9 best natural mosquito repellents

We usually get bitten by mosquitoes due to a combination of odors, light, heat and humidity. If you’re a mosquito magnet, you’re probably sick of saggy, itchy skin, and different types of mosquitoes prefer bacteria and sweat. Others are attracted to carbon dioxide and some hand odors.

Whatever species you come across, you can protect yourself without having to use chemical repellents. Chemicals can cause health and environmental problems. You may choose to avoid using these products unless you are traveling to places with a high risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika. If you do activities like hiking, walking in your garden, or a camping trip, natural repellents may be a better option. This may be especially true for more sensitive children.

9 Most Effective Natural Mosquito Repellents

1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Lemon and eucalyptus oil has been in use since the 1940s and is one of the most popular natural insect repellents. A recent study showed that a 32% mixture of lemongrass and eucalyptus oil provides 95% protection against mosquitoes for three hours.

do it yourself

You can make your own mixture with 1 part lemon or eucalyptus oil to 10 parts sunflower or witch hazel oil.

2. lavender

Crushed lavender flowers produce a fragrance and oil that can repel mosquitoes. In addition, lavender has analgesic, antifungal and antiseptic properties. This means that in addition to preventing mosquito bites, it can calm and soothe the skin.

do it yourself

You can grow lavender in an outdoor garden or indoor plantings. Crush the flowers and apply the oil to the tingling parts of the body, such as the ankles and arms. Also drop some lavender oil on a clean washcloth and rub it on the skin.

3. Cinnamon oil

Cinnamon isn’t just a great addition to applesauce or oatmeal. According to a study conducted in Taiwan, cinnamon oil can kill mosquito eggs. It can also act as a repellent against adult mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger mosquito.

do it yourself

For a 1% diluted solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon (or 24 drops) of oil with 20 ml of water. You can spray the liquid on your skin or clothing, around your home, and on upholstery or plants. Be careful when applying cinnamon oil, as a concentrated dose can irritate your skin.

4. Thyme oil

When it comes to repelling mosquitoes, thyme oil is one of the best oils for providing protection. In an animal study, 5% thyme oil was applied to the skin of hairless mice providing 91% protection. You can also throw thyme leaves into a campfire. Research shows that burning thyme leaves provides 85% protection for 60-90 minutes.

do it yourself

For a homemade infusion, mix 4 drops of thyme oil with each teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as olive oil or jojoba oil. For spraying, mix 5 drops of thyme oil with 10 ml of water.

5. Catnip Oil

Nepeta parnasica, a member of the mint family related to catnip, can repel mosquitoes. One study found that oil from the plant can effectively repel mosquitoes for two to three hours. Catnip is 10 times more effective than chemical insect repellents at repelling mosquitoes.

6. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a common, natural, and effective essential oil that works against mosquitoes. Made from a mixture of herbs, it is used in many mosquito repellants. Outdoors, citronella candles can provide up to 50% more protection. Research shows that lemongrass formulation is important for its effectiveness. When formulated correctly, the product is just as effective as chemical insect repellents and can protect you for up to two hours. If the formula is incorrect, citronella can evaporate quickly and leave you unprotected.

7. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, is a popular essential oil native to Australia. This oil is known for its antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. But recent studies also suggest that tea tree oil may be an effective insect repellent. Repellents containing tea tree oil are effective against mosquitoes, flies and mosquito bites.

8. Geraniol

Geraniol is a type of alcohol used as a fragrance or flavor. It comes from vegetable oils such as citronella, citronella, and rose. As an ingredient in mosquito repellents, it’s known to be effective for two to four hours, depending on the type. Keep it out of your eyes and try to avoid using it if you have sensitive skin. Geraniol can cause eye and skin irritation.

9. Neem oil

Although neem oil has been promoted as a natural alternative, results are mixed regarding its effectiveness. A recent study on the effectiveness of neem oil found that it provides 70% protection for three hours. Neem oil is not approved as a topical repellent because it may cause skin irritation.

the potential risks

Essential oils should never be used directly on the skin. It is always diluted in a carrier oil such as almond oil. The recipe usually consists of 3-5 drops of the essential oil in one part of the carrier oil.

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to the active ingredients of the essential oils. Before using any new product, do a spot test on a small patch of your skin and wait an hour or two to make sure there are no hives or a burning sensation.

Treat mosquito bites

Even with mosquito repellent, you can get painful and itchy mosquito bites. To treat mosquito bites at home, you can try rubbing apple cider vinegar on the bite site. Placing a slice of raw onion or fresh garlic on the sting can help relieve and prevent infections. If you develop an infection or allergic reaction to a large number of mosquito bites, be sure to note your symptoms and contact your doctor. A high temperature, pus, bleeding from the sting site, or crusts that don’t go away could be signs of a problem.

sources

Cheng, S. S., Liu, J. Y., Tsai, K. H., Chen, W J., & Chang, S. T. (2004). Chemical composition and mosquito larvicide activity of essential oils from leaves of different Osmoflollium cinnamomum plant proven. [Abstract]. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 52 (14), 4395-4400

Choi, WS, Park, BS, Ku, SK, & Lee, SE (2002). The repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pads. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 18(4), 348-351

Frances, SP, Rigby, L.M., & Chow, WK (2014, March). Comparative laboratory and field evaluation of repellent formulations containing DEET and lemon eucalyptus oil against mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 30(1), 65-67

Gkinis, G., Michaelakis, A., Koliopoulos, G., Ioannou, E., Tzakou, O., & Roussis, V. (2014). Evaluation of the repellent effects of beta parnasica extract, essential oil and the major metabolite neptalactone against mosquitoes. Journal of Parasitology Research, 113(3), 1127-1134

Greive, KA, Staton, JA, Miller, PF, Peters, BA, & Oppenheim, VMJ (2010, February 16). Development of melaleuca oils as an effective natural repellent for personal insects. Southern Entomology, 49(1), 40-48

Maiia, M. F., & Moore, S. J. (2011, March 15). Botanical insecticides: a review of development and testing of their efficacy. Malaria Journal, 10 (1), S 11

Peterson, C. J., & Coates, J. R. (2011, December 13). Catnip essential oil and its nepetalactone isomers as mosquito repellents. ACS Seminar Series, 1090, 59-65

Phasomkusolsil, S., & Soonwera, M. (2011, September). Efficacy of herbal essential oils as insecticides against Aedes aegypti (Linn.), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) and Anopheles dirus (Peyton and Harrison). Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 42(5), 1083-1092

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