Natural Mosquito Repellents

Natural Mosquito Repellent

Natural Mosquito RepellentsBefore getting to the heart of natural mosquito repellent vs. manufactured mosquito repellent, let’s take a look at DEET, the oily based ingredient found in store bought repellents. DEET is the main ingredient in manufactured mosquito repellents and, according to a study done at Duke University, has been found to cause brain cell damage. In addition, it can cause behavioral problems and can interact negatively with certain medications. As if these facts aren’t bad enough, research has shown that 15% of DEET applied to the skin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and the effects on the body can be disastrous! This chemical can cause reproductive problems, genital mutation, and disorders to the central nervous system. These facts alone are enough reason not to use a DEET based product to repel those annoying, biting little bugs. It is also a good idea to know what attracts mosquitos so that you can be prepared even when using a good, natural repellent. Mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing. They are able to see it even at a distance. Foliage, of course, is another attractant. In addition, they are attracted to carbon monoxide. If you have been exercising, or if you are simply hot, you will attract more of these bugs. A burning candle, as well, (not Citronella!) will also give off carbon dioxide and attract mosquitos. Lactic acid is an attractant. We tend to release more lactic acid after we have been exercising or after eating salty foods. The scent of a fruity or floral perfume will attract mosquitos, as well as scented hair products, or even scented fabric softener and dryer sheets. Skin temperature and moisture are culprits as well. Depending upon what type of mosquito is around, they are sometimes attracted to a person’s extremities, which are a cooler temperature than the rest of the body. Mosquitos are attracted to you when you perspire because perspiration contains certain chemicals that they are drawn to. In addition, when you perspire, the humidity around your body increases. Standing water will attract them as well; puddles and even mud puddles and moisture on plants.

What is the solution? Go natural! Here are some suggestions:

  • Garlic is a natural mosquito repellentCitronella: Citronella has been around for as long as I can remember. People have burned Citronella candles in their backyards, on decks, and porches during the summer months to keep mosquitos away; however, Citronella, the pure, essential, non-fragranced oil is a natural and safe mosquito repellent. It is different from the oil that is sold to burn outdoors, which is not good for your skin, but this is a high quality oil that can be purchased in a health food store.
  • Catnip: Catnip is an unlikely cure for mosquitos; however Iowa State University did a study and found there is an essential oil found in the catnip herb that is an excellent mosquito repellent; much more effective than DEET!
  • Garlic: This is a great natural mosquito repellent when eaten fresh and in large quantities. We’ve heard that garlic is a wonderful herb for many different ailments, but, now we can also feel protected against mosquitos.
  • Lavender: Lavender, in its form as an essential oil, is an excellent natural mosquito repellent. It is most effective when mixed with other oils such as coconut oil, apricot kernel, or sweet almond.
  • Neem Oil or Neem Seed Oil: Neem, a plant found in India, produces an oil that has been found to be an excellent repellent against mosquitos. As confirmed by scientists at the Malaria Institute in India, this oil is more effective than DEET.
  • Organic Soy Oil: It has been found insect repellents containing soybean oil work just as well as the DEET based repellents. The good news is that soybean oil is easy to find and is also inexpensive. As a side benefit, it is also known to be a great moisturizer, and, in addition, can slow the growth of body hair when it is applied to the skin. Soy oil in its organic state will be most effective as a repellent.
  • Lotus: Lotus has been found to be an excellent natural mosquito repellent. It is suggested that it is more effective when used in water features and ponds (in the yard) than to be applied to the skin because it actually grows in water. Lotus will rid the area of not only mosquitos, but their larvae as well.
  • Black Pepper: Black pepper essential oil has been proven through studies to work well as a natural mosquito repellent.

Make a Home Made Mosquito Trap

There is, interestingly enough, a way to repel mosquitos by building a “mosquito” trap. It is a fact that mosquitos not only live on the blood of their host as they bite, but they also love flower nectar and fruit juice. This fact can be taken advantage of by using fermented fruit juice and sugar. Here’s how. Smash one cup of fermented fruit (with juice) and let it sit in the sun for about two days. Take a quart size container with a wide mouth and punch several 1/16 inch holes in the lid, big enough to let mosquitos in, but not large enough for other insects. Next add 3 teaspoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of boric acid with the fermented fruit and fruit juice mixture and place it all in the container. Put the top on and place the container outside in a sheltered area. The mosquitos will get in and eat the mixture; the boric acid lacing the mixture will kill them.

1 Comment

  1. Kathryn Dilligard

    September 14, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Yeah. I tried Citronella before. Really effective!