Umbellularia californica (California bay laurel) and Laurus nobilis (Mediterranean bay laurel) leaves may be mistaken or used as a substitute on the market due to their morphological similarity. In this study, a comparison of anatomical and chemical features and biological activity of both plants is presented. L. nobilis essential oil biting deterrent and larvicidal activity were negligible. On the other hand, U. californica leaf oil showed biting deterrent activity against Aedes aegypti. The identified active repellents was thymol, along with (-)-umbellulone, 1,8-cineole, and (-)-alpha-terpineol. U. californica essential oil also demonstrated good larvicidal activity against 1-day-old Ae. aegypti larvae with a LD50 value of 52.6 ppm. Thymol (LD50; = 17.6 ppm), p-cymene, (-)-umbellulone, and methyleugenol were the primary larvicidal in this oil. Umbellulone was found as the principal compound (37%) of U. californica essential oil, but was not present in L. nobilis essential oil. Umbellulone mosquito activity is here reported for the first time.