Natural Methods for Repelling Pesky Mosquitoes

mosquito repellant candles

Natural Methods for Repelling Pesky Mosquitoes

If you have ever been on a camping trip and been plagued by mosquitoes, you know this can put a huge damper on a fun-filled trip. Nasty bites and intense itching can last for weeks, not to mention the risk of contracting the West Nile virus or a more exotic virus like Zika. Insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535 tend to be the most effective, but not everyone wants to use products that can potentially harm one’s health and the environment. For those who prefer to rely on natural ways to repel mosquitoes, here are a few prevention and DYI repellant tips.

Prevention Tips

  • Wear light-colored long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn when many mosquitoes are most active.
  • Purchase mosquito nets before your camping trip and use them.
  • Avoid scented lotions and perfumes.
  • Spray a mint-flavored mouthwash around the campsite, tents, and bedding to help keep mosquitoes away.
  • Locate and discard free standing collections of water. If this is not possible, apply cooking spray such as PAM to the water, which will help kill the larvae.
  • Use energy-saving yellow bug lights around the campsite.
  • Add fresh garlic and black pepper to campsite recipes. Remember, they are attracted to your taste and smell and don’t like either of these!
  • Make and bring your own citronella candles which typically repel mosquitoes for 20 minutes to 2 hours.

Five DYI Mosquito Repellants

A variety of oils can be used to make effective mosquitos repellents. While these natural oils are derived from plants, they come with potentially harmful health risks and need to be used with great care. The key is to dilute the oils with lotion or water to make safe home remedies. It is important to conduct a spot test on a small patch of skin for one or two days before any full usage to determine if you are allergic. If you suspect an allergic reaction, stop using immediately, wash the area thoroughly, and call your local poison control center.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: This oil is one of the most well-known natural repellents, harkening back more than 70 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved eucalyptus oil as an effective mosquito repellent. Create your own mixture by combining one part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel. This remedy should not be used in children ages 3 and younger.

Thyme Oil: This is one of the best oils for providing protection. Create your own by combining four drops of thyme oil to every teaspoon of a base oil, such as olive or jojoba. For a spray, mix five drops of thyme oil to 2 ounces of water.

Soybean Oil: According to some research, soybean-based products like Bite Blocker for Kids can provide longer lasting protection from mosquitoes than citronella-based products. Start with soybean oil as the base and add a little lemongrass oil to a home mixture. This combination has been tested as effective against multiple species of mosquitoes.

Basil Oil: Basil is an uplifting oil, so adding some to an atomizer and spray will not only help keep mosquitoes away, but will boost your mood!

Peppermint Oil: Just like the mouthwash spray mentioned under prevention, peppermint oil is a mosquito detractor. Not only does it help prevent mosquitoes from biting you, but has been found to kill the larvae. If you get bitten, applying 10 undiluted drops of this oil can help ease the itching and pain.

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