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The sweeter you smell the more likely you are to be bitten — that’s how mosquitoes choose their victims. Scientists have observed mosquitoes and determined that they bite according to your scent. So next time you decide to go camping, you may want to leave your cologne and lotion at home. However, it’s not just sweet smelling specimens that attract these biters. Mosquitoes also love the smell of sweat, if you wear dark clothing and maybe even your blood type. Weird huh!? Fortunately for us, there are ways we can repulse mosquitoes and try to keep them away from us. Find out the best natural mosquito repellent plants, sprays and homemade recipes.
Repel Mosquitoes Your Way
If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of a label or it sounds like a chemical compound it’s probably not natural. If you’re looking for a natural mosquito control you’ll want to follow this rule. For instance, can you pronounce any of these words on your first try: picaridin, methylpropyl, hydroxyethyl, piperidine carboxylate? Not so easy, eh? These were some of the ingredients we found in name brand mosquito repellents. We’re not saying you shouldn’t put these things on your skin, but we are saying that if you’re looking for organic, natural mosquito repellants you should probably put the bottles down that have these ingredients.
To Deet or Not to DEET
Ah, the big debate on whether or not DEET is good or bad. DEET is a popular ingredient found in insect repellents and does a great job at keeping biters away. Some believe that DEET is toxic and should not be used on the skin, while others think it’s just fine because it’s been around for 50 years. If you want to learn more about DEET, we recommend reading about these myths and fact about DEET. If you are going to a geographic location that has high risk of mosquito born illness such as Zika, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, elephantiasis, etc., you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of using DEET (the most effective ingredient against mosquitoes). Using this toxic ingredient from time to time may be worth the risk when compared to the very high risks associated with these serious illnesses.
Safest Bug Repellant with DEET
If you have opted to use a bug spray with DEET but are seeking a safer solution than the traditional brands, we recommend Sawyer Products Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion. Two of our team members are headed to Trinidad this summer to build houses with Habitat for Humanity and their research found this to be a reliable and safer choice (even for kids) when faced with the risks of Zika and Yellow Fever on the island. Bonus: it keeps working for 11 hours! It is what we will be using and worth your consideration in heavy mosquito zones (also protects against ticks).
Use Insect Repellent Properly
No matter what insect repellent you choose, it’s important to use it properly. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. As a general rule, you won’t want to spray your hands with the repellent because the chances of getting it in your eyes or mouth increase because you could touch your hand to your face. Many repellents will need to be shaken vigorously to make sure the ingredients haven’t separated too.
Below are our picks for best mosquito repellents. If you want to make your own homemade mosquito repellent skip down below. And don’t forget to check out some plants you should have around if you want to deter those pesky critters even more.
Bee Naturals pesticide-free insect repellent is our #1 pick for best natural insect repellent. It repels but doesn’t kill mosquitoes, fleas and ticks. This DEET-free insect repellent can be used on adults, children over the age of one, pets, lawn and garden. Bee Naturals organic bug spray is safe for the environment and made out of natural ingredients. The unique thing about Bee Naturals all natural mosquito repellent is that it comes out like a cream, not a spray, so you have to rub it into your skin. The downside of this bug repellent is that it has to be applied every two to three hours. However, according to customers, it works well, so we think it’s worth having to apply it more frequently than chemically, DEET filled repellents. One big plus is that it is made of mostly essential oils, so you smell good and not like chemicals.
BugMace is our second pick for best natural bug repellent because of its high reviews from customers and natural, organic ingredients. BugMace natural bug spray claims to repel mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, no-see-ums, chiggers, ants and fleas. It has a 100% guarantee to help repel mosquitoes and if you’re unsatisfied they will refund your entire purchase price, which we think is a great policy. BugMace is made with recyclable materials, it’s biodegradable and eco-friendly which is why it’s in our top three. The biggest complaint is that it has a strong scent, so if you’re sensitive to lemon or vanilla you may not like this repellant.
Rounding out our top three for its 100% natural, organic ingredients is Mosquito Guard. The three main active ingredients in this repellant are all plant-based oils: citronella oil, lemongrass oil and peppermint oil. Citronella is known for being a natural insect repellent, lemongrass is good at repelling mosquitoes and becomes more effective when combined with other oils and peppermint has a strong scent that bugs are irritated by. Why didn’t Mosquito Guard rank higher? Some buyers reported they received bottles of this organic mosquito repellent that weren’t completely full. Fortunately, customer services responded and appears to have corrected these instances. However, this is a bit unprofessional and there were enough complaints of this that we just couldn’t warrant it a higher spot in our rankings.
Below are some homemade options for organic mosquito control. Many of these items you may have at home, so you may not have to spend any money.
- Apply vanilla extract or vanilla essence to your pulse points.
- Rub lavender flower behind your ears, wrists and neck.
- Combine 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil and 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel in spray bottle. Shake and spray.
- Combine 1-1/2 T water, 1 t castor oil, 8 drops rosemary essential oil, 8 drops, lemongrass essential oil and 4 drops geranium essential oil in a 2 oz amber spray bottle. Shake and spray.
- Mix the following in spray bottle: 6 oz witch hazel, 2 oz castor oil, 5 drops cinnamon oil, 15 drops eucalyptus oil and 15 drop citronella oil. Shake and spray.
15 of the Best Mosquito Repellent Plants
Below is a list of plants that repel mosquitoes. You may want to consider having these mosquito-repelling plants around to get rid of those pesky pests.
- Geranium (also good for repelling ticks)
- Lemon balm
Get Rid of Mosquito Bites Fast
Did you forget to reapply your bug spray? I hear ya! It’s the small things that can be the most annoying. Paper cuts can be extremely painful and bug bites can be immensely itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are seven easy steps to get rid of your bug bites sooner. Watch the video below to stop itching now. You can also apply a drop of lavender essential oil to calm the itch.
Do you use DEET bug repellent or are you anti-DEET? Why?