Mosquitoes not only cause itchy bites but also transmit disease as well. There is a good chance that the mosquito bites you or your child sustains might have malaria, dengue virus, West Nile virus or Eastern Equine encephalitis and many more. Now there is Zika virus, which is also spread by mosquitoes and could cause pregnant mothers to have babies with microcephaly or too small heads.
Because they suck blood, you have to think of mosquitoes as flying dirty needles. Repellent sprays are a good choice for dealing with nasty mosquitoes. The chemical DEET has been a standard active ingredient in most mosquito repellents.
Recent research showed certain natural substances have the same efficacy as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. If you find DEET irritating and would like to have a fresh-smelling place, you have to try these natural alternative repellents.
Take note that there are still important guidelines in using these natural mosquito repellents. They do not actually kill mosquitoes, so you still have to go and clean places where mosquitoes breed. Many of these essential oils, if concentrated, are still irritating to the nose and eyes so use them with care.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus
Lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora) grows in Australia. The fragrance of this oil is somewhat similar to citronella, with a slight hint of lemon. Insect repellents using oil of lemon eucalyptus as an active ingredient is as effective as DEET in preventing mosquito bites.
You might be tempted to purchase pure essential oil of lemon eucalyptus, but its effect on mosquitoes is not clear. Stick to prepared lemon eucalyptus sprays and make sure to spray every two hours.
Let not its chemical-sounding name deter you, because this substance is found naturally in bananas, strawberries, guavas and wild tomatoes. Sprays with 2% 2-undecanone are as good as common DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
Take note that 2-undecanone sprays may also repel cats and dogs. As a bonus, 2-undecanone sprays are also repulsive to raccoons. You may find 2-undecanone good for outdoors and at the boundaries of your place. You can also spray it on places where you do not want your dogs and cats to play.
Citronella (Cymbopogon citratus) may have some effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes, though not as good as DEET. Citronella has a lemony smell and leaves a fresh scent in the room. Also, citronella oil also repels flies and other flying insects.
According to established studies, the duration of protection of citronella sprays against mosquitoes is much less than DEET (but it still works). You may want to use citronella with vanillin extract (the essential oil in vanilla), which has a better mosquito repellent effect than citronella alone. Contrary to advertisements, citronella plants and citronella candles are not good at repelling mosquitoes.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) oil is an underrated good mosquito repellent. Catnip oil works better than DEET in repelling mosquitoes, even in low concentrations. Catnip also effectively repels most kinds of flies, including common houseflies. Also, catnip oil may be less irritating than DEET. Furthermore, catnip oil can protect you from mosquitoes for up to 7 hours.
Catnip oil is advantageous because it can be used as a repellent even in low concentrations. You can find catnip oil good for clearing mosquitoes out of kitchens, attics, and other enclosed rooms.
This fragrant substance is also good for mosquitoes. Geraniol is a component in citronella and rose oil. The protective effect of geraniol can last up to 4 hours, so it is suitable for use at home and offices.
Take note that geraniol may be irritating when used at high concentrations.
Oil from cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are as good as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Clove oil is good for all species of mosquitoes like those conventional repellents. The chemical eugenol is the primary aromatic in clove oil though other substances may explain its mosquito repelling properties.
Clove oil may have a strange scent especially to westerners, but it smells good and works really great for mosquitoes. Though cloves are used to flavor food, try to avoid spraying clove oil on food because ingestion can cause undesirable effects.