Grab that garnish off the potato salad: Rub fresh parsley (a few stems with leaves should be fine) on the exposed parts of your body to keep the mosquitoes away.
Go for the bulb that does double duty: If you dread mosquito bites more than you mind smelling like garlic, then rub a cut garlic clove all over your naked skin. Both mosquitoes and vampires will hate you.
Put a little essential oil on your skin: Essential oils (usually available at health-food stores or in guest bathrooms) haven’t been tested by the EPA to work as mosquito repellants, but a few smaller independent studies have found undiluted oils of citronella, patchouli, clove, catnip and Zanthoxylum limonella (lemon oil) quite helpful, sometimes offering more than two hours of potent repellent power. Lavender oil also has worked for us—and it smells great! Dab one or two drops of the oil on pulse points—including the inside of your wrists, inside your elbows, behind your ears and behind your knees. Caution: Be sure to use sparingly because undiluted oils can cause a reaction, such as a rash, especially on sensitive skin. Stop using any essential oil if you have the slightest reaction.
Stand (or sit) near this, stay away from that: If you’re a mosquito magnet, you’ll want to make friends with a fan. Mosquitos are weak, slow flyers and can’t fight the air flow. Fans also disperse the human odors that draw mosquitoes. Or sit by a geranium (or two or three)—mosquitoes despise the smell. Stay away from standing water, which is a favorite hangout for mosquitoes.
Thanks to Susan M. Paskewitz, PhD, professor, department of entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the American Mosquito Control Association, a nonprofit group based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, for help with these tips.