Local News

Citronella, Lemon Grass Are Natural Mosquito Repellents

Posted June 6, 2001

— Summer heat is here and the war on mosquitos is heating up too. Many people are loading up on mosquito repellents, citronella candles, chemicals and new expensive mosquito killer devices. But you can also fight the bloodsuckers with a green thumb.

This time of year, plant shoppers aren't always looking for what's pretty. Plain, even ugly will do -- if mosquitos hate it.

Family Home and Garden employee Susan Pearce says customers usually ask for scented geraniums, also known as citronella. But she says other plants, like lemon grass and lantana, work just as well.

"Just for that one reason, because it's not an extremely attractive plant (it doesn't sell as well). It doesn't flower, it doesn't really do a whole lot aesthetically, but as far as repelling mosquitos, it definitely works," she says. "People come looking for (these plants) all the time. Basically, they'll come in asking for the citronella plants and we'll try to push them to (lemon grass and lantana) as well."

People who use scented geranium say you can rub the leaves on your skin to discourage mosquitos.

The war on mosquitos has acquired an added urgency in recent years. Last year, a crow infected with West Nile Virus was found at Jordan Lake. The virus can be fatal to people.


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