Mosquito season is in full swing, and if you love being on the water as much as we do you're a bigger target than the average Canadian.

A sun-filled day filled with fishing can easily be ruined by a swarm (or even just a few) of these pesks.

Bug spray is a fine repellent, but sometimes

- It irritates the skin

- It smells bad

- It wears off too quick

- It causes allergies

- It's expensive

- We worry about how toxic it is for kids


Whatever your reason, if you're looking for a natural way to keep the bugs away we have 8 DIY recipes to help you do just that.


8. Black Pepper - Natural Mosquito Repellent 


Picaridin, the ingredient that gives pepper that unique taste, is also a powerful mosquito repellent. This doesn't kill the mosquitos, or even chase them away really. Rather, it masks your natural scent so much so that you're virtually invisible to the little bloodsuckers.

The downside is that, even in diluted form, it's pretty common to experience skin irritation. You'll have to try a small amount and have some soap and water handy to find out if you can use it or not.

On the upside, there are very few households that don't have an endless flow of black pepper at hand which makes it fairly convenient.


7. Garlic - Natural Mosquito Repellent 


This concept is pretty cool. Instead of rubbing creams or oils all over your skin, just eat a clove of garlic. The active ingredient, Allicin, changed the scent of your body from the inside out.

Regular scent that escapes your pores are temporarily altered into something that mosquitos just aren't attracted to. Maybe this is where the theory that you can fend off vampires with garlic came from?

If you can't stomach eating an entire clove of garlic, this also works as a spray but would wear off more quickly, especially outdoors. Either way, you probably won't like the smell much either.


6. Soapy Water - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Soapy Water With Bubbles

A real simple solution to the mosquito problem is a little soap and water. Get a container, mix in enough standard dish soap to make some suds, and place the container in your boat's hull but out of the way where people won't knock it over.

Mosquitos are attracted to this mix. Within a few minutes you'll see the bugs that were buzzing by your ears diving into the bubbles and drowning.


5. Apple Cider Vinegar - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Jars of Apple Cider Vinegar

Drinking apple cider vinegar, just like eating garlic, will change the scent coming from your pours and act as an excellent mosquito and black fly repellent.

This method, however, does cause a lot of folks to get fairly nauseous. You may be better off creating a spray which works just as well.  Mix the vinegar with equal parts water in a spray bottle and use just like you would any other repellent.

If the smell is a little much for you, choose your favourite essential oil and add a few drops. You'll love the results.


4. Mint - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Herbal Tea With Floating Leaves

This method takes a little more work than the others, but it also smells much better. You'll have to boil half a cup of water while the mint leaves are soaking in it so that the liquid becomes infused. You'll also have to let it cool down before you use it.

Peppermint is best for mosquitos, ants, flies, fleas, and moths. But consider adding pennyroyal mint to the mix to keep ticks and fleas away as well.

If all this sounds like too much work, keep an eye out for mint scented sun screen the next time you're out shopping.


3. Vanilla - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Vanilla Flowers

Create a solution of vanilla extract with 50/50 water. Make sure that the extract you're using os 100% pure with no additives. Spray some on your clothes, skin, or wherever else you want to keep the pesks away from.

But, make sure to test first. Some people are allergic to vanilla, and it's wise to apply a small drop of the solution to the top of your hand with some soap and water at hand. If it doesn't turn red or itchy, you're good to go. Not only does this smell great and work well against mosquitos, it works well against gnats as well.


2. Lavender Oil - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Clear Jars With Lavender Flowers

If vanilla isn't your cup of tea try a little lavender oil. Lavender doesn't mask your personal scent or change it in any way, mosquitos simply hate it. You can make a solution of distilled water with lavender oil or the dried leaf variety.

If you own a pontoon, consider placing a few potted lavender plants in your cup holders or table tops. Mosquitos hate the live version just as much as the oils.


1. Tea Tree Oil - Natural Mosquito Repellent 

Natural Tea Tree Flowers

Tea Tree Oil hits the top of our list because of its versatility. Beyond (very effectively) keeping mosquitos away it also acts as a strong

- antiseptic

- antimicrobial

- anti-inflammatory

It can even instantly remove the itch if you've already been bitten.


Two hands - one with mosquitos one without

All 8 of these methods work, you'll have to decide for yourself which one works best for you be it ingesting something to turn yourself into the repellent, rubbing your skin with a solution, or spraying your immediate area.

Each option has a pro and con that you should consider including possible allergies, strong smells, and the duration of how long it will last.

Any spray that you want to experiment with will be strongest when you first apply and wear off as time pasts. You'll have to re-apply every 30 minutes or so.

We're not scientists, but it seems there's an added benefit to essential oils. This study claims that using essential oils as an additive prevents oxidization.


If you're having trouble deciding where to start and you're not allergic, go with your favourite smell. Adding a little vanilla to the air while you're out fishing is a great way to keep the day fresh.


Yours In Boating,