How about instead of applying the neurotoxin DEET to your largest organ, or releasing GM mosquitos, we try:
- Planting perennials that give off mosquito-repelling volatiles (scientifically proven to be equal to or more effective than DEET).
- Create non-toxic traps (with only 3 ingredients).
- Try any other number of non-toxic alternatives listed below. *There is zero chance (0%) none of these work! Try out a few of these and you will find at least one that works; the more you try the more you find work great! When one of these works for you, spread the word to neighbors, friends and family members.
Five Most Mosquito-Repellent Plants:
- rose-scented monarda
- lime basil
- sacred basil
All of these plants should thrive throughout most of North America and would make a lovely display on or near your patio or deck. You can use these plants as natural mosquito repellents in two ways:
- Rub the fresh leaves on your clothes and skin when you head outside, and reapply as needed.
- Grow them close to the areas where you spend time outside, and toss small branches of the plants on your patio before picnics or other gatherings. As you and guests stroll over the branches, mosquito-repellent scents will naturally waft into the air.
More on this below…
If you need immediate results, make your own
Homemade Mosquito Traps
Though female mosquitoes need a blood meal in order to lay eggs, both male and female mosquitoes are fueled by flower nectar and fruit juice, and exciting new research from Israel and West Africa has discovered how to take advantage of these facts. Homemade mosquito traps baited with sugar and fermented fruit juice reduced local mosquito populations by 90%. Here’s how to make these mosquito traps at home.
- 1/16-inch-diameter nail or drill bit
- Quart-sized, large-mouth plastic container with lid
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp boric acid
- 1 cup smashed, fermented fruit with the fruit juice
- Jasmine essential oil (optional)
Instructions: Set smashed fruit in the sun for a day or two before making the homemade mosquito traps to speed up fermenting. Drill or punch several 1/16-inch holes in the container lid (the small holes will let mosquitoes in while excluding beneficial insects such as bees). Next, mix the ingredients in the container. Put the ventilated lid on the container. Place the trap outside in a sheltered location where it won’t get rained on.
Grow Your Own Mosquito-Repellent Plants
The following five plants produce effective mosquito-repelling volatiles, but they release these compounds in large quantities only when the leaves are damaged. Pick and crush a few leaves from any of the plants, then rub the crushed leaves on your skin and clothing to discourage mosquitoes. If you have large enough plants, you can use stems and leaves as “strewing herbs” on your patio.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a low-growing perennial culinary herb. Researchers at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea, found that thyme volatiles repelled mosquitoes as well as or better than DEET, and that thyme volatiles lasted as long as DEET.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial in the mint family. Nepetalactone, the essential oil that gives catnip its distinct smell, is more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, according to laboratory research conducted by Chris Peterson, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and Joel R. Coats, former chair of the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University. Note: Some cats love catnip and some ignore it. If you have a catnip-lover, you may need to grow your catnip under a wire basket to keep your cat from killing the plant.
Sacred basil (Ocimum sanctum, also called “holy basil” and “tulsi”), an annual, has been used medicinally in South Asia for thousands of years. The leaf extract discourages mosquitoes from feeding, and the seeds, floated on water, kill mosquito larvae.
Rose-scented monarda is a colorful perennial especially rich in geraniol, a compound that smells like roses. Turns out, geraniol is highly repellent to mosquitoes, according to an Israeli study published in the Journal of Vector Ecology. Scientists at the Morden Research Station in Manitoba, Canada, have developed monarda hybrids for commercial essential oil production. The extracted oil of their variety now sold as rose-scented monarda contains more than 90% geraniol. Geraniol is the active ingredient in some commercial natural mosquito repellents.
Lime basil (Ocimum americanum, also called “hairy basil” and “hoary basil”) is a culinary and medicinal annual that’s an effective repellent when burned and when grown nearby.
Cedar Oil Try a cedar oil spray. Buy at PetSmart or natural food stores (or make your own) and use it on people, dogs, cats & kids.
Rubbing Alcohol Splash plain rubbing alcohol on skin and allow it to dry to deter mosquitoes from biting. Once it dries, it leaves a pleasant odor; And it only costs less than $1 a bottle!
Vaporub Rub Vick’s Vaporub on pants and legs to ward off ticks and keep insects at bay.
Dryer Sheets Try putting a bounce dryer sheet on your belt, in a pocket or in your sock, the sheet will mask your smell and ward off the bugs.
Avon S-S-S Mix Mix Avon Skin-So-Soft bath oil about half and half with alcohol.
Homemade Recipe 20 drops Eucalyptus oil, 20 drops Cedarwood oil, 10 drops Tea Tree oil, 10 drops Geranium oil, 2 oz. carrier oil (such as Jojoba). Mix together in a 4 oz. container. Apply to skin as needed avoiding the eye area. Experiment with different percentages of essential oil.
Raw Vanilla Real vanilla (not the grocery store vanilla extract which is mostly alcohol). Mix half vanilla and half water and find that it works great for mosquitoes and ticks, don’t know about other insects.
Moth Balls Place mothballs around the yard to keep mosquitos away (not non-toxic, keep away from children).
Catnip Concoction Make your own by filling a quart jar with some herbs from the mint family like catnip, spearmint, pennyroyal and then cover with apple cider vinegar. Shake twice a day for two weeks. Strain and either rub on or spray on.
Lavender Oil Dab lavender oil on your pulse points (wrists, behind ears, temples, behind knees, ankles).
Lemon Smell Spray entire yard with equal parts of lemon dish soap, lemon ammonia, and lemon juice. Do this every two weeks with a 20-gallon sprayer, and you won’t be on the mosquito menu this summer. Planting Lemongrass would help too!