'Put a drop of detergent in the water': How to deal with mosquitoes in France?

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'Put a drop of detergent in the water': How to deal with mosquitoes in France?
What's the best way to deal with mosquitoes in France? Photo by Mithil Girish on Unsplash

With local authorities in France struggling to deal with mosquitoes and people telling us they have stayed out of their garden all summer to avoid them, one reader suggests detergent is the answer. Share your own tips below.


There is an easy way to reduce mosquito numbers if they are breeding where you live in France.

Regarding reducing the numbers of mosquitoes (all types) and you have an area of water in the garden including puddles and partly-filled containers, the most simple way to kill the larvae (which breathe oxygen from the air) is to put a single drop of detergent (such as washing- up liquid) on the surface of the water.

The larvae are small ‘wrigglers’ which live in water and travel about by their wriggling action.

The detergent reduces the surface tension of the water sufficiently so that the larvae are unable to  stay in contact the water-air boundary, and simply drown.

A larger area of water would need a few drops more - but not if there are fish in the water - obviously!

Geoff Todd, La Sarthe

Photo: Cynthea Frongillo

Thermacell mosquito repellants work really well.  

Each of the small propane fuelled capsules will clear about a 15ft diameter area and should be put in place about 15 minutes before going outside.  

We have two on our patio, and can sit out all evening without any problem.  They are quiet and unobtrusive, so one has to make an effort to turn them off and bring them in for the night.

Cynthia Frongillo, Dordogne

Other readers have suggested that DEET (diethyltoluamide) has proved the only real repellent that works. Some have simply suggested staying out of the garden all together when the mosquitoes are out or simply making sure you live in a windy part of the country - obviously easier said than done.

Whilst reader jokingly (we think?) suggested garlic and wine was the best way to repel mosquitoes other readers have suggested certain plants such as mint and lemongrass.

READ ALSO: Five plants in France that (allegedly) repel mosquitoes

You'll certainly be aware of citronella scent from various mosquito-repelling products including oils and candles, but you can also grow it in the your garden.

It grows quite big so might not be suitable for small gardens or window boxes.

And mint is common herb that many people might already have in their gardens, but mosquitoes apparently hate the lovely, fresh scent of it.


Local authorities in certain parts of the country have been forced to take action. France's capital Paris even began its first large-scale mosquito control campaign for the Asian tiger mosquito after a man fell ill with dengue fever.

Do you have any unusual but effective tips for dealing with mosquitoes in France? Please share them with our readers in the comments section below or email us at [email protected] and we'll add them in.

READ ALSO: Mosquito-borne diseases spreading in France


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