If you hate bugs as much as I do but refuse to spray unknown chemicals on your skin then these natural remedies are the best thing since sliced bread! Summer heat and unwanted bugs and bites come hand in hand so ditch the toxic commercial bug spray and opt for an all-natural repellant.
Plus with the impending threat of the Zika virus traveling towards the USA, it is important that we keep those pesky mosquitos away as effectively as possible.
DEET Mosquito Repellents Health Risks
To ward off blood-sucking mosquitoes, most people spray or slather on layers of DEET-based insect repellents.
DEET, otherwise known as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, is a colorless liquid that was developed by the U.S. Army in 1947 for use by soldiers and has not been changed at all since its development. It works by confusing an insect’s sense of smell, making them unable to locate anybody who has used it.
Although it has been known to be effective at warding off insects, specifically mosquitoes, it is also known for providing users with a variety of health risks. Since it is often applied in the form of a misty spray, people who use DEET-based insect repellent’s commonly get it in their eyes and mouth, causing painful irritation and other reactions. People who have accidentally swallowed DEET also experience nausea and vomiting and has even resulted in seizures.
Side effects caused by DEET don’t only occur when someone swallows or inhales it. If left on the skin for too long, DEET has been known to cause irritation, redness, rashes and swelling. Scientists have also confirmed that DEET can be found in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours after applying it to the skin.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Mosquito Repellent
The health effects caused by DEET emphasize the need for new, alternative insect repellents that don’t provide side effects but are still effective at repelling possibly harmful mosquitoes. Thankfully, one study found that lemon eucalyptus essential oil is the alternative that we’ve been looking for.
Lemon eucalyptus oil is commonly used by cosmetic industries for its strong, fresh scent, which researchers also attribute to its insect repelling properties.
However, the researchers found that lemon eucalyptus essential oil provided insect-repelling properties for up to an hour, making it the most effective natural mosquito repellent available.
Using Lemon Eucalyptus Oil as Mosquito Repellent
Using lemon eucalyptus oil as a bug repellent is incredibly easy. Simply fill a small spray bottle, preferably around 8 ounces, about three/quarters of the way full with water. Then add between 30 and 50 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil to the water, or until it reaches your desired strength, and mix well.
You can then spray this on your skin, or in areas highly infested with mosquitoes, and the strong smell will prevent them from coming near you.
Other Natural Bug Repellants
‘The field of repellent development from plants is extremely fertile due to wealth of insecticidal compounds found in plants as defenses against insects‘ (3), so by harnessing these compounds, we can create healthier, more natural ways to repel bugs.
‘Essential oils are volatile mixtures of hydrocarbons with a diversity of functional groups’ (4), one of these functions is an effective insect repellent. Peppermint is an excellent insect repellent due to its ability to turn from a liquid into a gas quickly (5). When the components of peppermint oil are broken down, menthane-3 can be found. Menthane-3 is a registered insect repellent.
With so many uses, peppermint oil is one of the most useful ingredients, find out how it can stop migraines here!
Neem oil is effective against insects and fungal infections, thanks to its azadirachtin A content (source). Neem is probably one of the oldest natural pesticides that has been used.
T. Patula Essential Oil (Dwarf Marigold)
This essential oil isn’t very well-known, however, it’s been found to be an effective natural way to deal with bed bug infestations. (source) You’ll want to speak with your pest controllers to discuss how best to expose the bed bugs to T.Patula essential oil (most likely dissolved into a vinegar spray for convenience). Bed bugs can be tricky, and a very thorough action plan is needed to get rid of them for good, including laundry, picture frames, mattresses, box springs, and baseboards.
Wood vinegar is an excellent, natural resource that you can use to repel insects in both your garden and house. It has been used in Asia for quite some time and has been found to be an effective, natural pesticide (6).
However, standard apple cider vinegar makes an equally as valid source to repel bugs around your home. Just put 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water n a spray bottle and get spraying! You can also mix insecticidal essential oils into your vinegar spray for extra effectiveness.
Pests hate everything about cayenne pepper! It’s effective in repelling a huge range of bugs, from beetles to green fly and mosquitos. Discover how to use cayenne pepper to make a natural insect repellent here!
Please note: cayenne pepper can be dangerous if too much is inhaled or sprayed on the skin continuously. It’s spraying chili on yourself! So maybe stick to spraying the plants with this one.
Mint leaves can be used to get rid of pests. Scientists found that they had killed 47% of rice weevils within a 3-day window. Try leaving some mint leaves in areas of the house where you know pests live- thankfully, mint smells amazing so you won’t mind! (source)
Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil, Thyme Oil, Clove Oil
It doesn’t just smell good; it can repel mosquitos too! Lavender oil has been found to effectively rid hairless mice of mosquitos (8), proving just as useful as commercial bug repellents. As mentioned previously, essential oils are great, natural ways to repel bugs and they are also kind on the skin! Lavender oil is also a fantastic relaxant and headache stopper, find out how here.
Rosemary, Thyme, and Clove essential oils have also been tested against crop insects, unwanted weeds, and house insects and found to be effective! (source) Try mixing these oils into your vinegar blend and spraying areas of your house where unwanted pests live.
It always comes back to turmeric, doesn’t it? Curcuma longa has been found to be an effective insecticide against pests like mosquitos and crop insects. You can dust areas of your house with ground turmeric to help prevent pests. (source)
So next time you head into the garden to potter around or even just go for a walk with the dog, don’t opt for the chemically enhanced, commercial bug spray. Instead, make your own, natural spray that will ward off the insects in no time!