At Home | April 06, 2012 |
Keep Mosquitoes at Bay Naturally
by Vivian Nelson Melle
West Nile Virus is here to stay and now there are cases of Dengue Fever popping up in the south. Both diseases are carried by the mosquito so, besides causing annoying and itchy bites, mosquitoes carry disease and even cause major allergic reactions in some individuals. While there are several chemical repellents and insecticides on the market you can actually enjoy mosquito-free eco-living without the chemicals.
Here are a few ways to keep mosquitoes at bay naturally.Lemon-Eucalyptus for the Win
Topping the list of natural mosquito repellents is lemon eucalyptus. Even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledges the abilities of this natural product on a fact sheet list where it’s found among the chemically-laden DEET, Picaridin and IR3535. You can easily make your own by mixing 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil into a carrier oil of your choice. Coconut oil is a good choice or a light vegetable oil but remember these may stain. To avoid oily marks you can also mix the essential oils into 4 ounces of witch hazel and spritz all over.Cinnamon and Catnip Oil Perform Better Than DEET
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed cinnamon oil performing better than N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) in killing mosquito larva. DEET, originally a military creation, was approved for civilian use in 1957. It is often found in insect repellents for human use. However, the chemical has been linked to seizures, insomnia and other health impairments. Instead, cinnamon is a safe alternative with can be added to lotions, shampoos and any other toiletries you will use before heading into mosquito country. If you’d like a choice of scents, you can also give catnip oil a try. Research done at Iowa State University showed this relative of mint proving as effective, if not more so, than DEET.
Mosquitoes Dig Perfumes and Carbon Dioxide
Mosquitoes are drawn to floral scents so your perfume, body spray and even lotion might be drawing them right to you. But wait, they also love your breath. Well, not so much your breath as the carbon dioxide your breath out. There’s no way to stop this so it’s best to lower the attractions mosquitoes have to you. If you can’t wear one of the repellents discussed above than try to stay indoors during the mosquito’s social hour, dawn and dusk. Also, wearing light colors will draw them right toward you so dark colors are a better choice and cover as much skin as possible.
The Plants Mosquitoes Hate
If you want to keep the little guys from ruining a summer barbecue than there are a few plants that seem to repel mosquitoes. Catnip, Rosemary, Basil and Marigolds are herbs and flowers that will keep these flying insects away. You can plant them on the boundaries of your eating area to help deter mosquitoes. Garlic is another plant mosquitoes dislike but you are sure to love. Not only will you have fresh cloves for the kitchen, but the plant offers up some very pretty flowers as well.Reprinted with permission from Green Living Ideas