner, since now I'm not applying chemicals to my skin and not spraying my organic garden, but haven't had a bite in over a year! When gardening, I use 2 old fans trained on me--keeps me much cooler and the mosquitos just give up due to the "wind" :D

  • Barbara Barbara on Jun 30, 2014
    Were you all aware that eating bananas will draw mosquitos to you? It is true. We had mosquito problems until a couple of bats adopted our patio & deck as their habitat. They are a bit messy, but I'd rather clean-up some debris than be eaten alive.

  • Teresa Alger Teresa Alger on Jun 30, 2014
    Read in the newspaper: mix 1 c. Apple cider vinegar with 1c. Water. Add peppermint or lavender oil in a spray bottle. Spray around outside area. Gonna try this out!

  • Briana McKinnon Briana McKinnon on Jun 30, 2014
    Do you have standing/stagnant water near you? a lake? make sure there are no pots or containers holding rain water. Most of those pesky bugs lay their eggs in water, so they also tend to hang around where the stagnant water is.

  • Barb Lesiak Barb Lesiak on Jun 30, 2014
    I have a method I learned somewhere on line. One plastic soda bottle. Cut the top half off (you will invert back into the bottle) bottom portion of the bottle should be black - if not, then spray paint the outside black. I cup hot water and 1/4 cup brown sugar. When sugar water has cooled, pour into the plastic bottle. Add one packet of YEAST. Do not stir - just put it in to bottle. Replace the top inverted into the bottom so the cap part is facing down. You may want to just tape the side a bit to keep it secure. Put it outside... the "brewing" yeast attracts the mosquitoes. I have several around my deck - replace every couple of weeks or so.

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    • Linda Linda on Jun 30, 2014
      @Barb Lesiak I tried this and it didn't work for me. I made four of them. I put two on the patio and two in my husbands shed. We didn't find one mosquito in any of them. I do plan on trying it again...why, I don't know!

  • Jim Lambert Jim Lambert on Jun 30, 2014
    Pure shea butter works wonders - I buy it from Shea Butter Secrets and it works! PLUS it's all natural - that's for you - for the garden - plant up a carnivorous plant bog (really easy) see my site, and it will also naturally get rid of those pests -

  • Joanne williamson Joanne williamson on Jun 30, 2014
    This is good even for babies and pets..4 cups water...1 1/2 cups rosemary...Boil and steep for 20 minutes then add 2 tablespoones of white vinegar..Put in a spray bottle..Use instead of OFF etc..

  • Rose Rose on Jun 30, 2014
    I haven't had a bug bite since I started using handmade patchouli bar soap. I use it every time I bath and no more bug bites. I purchase it online at

  • Lori Otto Lori Otto on Jun 30, 2014
    Hickory Ridge sells Skeeter Beater Shea Butter hard lotion and Skeeter Beater Soap that works great for me. Only $4.50 each. I have been very pleased. I bought it on eBay.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Jun 30, 2014
    I read this somewhere, but I have not tried it yet. To make 3 oz mix 1 1/2 oz. water and vodka or alcohol in a small bottle. Add (40 drops total) 15 drops citronella essential oil - 15 drops eucalyptus oil - 5 drops lemon grass - 5 drops lavender Shake and spray on yourself or your clothing. Shake every time you use it, so the oils mix with the water and alcohol.

  • Ellen Stucker Ellen Stucker on Jun 30, 2014
    I recently read to mix in a 16 oz. spray bottle: 15 drops of essential lavender oil; 3 to 4 Tablespoons of vanilla extract; 1/4 cup lemon juice, then fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Shake & spray topically or you can spray the area. It is said to work in the world where mosquitos are the worst. So far it has worked for me, but the vanilla has seemed overwhelming,& I like vanilla!

  • Shelley S Shelley S on Jun 30, 2014
    I take Brewers Yeast and haven't had a bite in years.

  • Judy Judy on Jun 30, 2014
    We have tons of mosquitoes here also. If you're going for an outdoor sitting area a fan or two, aimed at the seats will work fine since they don't like a breeze. They also don't like oil on the skin so any type of body oil will keep them from biting but if you miss a single square inch of flesh or neglect the part in your hair, they will find it! You will need to reapply it every 1/2 hour or so. They are also repelled by any lemony scent, which is why citronella helps. We're diligent in keeping water containers dumped & refilled regularly but unfortunately, we can't compel the neighbors to do the same so there is still an abundance of the nasty blood suckers here. There are certain plants that are said to repel mosquitoes so a few hanging baskets or planters wouldn't hurt. Good luck!

    • Sue Beaty Sue Beaty on Jun 30, 2014

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jun 30, 2014
    Some good "organic" recipes - always better than chemicals.

  • Jane R. Jane R. on Jun 30, 2014
    Lots of good advice here. I'm going to try a few and see which one works best. Thanks to all.

  • Dee W Dee W on Jun 30, 2014
    Thank you for all the tips--seems I have heard a few of these over the years but had forgotten them--great refresher!. Today I tucked a dyer sheet in my shirt pocket while weeding and wasn't bothered at all. I will give the sprays a chance and plan on looking into some repellant plantings.

    • Judy Judy on Jul 01, 2014
      @Dee W I'd forgotten about the dryer sheet thing, maybe because it doesn't work for me unless I actually rub it all over myself. good luck!

  • Pat Mountfort Pat Mountfort on Jun 30, 2014
    I have 2 bat houses and no more mosquitos!

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    • Judy Judy on Jul 01, 2014
      @Dee W The kind of bats that prey on mosquitoes are harmless & if you put up bat houses you just might find guano deposits for the garden underneath. Hummingbirds also feed on mosquitoes & gnats, so do swallows. Skin so soft oil is a great mosquito repellent & good for your skin to boot but it does need reapplying about every 1/2 hour & don't miss a spot!

  • Sparkles Sparkles on Jun 30, 2014
    Sprinkle minced garlic around the yard once a month. Use Avon Skin So Soft on your person. Avoid eating bananas as they give off a smell that attracts sketters. Plant Jack in the Pulpit, Sundews, Butterworts, Venus Flytraps, Pitcher Plants, Some of these plants can be placed in boggy areas while some can be planted in pots. Bats are carriers of Rabies so be carful if playing with them but they will catch lot of bugs, not just sketters but butterflies, dragoflies and other benifical bugs get eaten by bats. Dragonflies eat mosquito larve. Keep standing water out of your yard. Sketters lay their eggs in the standing water. Stagnet water is the worst. If you build an outdoor sitting area consider a screen in porch building.

  • Sue Beaty Sue Beaty on Jun 30, 2014
    i went lookin for vanilla stuff. everywhere out! so... i saw calgon lav/vanilla spray. it really works as lavender is also a repellent i believe. so thats what im usin...

    • Irene Irene on Jul 01, 2014
      @Sue Beaty i had no idea that lavender was a mosquito repelent. i have a nice sized bush in my back yard and we don't get many mosquitos. i also didn't know that humming birds liked to eat mosquitos and gnats. no wonder the hummers like to hang around my compost tumbler.

  • Larry Lou Larry Lou on Jun 30, 2014
    Mosquitos also like lots of greenery to "hide" in. We have so much vegetation due to being near the river, like a 5 min walk, that we spray "yard & garden" sprays in shrubs, regardless if they are natural or not as we have a family member that if he gets bit too often can't breath and it's off to the ER, but we use good plants on our porch, and spray ourselves with a homemade natural anti-bug of vanilla, lemon and rosemary. Seems to help. We try to be all natural with the mosquitos, but ONLY commercial in the shrubs, trees, bushes etc around our house.

  • Lynda Lynda on Jun 30, 2014
    I use the Off Clip-On devices. If I just sitting, I clip to the chair, but if I'm gardening I clip one on the pocket of my jeans or tee shirt. Nothing to spray and they come with a little battery that runs the tiny fan. They are quiet, but whatever is in the diffuser really works here in Florida. So many different kinds of mosquitoes you just have to see what yours hate. Good luck.

  • Fred P Fred P on Jul 01, 2014
    Gnatsaway is an all natural gnat repellent. Look it up at

  • Martha Martha on Jul 01, 2014
    I live on a creek, so do have mosquitoes. The fan idea works and is nice on the deck. We also used to spray the shrubs around the deck with flying insect killer (but don't use it near fish ponds). I haven't tried the fabric softener -- will have to try it!

  • Carolyn Vermillion Carolyn Vermillion on Jul 01, 2014
    I use fabric softener sheets-skin- or skin so soft mixed with water in a spray bottle, Will build a small fire to roast marshmallows when finished will add an old rag, Let it catch on fire then put it out (just want it to smoke- no flame).

  • Shelley Tihen Woelfel Shelley Tihen Woelfel on Jul 04, 2014
    Please, the someone address how to get rid of the shiny green beetles that eating all the green flowering plants? Can't remember their name. Please, please.......

    • Dee W Dee W on Jul 10, 2014
      @Shelley Tihen Woelfel I don't have an answer for that but if you start a new post with your question more people will see it and respond

  • Sharon Martin Moreland Sharon Martin Moreland on Jul 08, 2014
    Dee I have'nt tried this yet. But earlier I was doing searching and it said to plant Marigolds in pots and sit around you're patio. I'm sure if you have a certain area fixed for outdoor sitting that it would be the same. It is suppose to work on moquitos. I hope this helps.

    • JanT JanT on Oct 29, 2016
      I have used Marigolds for years around my front porch. NO BUGS that bite!!

  • Lynn Lynn on Apr 01, 2017
    I like the idea of using essential oils. I have never had roaches where I live. But with new tenants moving in our building every 6 months or so, I have seen a few. The chart above did not say if you mixed anything with the oil or the amounts.

  • Sharon Sharon on Apr 15, 2017
    Double up your daily dose of B-Complex during bug season, keeps them from biting you.

    And I like the old school screened in porch or one of those canopy tents with screen panels and zippers to close.

  • Mary Gendron Mary Gendron on Apr 20, 2017
    Put Listerine mouthwah in a spray bottle. and use on yourself or in the air. However I recommend getting an electric bug zapper. Depending on the size may cost you but the relief is desirable. We used to live between a small swamp, a brook, a river and the woods. We even had to get a small bug zapper for in the house, it was soo bad. Then my husband brought home a very large broken bug zapper. He fixed it enough to use. He set it up on a table outside and that's all we heard for several nights in a row. It improved the bug bitting situation considerably. The next year we noticed a very big difference in the bug population. We didn't have to use it as much. Sometimes you have to resort to stuff like this in order to be able to even do work outside or even to just enjoy the outdoors.

  • Mary Gendron Mary Gendron on Apr 20, 2017
    Another thought here. Don't plant Marigolds anywhere near where your going to be sitting, like a patio. Ever notice the bugs are attracted to Marigolds?

  • Karen Reilly Karen Reilly on Apr 21, 2017
    There a product out there called a mosquito magnet that works very well.

  • Linda Linda on Apr 21, 2017
    I understand that insects of any kind do not like the smell of mint. For me, I am going to test that theory on them darn skeeters this spring. I will put some drops in my horse's ears as I'm advised that helps keep the gnats and insects out of their ears also!! Now about those darn  MOLES~

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 22, 2017
    I hate the overuse of chemicals. But if you will recall, the past 10 years we have been plagued with misquotes carrying deadly diseases! They usually originate in the most southern states (more swamp land) and venture north!
    We have to fight back with something...a fly swat won't get it! Sigh!!!

  • Tec9987951 Tec9987951 on Apr 23, 2017
    Try Skeeter Dunks in standing water or containers .

  • You will need to build a screened-in outdoor seating space.