Mosquitoes hate the scent of lemon balm.

Colleen Vanderlinden

It's already happening. I spent a few minutes weeding and watering my garden this morning, and ended up with two itchy mosquito bites for my troubles. Besides the itch and annoyance, in my neck of the woods West Nile Virus is a yearly danger, with at least a few cases reported each summer.

But I don't believe in reaching for some aerosol spray of nasty chemicals to keep the mosquitoes at bay. I wouldn't use that stuff on myself, and I will definitely never let it touch my kids. So there are a few natural ways I deter mosquitoes in my garden, and it's time to put them into action now.

Four Natural Ways to Deter Mosquitoes

1. Plant Herbs That Mosquitoes Hate

The oils of certain herbs are a complete turn-off to mosquitoes. Luckily for us, they usually happen to be herbs that we love! Plant lemon balm, catnip, rosemary, thyme, or garlic near any seating areas, and mosquitoes will steer clear.

2. Remove Sources of Standing Water.

If you just do this one step, you'll see a drastic reduction in the number of mosquitoes you have to contend with. They are attracted to standing water because they lay their eggs in it The eggs hatch, and, you guessed it -- you have even more mosquitoes bugging you. A few common sources of standing water:

- Saucers for flower pots

- Bird baths

- Kid's buckets and other toys - Small swimming pools Keep in mind that you don't have to eliminate your bird bath. Just make sure to change the water every day or so. Mosquito larvae need still water to hatch. If you disturb the water, the eggs won't hatch. The other sources of standing water are good to eliminate if you're able to. 3. Burn All-Natural Candles with Citronella Essential Oil Citronella candles really do work. Place a few around your patio or wherever you happen to be working in the garden, and you'll see fewer mosquitoes.4. Rub Some Lemon Balm on Any Exposed Skin That lemon balm I mentioned in step one is also very useful when applied directly to any exposed skin. Simply crush a leaf to release the essential oils, and rub the leaf on any exposed skin. You'll smell lemony fresh, and the mosquitoes will hate it!