- Avoid spending long periods of time in common mosquito habitats
- Remove all still water from around your home where the insect might breed
- When outside, cover up so minimal skin is showing where the insects can bite you
- When outdoors, use a repellent
While the CDC recommends using a mosquito repellent with DEET to avoid being bitten and possibly contracting the West Nile virus, there are quite a few people who would rather deter the insects without that harsh chemical. Care2 has put together a list of eight natural mosquito repellants you can use to keep yourself safe from the West Nile virus and all the other mosquito born diseases out there.
Care2 notes that an Iowa State University study found the essential oils which are found in catnip make it nearly 1000% (ten times) more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
This is the typical natural alternative to DEET for most people looking to ward of mosquitoes. It’s important for those who choose this method to be sure to use pure essential oil of citronella. The fragrance oil won’t work or be effective. It’s also important to note citronella bought in stores that is used for burning shouldn’t be used on your skin. For those looking to use citronella oil for mosquito protection, it’s best to purchase the citronella essential oil from a natural food store.
If you love garlic, eat a lot of it. While you may not be the most pleasant smelling to your friends and family, you also won’t be enticing to mosquitoes either, and the smell of garlic helps keep them away.
If you want to smell great (unlike garlic) while keeping the mosquitoes away, a good option is lavender essential oil, which is commonly used as an effective way to keep mosquitoes from biting. It should be diluted into a carrier oil such as apricot kernel, coconut or soy oils.
Neem (Azadirachta indica) oil comes from a plant found in India which the US National Research Council has found is more effective than DEET at deterring mosquitoes. The Malaria Institute in India confirmed the US National Research Council’s results and its research has been cited in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association.
A New England Journal of Medicine study found repellents made from soybean oil have the same effectiveness at deterring mosquitoes repellents containing DEET. Organic soy oil can be found at most natural food stores and is much less expensive than DEET repellent. As a bonus, it’s also an wonderful body moisturizer, so you’ll keep your skin healthy while keeping the mosquitoes away.
(Photo courtesy of James Jordan)