With the uptick in mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, dengue, and chikungunya, the need for effective mosquito repellent grows. One of the most common chemicals, known as DEET, has been known to cause many adverse side effects including encephalopathy, or impair motor capacity, memory, and learning ability, especially in children. So, to keep themselves and their children safe, many people turn to essential oils to prevent both the itchy bites and the harmful chemical side effects.
Which Plant-Based Products are Best for Bug Control?
Plants have been used to prevent mosquitoes and other annoying bugs for thousands of years. With the right combination and recipe, you can have a safe and strong bug repellent without causing further harm with chemicals.
For Mosquito Repellents, you can use:
And for flies:
The best part about using essential oils derived from these plant products is that they are environmentally friendly, avoid the harmful side effects, and also reduce the risk of over-exposing the mosquito and bug populations to an overabundance of chemicals that can cause them to become pesticide-resistant.
Can mosquitoes resist chemical sprays?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regularly monitors the mosquito population for resistance to the commercially sprayed pesticides. Their technique, known as the CDC bottle bioassay places mosquitoes from a single colony into a bottle coated with pesticides for two hours, and counts how many dies at a given dosage. While the chemicals such as DEET are very effective at killing mosquitoes, as the tolerance level rises, so too does the need for increasing the dosage spread over the cities and towns where mosquitoes are born.
Chemicals vs Plants: A Comparison
Obviously, we all know that natural oils are a safer alternative to DEET, but do they work as well? An Israeli study has found that a comparison of DEET versus an all-natural repellent of cinnamon, eugenol, lemongrass, geranium, and peppermint oils were equally effective at preventing mosquito bites in the test subjects. Nor are mosquitoes the only bugs affected by natural bug repellents. Ants, ticks, and flies can also be kept at bay using natural formulas.
How To Make Natural Mosquito Repellent
You can purchase all-natural bug sprays that are safe for kids and pets at almost any health or sporting goods store. If you prefer the DIY approach, you can also make your own by combining 30 drops of essential oils like geranium, citronella, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary with a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, shake well then add 1/2 cup of water. Shake it again, and be sure to shake before every use so the oil and water do not separate.