Q. I was amused to read about catnip as a mosquito repellent. A couple of summers ago I grew my own catnip (in hanging pots to keep it out of reach of the neighborhood cats) and followed a recipe for catnip mosquito spray I found on the Internet.
It didn’t work to deter mosquitoes at all, but it attracted the neighborhood cats. One day I had a tiny piece of freshly picked catnip in my pocket as I walked in the yard, and a neighborhood cat that usually ignores me followed everywhere I went, meowing the whole time.
A. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) contains a chemical (nepetalactone) that has a profound effect on cats. Some get excited or agitated while others appear happy or even euphoric with catnip around.
The person who wrote to us combined catnip oil and geranium oil on her dog to ward off ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. Scientific research shows that components of catnip oil can repel mosquitoes (Journal of Medical Entomology, July, 2009), but recipes off the Internet may not be effective.