With the news of how mosquitoes are spreading the Zika Virus, more and more people are looking for ways to keep the pesky bug away. But maybe you should think twice before buying the first repellent you find at the store.
Most of the mosquito repellents you find at mainstream stores such as Wal-Mart and Target contain DEET. Why is DEET so bad? Studies have found that it damages brain cells, can cause behavioral changes, and can have harmful interactions with some medications. Doesn’t exactly sound like anything you want to spray on your little child does it? Not so much. So what other options do you have? How do you keep those pesky mosquitoes off you and your family? Lucky for us more and more natural products (without DEET) are popping up on store shelves each year. But, sometimes it’s still hard to find one that works well. What else can you do?
Here are some natural alternatives you can try to keep mosquitoes away:
1. Citronella—Use only pure essential oil of citronella—not fragrance oil. For your skin application it’s best to get a high quality citronella essential oil.
2. Garlic – Eating raw garlic or cooking with it can repel mosquitoes for up to 6 hours.
3. Catnip – It’s not just for your favorite little pet. While cats go crazy for catnip, mosquitoes hate the smell. A research done at Iowa State University found that the essential oil found in the herb catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
4. Organic Soy Oil – Soy oil is inexpensive and easy to find, making it an excellent choice.
5. Lavender Essential Oil – It smells great and is a commonly used as a effective mosquito repellent. It’s best diluted in a carrier oil like organic soy oil (double the repellent power – see #4).
6. Plant Marigold Flowers – They look pretty around your home and mosquitoes can’t stand the smell!
7. Herbs – Unlike most of us, mosquitoes don’t like Basil, Lemongrass and Rosemary. Grow an herb garden on your outdoor deck or the next time you are having a backyard BBQ throw some of the herbs on the grill and watch the pesky bugs fly away.