What’s worse: being covered in mosquito bites, or slathering yourself with chemical compounds to just to keep the bugs off your skin? Thanks to advances in organic pest control, this is a tough decision you no longer have to make. Here are a few organic ways to keep the skeeters away and stay relatively bite-free this summer.
We all know DEET is bad news; despite its established mosquito-killing abilities, the chemical has been linked to everything from skin rash to cancer. Well, according to Science Daily, we no longer have to settle for life-threatening synthetic compounds to remain bite-free. A research study presented at the 222nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in 2001 found that catnip is actually up to six times more effective than DEET for keeping the mosquitoes at arm’s length.
This relative of lemongrass has long been known to repel mosquitoes; those candles, coils, and torches your folks always pack during camping trips contain high amounts of citronella. However, some experts argue the most effective way to go straight to the source and plant patches of lemongrass throughout your yard. If you decide to go this route, eartheasy recommends sticking to either of the true varieties, Cybopogon nardus or Citronella winterianus.
You might not be the most popular dude at the campsite, but Joe Conlon, technical advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association, recently told ABC News that garlic has been known to repel mosquitoes to an extent, though not as much as some old wives would have you believe. “If you take garlic and squeeze it on your skin,” he said, “that portion of your skin will be repellent to mosquitoes for about 20-40 minutes.” Not the best solution, but certainly better than nothing.
These colorful, aromatic flowers keep away mosquitoes and garden pests — that’s what we call a summertime twofer. You can thank Pyrethrum, a chemical compound that naturally occurs in marigolds and is often used as an ingredient in chemical bug repellents. Pot a few of these babies and situate them near all the doorways and windows in your home to keep the mosquitoes out, but according to eartheasy, you may want to keep them off your porch — for all the bugs that can’t stand marigolds, wasps certainly seem to love them.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, oil of lemon eucalyptus is one of the most effective, long-lasting mosquito repellents out there; its ability to stave off bloodsuckers is comparable to DEET, Picaridin, and other manmade chemicals. Additionally, there are plenty of natural oils that work reasonably well. Lavender oil has been used to keep away mosquitoes and other pests for hundreds of years, says LIVESTRONG, and it smells good too. Nature’s Nurture also suggests combinining three oils — coconut, pepperment, and tea tree — to render a skin-friendly, anti-mosquito concoction. Neem and soybean oils are also known to get the job done as far as skeeters are concerned.
Also known as thiamine, B1 is a water-soluble compound that humans require on a daily basis; the minimum dose, according to LIVESTRONG, is 50-100 milligrams. If excessive amounts are consumed, the vitamin is excreted through the urine and perspiration. This will essentially make your blood taste less sweet to mosquitoes, without causing you to get sick in the process.