Natural Mosquito Repellent: A Natural Barrier
It is such a wonderful feeling when the warmer weather approaches.
You can pull out your swimsuit, sunscreen, baseball glove,
tent, boat, and barbecue. However, along with all those fun-in-the-summer
activities comes the annoying buzz of pesky mosquitoes!
the recent alarming increase in mosquito-borne viruses such
as the West Nile Virus, many summer revellers
are worrying about more than just a few itchy bites. The appearance
of these seasonal pests usually has people running for the
insect repellent, but before immersing yourself in a cloud
of strong-smelling chemicals, did you know that there are
certain natural oils and foods that can act as an insect repellent?
The lasting power of natural mosquito repellent may not be
as long as those repellents that contain DEET or other such
chemicals, but their repellent qualities are a safer choice,
and that in itself is worth the extra effort involved in more
The most common natural mosquito repellents are essential
oils of varying types. The most effective are said to be citronella
oil and clove oil. It is important to be careful when using
clove oil as it is a skin irritant, so it must be diluted
and used sparingly. Other effective oils include lemon, eucalyptus,
cinnamon, castor, rosemary, cedar, and peppermint. When using
any essential oil as a natural mosquito repellent, remember
that they are solely for external use. Be sure to test the
oil on a small patch of skin before applying it fully to ensure
that you are not allergic to it.
Another scientifically-proven natural mosquito repellent is
garlic. If you like to relax in your backyard, but it is crowded
with buzzing pests, commercial garlic sprays are available,
and can be used on your outdoor garden. Studies have also
shown that applying a jelly-based compound containing garlic
on your skin can help keep mosquitoes away. However, its signature
pungent aroma may also repel your friends and family! It is
important to consult your doctor before using garlic as an
insect repellent as it contains high amounts of allicin and
could cause allergic reactions and/or skin problems. If slathering
yourself or your garden with garlic is unappealing to you,
you could add garlic to your daily diet. If a large amount
of garlic is ingested, the odor tends to seep out of the body’s
pores, acting as a natural barrier against mosquitoes.
Making your own
It is possible to make your own natural mosquito repellent
spray. Using a 10-to-1 ratio, add one part of the listed essential
oils above to 10 parts of rubbing alcohol, vodka, witch hazel
or olive oil, and shake well before using. Mosquitoes are
usually attracted to perfumes and flowery aromas, therefore
adding a few drops of the listed essential oils to your shampoo
and liquid soap can help counteract the fragrances in these
products and keep mosquitoes away.
Don’t Sweat It!
Aside from using a natural mosquito repellent, knowing when
your body is most vulnerable is a plus. Carbon dioxide attracts
mosquitoes, therefore when you are hot or have been exercising,
mosquitoes may find you extra-tasty. They are also attracted
to moisture and that includes perspiration. Exercising, as
well as eating certain foods high in salt and potassium, will
make your system release a greater amount of lactic acid,
which will lure the mosquito population. It is not only perfumes,
shampoos, body lotions, body washes, and sunscreen on your
body that make you vulnerable to bites, but also the subtle
fragrances of dryer sheets and fabric softeners in your clothes.
Article written by Anna DeGaborik
Anna DeGaborik is the author
for the All Mosquito
Netting Info website. She studies insect diseases and
prevention, specializing in mosquitoes.