Does Cinnamon Work As A Good Pest Repellent For Your Bird Bath?

Mosquitoes — we're allergic to their saliva, and more importantly, they carry devastating diseases, including malaria, the Zika and West Nile viruses, and the dengue virus. These irritating pests love still water, so if you have a birdbath that's undisturbed by a bubbler, you likely already know that this is a place where mosquitoes like to hang out and lay eggs. Luckily, there are some easy ways to keep pesky mosquitoes out of your birdbath. All you have to do is make it as unappealing to them as possible.

Cinnamon works well as a pest and insect repellent around water, so it wasn't a surprise when we saw recommendations online to place a few drops of cinnamon oil into a birdbath. Supposedly, the smell repels mosquitoes while the oil kills larvae — and it does accomplish this. According to a New York State Integrated Pest Management and Cornell University profile, this favorite autumn spice contains eugenol, an effective mosquito repellent and larvae killer. But is cinnamon suitable for your birdbath? That question has a rather complicated answer.

Should you use cinnamon powder or oil in your birdbath?

It's possible that adding cinnamon oil to your birdbath will repel more than pesky mosquitoes. Avian Enterprises, a company that safely reduces bird populations that threaten industries like airports and agriculture, notes that most birds don't like the smell of cinnamon. However, while the intense aroma may repel birds, taste is unlikely to be a factor. Since birds have so few taste buds (about 300) compared to humans (up to 9,000 or 10,000), they probably won't steer clear of cinnamon-amended birdbath water due to taste alone. Regardless, adding it to your birdbath is unlikely to bring more birds to your yard.

Most sources agree cinnamon is safe for birds in small doses. And although parrots probably won't end up at your birdbath, exotic bird retailer Northern Parrots offers a helpful distinction: Ceylon (true) cinnamon is safe for birds to consume, but cassia (Chinese) cinnamon contains coumarin, which acts as a toxic avian blood thinner. For this reason, doing your research and selecting the correct products is essential. As you're considering what to do, remember that a positive aspect of having a fountain in your birdbath is that the water's constant movement persuades mosquitos to move on. Since adding cinnamon to your birdbath may repel some birds, simply adding a fountain may be your best option.