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Natural Mosquito Repellents: The Alternative to Chemical Repellents

During the summer, everyone encounters the annoying little pest known as the mosquito. When you least suspect it, it lands on you, bites you, and leaves you itching and scratching for days to come. Chemical sprays are commonly used to keep mosquitoes away, but those repellents can be hazardous to your health. Fortunately, there are natural mosquito repellents available on the market, which are effective and safe to use for most individuals.

What Attracts Mosquitoes?
Before examining the advantages of natural mosquito repellents, it would be useful to know what exactly draws a mosquito to a human being. Below is a practical list of factors:

  • Every human and animal on the planet emits carbon dioxide when they breathe, and carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes. When you are hot and/or sweaty, you emit an even greater amount of carbon dioxide, making it easy for mosquitoes to pick up your scent.
  • When you exercise or consume certain particular foods, your body releases lactic acid, which is also a lure for mosquitoes. In fact, lactic acid is used in many mosquito traps.
  • Mosquitoes are drawn to dark colors and foliage; therefore, wearing light-colored clothes will make you less obvious, especially in a mosquito infested environment.
  • Skin temperature plays a role in attracting mosquitoes. Some types of mosquitoes are attracted to the cooler parts of the body such as the extremities, while other types are attracted to the warmer parts.
  • People exhale water vapor when they breathe, and produce perspiration during active movement. Mosquitoes are sensitive to the presence of wetness due to the fact that they like to breed in standing water. Consequently, they will tend to fly over to see if the moisture is a viable source, but will find you instead.

Ingredients in Natural Mosquito Repellents
Natural mosquito repellents consist of a combination of numerous ingredients that keep mosquitoes at bay. Oils from various plants are effective but need to be reapplied frequently. The most common natural oils used are the following: Geranium, Cedar, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Citronella, Clove, Lemon Eucalyptus, Castor, Lemongrass, and Peppermint.

The oils from Basil, Thyme, Fennel, Allspice, Lavender, Pine, Garlic, Soybean, Verbena, Pennyroyal, Cajeout, and Neem are less common, but also used in natural mosquito repellents. Although these oils are capable of repelling mosquitoes, certain factors can lower their effectiveness. Wind and high temperature cause them to evaporate, rain, perspiration and swimming dilute them, and various sunscreens lower their potency. Furthermore, they are quickly absorbed into the skin. Consequently, it is suggested that a natural mosquito repellent be reapplied every two hours.

Permethrin and Deltamethrin
For added protection, natural mosquito repellents containing permethrin or deltamethrin can be applied on clothes, mosquito nets, and tents as well. These repellents are generally used for long-term protection against bugs. They can last several months or several years, depending on the amount applied.

Permethrin is typically used as a repellent and insecticide on clothing, mosquito nets, shoes, tents, and other forms of camping gear. Tarps, bed nets, sleeping bags, and mattresses can also be treated with permethrin. Permethrin attacks the mosquito’s nervous system, which soon leads to its death. Once applied, it usually lasts about two weeks.

Deltamethrin is another repellent that is relatively safe for humans and is generally used in mosquito netting. Not only does it kill mosquitoes, but it also kills fleas, ticks, ants, bees, and spiders. Deltamethrin is a neurotoxin and should never be ingested, inhaled, or used on the skin.

Next time you are sitting on the patio on a delightful summer evening, and the mosquitoes are attempting to spoil it for you, try using a natural mosquito repellent in order to restore some enjoyment to your moment. Remember that even though these repellents are deemed natural, it does not mean that they are safe for everyone; many people are allergic or sensitive to certain plant oils. Test them on yourself, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that no harm comes to you or the members of your family.


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.

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