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
- 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
- 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
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
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.