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Best Natural Mosquito Repellents
Nowadays, more and more people are becoming more conscious about the environment. The decades of ruining the environment seem to be behind us, and we are all looking for more eco-friendly options. This, however, led to a problem.
You see, many people became conscious about the environmental degradation, which is great. But, we all have those nights when the high pitch of a mosquito is waking us up. So, it was expected that we would start looking for some alternatives to traditional mosquito repellents.
That’s because most of the traditional insect repellents are full of chemicals that are toxic to people and really harmful to the environment. That’s why many of us still refrain from using the traditional mosquito repellents, and aim for modern natural alternatives.
Do you still use pesticides from decades ago? Well, we would like to present some natural alternatives to these pesticides, in order to save the environment, before it’s too late.
Natural Mosquito Repellents
When it comes to natural mosquito repellents, there are many different options to choose from. We chose some of our favourite ones, taking their impact to the environment into consideration.
Let’s begin by firstly taking a look at Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (also known as OLE). This oil is 100% natural, as it is extracted from plants. Many have praised this specific active ingredient, because it is really effective. From our experience, we can safely say that it works as well as products that contain low concentrations of DEET, when it comes to repelling mosquitoes.
OLE itself is extracted from a specific plant known as the gum eucalyptus tree. These trees are native to Australia. The actual chemical that is extracted from these trees is named PMD. PMD is known for its demonstrated efficacy as an insect repellent. So, if you had to choose a natural mosquito repellent right now, we’d suggest you go buy a can of this. For every application, you are getting around 2 hours of protection, which is fair for a natural product.
But, there are some risks that come with OLE. When you decide to buy a can, make sure to buy the insect repellent version and not the pure oil of lemon eucalyptus. The actual oil is an essential oil, so it’s different to the actual pesticide. Also, make sure to not apply it to your children if they are under the age of 3. That’s because the effectiveness and safety of such oils isn’t yet 100% known.
If you aren’t a fan of OLE, you could opt for catnip oil, a different essential oil. The insect repellents that contain this oil are natural, since the actual oil is derived from the nepeta cataria plant.
The best thing about catnip oil is that it is really effective. According to the EPA, after an application, you can expect mosquito protection for up to 7 hours. This is really impressive!
Let’s get into some more details. The Nepeta parnassica, a member of the mint family related to catnip, is said to be effective against mosquitoes. The flowers themselves are white and pink and grow up to 18 inches. But, the oil from the leaves is what’s most valuable.
One study found that the oil from the plant can repel mosquitoes for around 2-3 hours. Some researchers at Iowa State University found out that catnip can be up to 10 times more effective than DEET products at repelling mosquitoes. So, why not aim for a natural product, especially when it’s more effective?
Then we come to one of the most well-known ingredients, Citronella. Citronella is a very common essential oil that repels mosquitoes effectively. It is made from a mix of herbs, and can be found in tons of different mosquito repellents. If you want to stay outside, make sure to get some citronella candles, as they are really effective at repelling mosquitoes, and can offer up to 50% extra protection.
Researches have shown that what makes citronella really effective is its formulation. When the product is formulated correctly, it can be as effective as DEET, offering protection of up to two hours.
But, if the formula isn’t right, the citronella in the products will evaporate quickly, leaving you vulnerable to mosquitoes. Some other studies have also shown that, while citronella keeps mosquitoes at bay for some time, it might not work as long as some other repellents.
Let’s get to a lesser known active ingredient, IR3535, or Merck 3535. This is an active ingredient that is used in some insect repellents. It had been widely used in Europe for some years, before it was officially registered by the EPA.
IR3535 is considered a natural ingredient, due to the fact that, structurally, it is related to a naturally occurring chemical. IR3535 will offer protection for up to around two hours.
This is another natural ingredient that isn’t widely used. While you might be able to find it in some insect repellents, it isn’t that well-known.
2-undecanone is derived from the tomato plant, and can offer protection from mosquitoes for up to 4-5 hours.
Our last essential oil (for now) is nootkatone. This is one more natural ingredient that is not known by many people. It derives from grapefruit skin and cedar trees, and is also approved by the EPA as an ingredient in insecticides.
Studies have shown that nootkatone repels tons of insects, killing many of them, including mosquitoes. It also gives many hours of protection from mosquitoes, which is always great.
Other Alternatives to Repel Mosquitoes
Then again, we don’t always want to spend our hard-earned money on mosquito repellents. So, what are some other ways to repel mosquitoes?
Well, our preferred way is to always cover up ourselves. This can range from wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants (yes, even when it’s a really hot summer night), to high socks and closed-toe shoes. Always tuck in your shirt into your pants (hey, it also looks nice), to make sure that no mosquitoes can get under your shirt. If you want to protect your baby, you can get some insect netting for the stroller.
Another great way to protect yourself from mosquitoes is to use fans. Mosquitoes are flying insects, so when they meet some air that is moving at high speeds, they will not be able to control themselves. Thus, they will find it really hard to land on you. So, when you’re sitting on the porch, just turn on your fan.
It would be to get rid of any standing water you might have. Most mosquitoes can lay eggs and live out the first half of their life cycle in containers with standing water, no matter how big or small the container is. Make sure to also keep bird baths clean, and dry any pots, tarps and toys you might have.
Our last way has to be to replace your lights. You should replace any incandescent bulbs on your patio where you hang out after dusk with yellow “bud light bulbs”, because these ones don’t attract mosquitoes as much as regular incandescent ones.
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Potential Risks of Using Natural Insect Repellents
There are some risks that you will need to take into consideration if you start using natural mosquito repellents.
Make sure to never put essential oils directly onto your skin. We can’t stress this enough. Never ever do that. The FDA doesn’t regulate most natural insect repellents, so many of them might cause an allergic reaction to some people.
Going natural doesn’t have to be expensive. There are ways for you to repel mosquitoes organically without spending so much money. Look for DIY alternatives online.
When you want to buy a natural insecticide, make sure to do a small spot-test on a small part of your skin. Then, wait for around one hour and see if you feel a burning sensation, or if it gets swollen. Either of the two mean that you can’t apply that product directly on your skin.
Safety Tips for Using Natural Insect Repellents
When you are looking for some insect repellents, make sure to not buy ones that use sunscreen and DEET at the same time. Deet shouldn’t be applied as often as sunscreen, because it might cause a reaction on your skin. If you want to use them together, remember to apply sunscreen first, then DEET.
Never apply insect repellents near your children’s hands, or allow young children to apply insecticide themselves. Also, remember to never apply a repellent over skin wounds, cuts or any other irritated skin areas.
Lastly, always follow the instructions on a product’s label. So, if you want to know how often to apply an insect repellent, the label is where you should find all of the information that you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many natural insect repellents are as effective as their chemical counterparts. For example, citronella can be as effective, if not more effective, than most non-natural products.
Our personal favourite repellents are the ones that have either OLE or citronella as their main active ingredient.
In order to naturally repel mosquitoes safely and effectively, you should use some of the natural insecticides we have mentioned above.
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