Does Lemongrass Repel Mosquitoes – Is It Effective?

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Many natural remedies can help repel mosquitoes in the home, or garden, or from attacking your body. While some methods have limited effectiveness, many natural remedies can be highly effective at keeping you safe from the pesky bloodsuckers we know as mosquitoes. It’s important to understand how each repellant works and how it can be used effectively.

Lemongrass mosquito repellent works due to it containing citronella. However, planting lemongrass plants around the house will not be particularly effective as a mosquito repellant. For maximum effectiveness, a citronella oil spray will help keep mosquitoes at bay.

In this post, to answer the question, does lemongrass repel mosquitoes, I’ve investigated various options and choose options that work best, in my opinion. I’ll explain this compound’s potential and how to prevent it from causing any issues to you or your pets.

What Is Lemongrass And Does It Repel Mosquitoes?

Lemongrass oil is a popular natural mosquito repellent. It is made from lemongrass plants, which are native to tropical and subtropical regions. The oil has a strong citrusy smell.

If used under the right circumstances lemongrass is an excellent mosquito repellant, as backed up by this study published on PubMed . There are many plant-based alternatives to traditional methods of mosquito deterrent substances. Lemongrass is one such substance that is effective against both mosquitoes and house flies.

Lemongrass oil has been tested in laboratories for its effectiveness against mosquitoes. It has proven to be an active substance against the antennal olfactory receptor cells. Mosquitoes were shown to have increased responses to increasing doses of lemongrass oil.

The lemongrass plant, particularly the Cymbopogon Citratus, is a tall herb and contains citronella within. There has been a trend passed down through generations that we should grow lemongrass around our homes and gardens to keep mosquitoes at bay. While this method can be effective to a certain degree, it possesses limited effectiveness if used only in this way.

Can lemongrass repel mosquitoes in plant form alone? Not really, the best repellant is made from the oil in the plant. Simply having a living plant around the home will not be sufficient to repel mosquitoes.

Lemongrass works by blocking the scents that mosquitoes can sense. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide and lactic acid scent that people emit. So rather than repelling mosquitoes lemongrass and the citronella oil in it interrupt their ability to smell any humans in the vicinity, therefore, reducing the chances of them locking on to a target!

How Can Lemongrass Be Used Against Mosquitoes?

Simply using the living plant as a lemongrass mosquito repellent will be ineffective for protecting against mosquitoes. On its own, it’s especially ineffective at repelling large populations of mosquitoes in homes that have become heavily infested.

While the plant contains mosquito-distracting citronella oil, the plant cannot release the oil into the environment while it is still alive.

The oil needs to be extracted to use the oil. This can be done by boiling lemongrass in water before making it into a spray. Contrary to popular belief, burning lemongrass is not effective at repelling mosquitos. All this will do is irritate the nose and create a bad smell.

To use lemongrass oil (citronella) as a mosquito repellent, simply apply a few drops to your skin or clothing. You can also add a few drops to your diffuser to help keep mosquitoes away.

The oil from the plant can also be combined with other essential oils to create an effective supercharged deterrent than makes lemongrass repel mosquitoes and smell even nicer.

How Effective Is Lemongrass Against Mosquitoes?

There is some evidence that lemongrass may be effective against mosquitoes. One study showed that lemongrass oil was able to repel mosquitoes for up to two hours. Many commercial mosquito repellents contain citronella oil as their active ingredient.

A study published in the Journal of Insect Science found that lemongrass oil was more than three times as effective at repelling mosquitos than citronella oil. And, unlike many chemical mosquito repellents, lemongrass oil is completely safe for both humans and animals. So, if you’re looking for a natural way to keep mosquitoes at bay, reach for some lemongrass oil the next time you go outside.

How Mosquitoes Can Be Controlled Naturally

Citronella and lemongrass aside, there are several ways to control the mosquito population in a home. Certain plants such as catnip, pennyroyal, and rosemary are highly effective at preventing mosquitoes from causing a nuisance. Flowering plants such as marigolds are also effective.

Introducing other animals into your garden can also be effective at keeping mosquitoes at bay. This includes frogs, dragonflies, bats, and certain types of birds. Avoid having stagnant water on your property, as this can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Keeping lids on things like rainwater collection tubs can also help prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. Mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs in stagnant water, and this will quickly overload a home. 

Which Is Better Lemongrass or Citronella

When comparing lemongrass and citronella, I would compare the two plants’ effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes from the home environment. Despite the name, citronella plants actually have lower concentrations of citronella oil when compared to lemongrass.

Lemongrass is generally considered the better option for preventing mosquito infestation.

Is Lemongrass Toxic To Pets?

Lemongrass is not considered toxic to dogs. However, a dog can become sick if they consume large amounts of lemongrass.

If your pet does consume a large amount of lemongrass or you suspect the cause of any vomiting or stomach issues is related to them eating lemongrass then consult your vet as soon as possible.

Small amounts of lemongrass or other essential oils are used in certain dog collars and sprays with very little potential for problems.

With cats, if they nibble small amounts of the lemongrass plant in your garden then don’t be alarmed. But as above if they exhibit any symptoms after eating it consult your local vet.

Are Citronella And Lemongrass The Same?

Citronella plants are actually a type of scented geranium. The citronella oil we know is an essential oil produced by the leaves and stems of lemongrass plants of the Cymbopogon genus.

Citronella and lemongrass are two different plants that both contain citronella. The citronella in these plants masks the scents mosquitoes usually rely on to target their hosts. The citronella plant has a reddish stem, while lemongrass consists of a uniform green stem.

Why Do Mosquitoes Hate Lemongrass?

Mosquitoes don’t necessarily hate the smell of lemongrass, as mentioned above it’s more a case that their sense of smell is somehow blocked or overloaded by the smell of the citronella essential oils produced by the plant. This then masks the presence of their prey!

Essential oil and other smells, including pine, citronella, camphor, catnip, eucalyptus, cinnamon, cedar, and rosemary can all have a similar effect.

Which Other Pests Does Lemongrass Repel?

Lemongrass contains Citral and geranyl acetate. Both of these powerful substances are highly effective at repelling mosquitoes. It can also help with other pests found around the house, including house flies, stable flies, fleas, ticks, and lice. Lizards, bees, and snakes are also repelled by lemongrass to a large extent.


Lemongrass can function as an excellent mosquito repellant in most circumstances. It’s important to remember that the plant alone will not be particularly effective. To get the most out of lemongrass in terms of its mosquito-repellant properties, extract the citronella essential oils from the plant.

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Authored by: Mila

Mila is passionate about living sustainability and encouraging others to do the same. Writing about practical steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment.