Natural Mosquito Repellants

Written by Linda Alexander
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Natural mosquito repellants are an alternative to products containing DEET and are used for safe mosquito control. They are convenient for children, pregnant women, and others who want to avoid spraying DEET on their skin.

Many volatile plant oils effectively repel mosquitoes, but you must reapply them about every two hours - more frequently than chemical repellents. Products that contain multiple repellents will be more effective, since different mosquitoes are attracted to different things. Oils that repel mosquitoes are citronella, castor, cedar, rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, clove, and geranium oils.

The Opposite of Natural Mosquito Repellants: Attract Them Somewhere Else

You can also repel mosquitoes by avoiding substances that attract them, or use them to attract mosquitoes away from your outdoor living area. Examples include:

  1. Dark clothing--mosquitoes can see it from a distance
  2. Carbon Dioxide--you give it off from breathing, or when you are hot or have been working out. Burning candles and fires also give off CO2
  3. Lactic Acid--you give it off when you have been exercising or eating salty or high-potassium foods.
  4. Floral or Fruity Fragrances--Hair products, perfumes, scented lotions or sunscreens, and fabric softeners and dryer sheets have fragrances that attract mosquitoes.
  5. Skin Temperature--The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito.
  6. Moisture--chemicals in perspiration and the humidity it adds around your body. Small amounts of water in moist plants or puddles in your yard also attract them. Standing water is where mosquitoes reproduce.

Some substances lower repellent effectiveness, reducing your anti-mosquito bite efforts. These include many sunscreens, moisture from perspiration or swimming, absorption into your skin, and evaporation from wind or high temperatures. Therefore, you should reapply them about every two hours. Remember, "natural" does not always mean "safe." Some people are sensitive to plant oils. Some natural insect repellents can be toxic. Therefore, although natural mosquito repellants provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals, follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these products.

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