Natural Insect repellents
Natural Insect repellents
With all the hot weather and rain we’ve been experiencing, an irritating down side is the number & size of mosquitoes we’re being forced to endure at night. While I loathe those blood-sucking critters with a passion, I really also would prefer not to be lacing myself with DEET or other industrial chemicals…
Lucky for us, Mother Nature is crafty; and as such, many plants have developed chemicals to keep insects at bay.You can find some of these natural repellents in store-bought natural sprays (I’ll show you a couple I recommend in a minute).
Another option is to make your own. All you need is an insect-repelling essential oil and a carrier liquid…
The carrier liquid has to be either another oil (usually a cooking oil) or an alcohol (either grain alcohol or witch hazel) so as best to disperse the essential oil throughout the solution. (Water won’t work for the obvious reason that water and oil don’t mix.)
Mix one part of the following insect repelling oils (you can find these online or at your local health food store) with 10 parts grain alcohol or cooking oil (I prefer cheap vodka or sunflower oil), and you have yourself some all-natural bug spray!
1) Basil oil. Not just for Italian dishes anymore! Many gardeners plant basil around their gardens to prevent insect damage. The same pungent chemical that stops the insects from invading gardens may also keep mosquitoes from attacking your skin.
2) Citronella oil. This is the main ingredient in many insect-repelling candles and torches. It comes from plants of the lemongrass family and is responsible for their lemony scent. In addition to warding off mosquitoes, it has also been shown to be effective against lice and some biting flies.
3) Lemon Eucalyptus oil. Composed of 80% citronella, this oil comes from the Lemon Eucalyptus tree, native to Australia. This is a popular oil in many store-bought natural insect repellents.
4) Cinnamon oil. The same stuff that spices up your baked goods is also a potentially potent insect repellent. Researchers have found that cinnamon oil is an effective and safe way to destroy mosquito larva. While there are no studies yet to show the spice’s effectiveness against adult mosquitoes, some researchers think the same chemical that kills the larva could also repel the adults1.
5) Catnip oil. This member of the mint family drives both cats and mosquitoes crazy: “Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.”2
6) Peppermint oil. The same stuff that has long been used as a remedy for stomach ailments and improving concentration3 is now thought to be an effective mosquito deterrent as well: “The team from the Malaria Research Center in Delhi, India, extracted the oil from locally-grown peppermint, then tested it on the larvae of three mosquito species by spreading it in a film on water supplies… Once the concentration had reached three milliliters per square meter of water, between 85% and 100% of the larvae died within a day, depending on their species. In addition, volunteers doused in the oil were offered up as bait for mosquitoes, and found to be 85% protected.”4
One important caveat with natural insect repellents: Because they’re not as strong and don’t contain as many preservatives as DEET, you’ll need to reapply often — usually about once an hour.
You’ll also want to keep your repellent refrigerated or on ice to keep the oils from losing their potency.
If you do want to go the over-the-counter natural route, I’d recommend the ones that list lemon eucalyptus or a citronella derivative (it may be labeled as citronellal, citronellol, or geraniol) as the main ingredient,
Enjoy being itch free !!