The Q&A Archives: Citronella as Mosquito Repellent

Question: I looked at Richters for the Citronella and it is sold as Citronella Grass. Is that the same thing ? It is also sold as plants or seeds. I have 2 1/2 acres and mosquitos are awful. What would be the best way for me to go with the Citronella. Should I scatter seeds all over or buy the plants and just put them in certain areas. Shawnnee Ramey Somerset, CA

Answer: From what I've read, growing citronella grass is not among common effective mosquito control measures, but perhaps you've heard something I haven't. Since the aromatic oil is the repellent component of citronella, maybe mowing the grass would release the oil and repel the mosquitos? This is pure speculation, but you could try it on a small scale before planting your whole acreage. Richter's has a web site, too, ( and can give you the specifics about culture, and probably tell you if growing the grass will actually repel the insects. I think if it did, it would be a common practice that we'd all know about! Mosquito control is best acheived through community-wide managment of breeding areas. Contact your public health office and see if they have more information to offer you and your neighbors about least-toxic mosquito control.

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