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Does anyone know any natural mosquito repellents?

By Expert HERWriter June 16, 2009 - 11:40pm
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Summer is creeping up on us fast and so is mosquito season. I remember the days when Phoenix was mosquito-free but in past years I've been getting a lot of bites that turn into red itchy bumps the following day. I'm not crazy about the idea of covering myself with insect repellent but I have to do something. Does anyone know of any natural mosquito repellents that I could try? Or are there dietary things that would work, like maybe garlic capsules or something? I welcome your ideas and suggestions! Thanks so much, Michelle

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Expert HERWriter

Wow!! I went to bed last night after posting this question hoping for maybe a reply or two and now look how many amazing replies there are in less than 24 hours! This community is so wonderful and I can't tell you all how grateful I am for your help and suggestions. Everything that you wrote sounds great and I'm going to try these ideas and see how it goes. I agree with looking for something that is DEET-free and with what Princeline wrote--we get exposed to so many toxins as it is, I really hesitate to put that on my skin.

Thank you again everyone! Your posts really made my day! Big hugs to you all, Michelle (and if anyone else has anything to add, please feel free!)

June 17, 2009 - 9:53pm
(reply to Michelle King Robson)

I'm also looking for DEET-free, and we had an extensive conversation about this just a few weeks ago!

I wrote about the findings: Summary of Toxicity Reports for insect repellents, and joanna mentioned Bug Band which sounds great. The only "proven-effective" natural insect repellent for direct skin is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (sold as Repel).

For my toddler son, I am using the Bug Band for indirect use (hanging from the back of his hat or chair, not on arm), and Repel on his legs and arms. Repel should not get into eyes, so I'm hoping his big, bald, cute forehead does attract mosquitoes...if it does, I may try IR3535.

According to CDC and EPA, "products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection":

Traditional pesticides:
• DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methyl-
• Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-
piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )

Derived from plant and natural ingredients:
• Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-
diol)the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
• IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl

June 18, 2009 - 2:50pm

Michelle, as you know our skin is the largest organ of our body, so what goes on it is very important...if you wouldn't put it in your mouth then we had better not put it on our skin, just my opinion. I use essential oils, natural and they work...Peppermint, Lemon, citronella, Eucualyptus, rosemary and lemongrass; if I get bit then lavender and peppermint reduce the itching!

June 17, 2009 - 7:40pm

I didn't know catnip was a natural mosquito repellant!

So, take your choice - repel a mosquito, or attract a cat, LOL!

June 17, 2009 - 5:23pm

Hey Michelle,

In addition to using a natural repellent on your skin, you may also want to consider plants that allegedly ward off mosquitoes. Gomestic.com lists the following:

Citronella grass:



Marigolds and something I have never heard of before called mosquito plants.

To find out more, click here.

Another thought is planting shrubs, etc., that attract mosquito predators such as dragonflies or birds.

Has anyone tried planting different shrubs, flowers, etc as a way to keep the mosquitoes at bay? How effective was it?

June 17, 2009 - 3:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

Great question Michelle….here are some great ideas that I found for natural insect repellants:

Mother Earth News.com provided this special recipe for a natural insect deterrent but as any precaution, you should always use a small amount of a portion or your skin to be sure your skin is not allergic.
Herbal Insect Repellent
2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the following essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary (available at health food stores)
1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)
Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on any exposed skin (test first to be sure your skin will not be adversely affected by the repellent) or dab it on clothing.
About.com also had some great information on what mosquitoes are attracted to in order to try and avoid certain things. Here is a list:

• Dark Clothing
Many mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts from a distance. Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.
• Carbon Dioxide
You give off more carbon dioxide when you are hot or have been exercising. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide.
• Lactic Acid
You release more lactic acid when you have been exercising or after eating certain foods (e.g., salty foods, high-potassium foods).
• Floral or Fruity Fragrances
In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral fragrance from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
• Skin Temperature
The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito. Many mosquitoes are attracted to the slightly cooler temperatures of the extremities.
• Moisture
Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.
I thought his was great information since I really wasn’t aware of the things that attracted mosquitoes.

About.com also had more information on which natural remedies worked the best and you can read more here http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/mosquito.htm.

It appears that many natural oils are actually natural repellants as well as garlic. I hope this helps.

June 17, 2009 - 11:42am

Hi Michelle -- I was just dealing with this issue recently with my daughter. She was getting bitten up pretty badly at school and I was looking for something DEET-free. I found Bug Band. It uses the essence of Geraniums, which apparently repels bugs.

Here is a recent post in which this issue is discussed:

June 17, 2009 - 11:11am

Hi Michelle, there is one mosquito repellent that I have heard from DōTerra called TerraShield repellent. It is made of essential oils including oil of lemon eucalyptus. It is a small bottle but the oil is very concentrated so a small amount should do the trick. I believe a bottle will cost you anywhere between $10-$13. Let me know if you find another one-- I am considering giving this one a try because it's supposed to do great things for your skin as well.

June 17, 2009 - 5:22am
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