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What Are the Different Ways to Repel Mosquitoes?

Cinnamon may be used to help repel insects.
Lavender is a natural insect repellent.
People often set up conditions that encourage bats, which eat mosquitoes, to settle near their property.
Tiki torches may contain mosquito repellent.
A citronella candle.
Some essential oils are effective at repelling mosquitoes.
Oil derived from a neem tree can be an effective insecticide and ward off mosquitoes.
Garlic is considered to be a mosquito repellent.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jane Harmon
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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Many commercial products claim to repel mosquitoes and many folk remedies circulate but whether such products and treatments are effective is debatable. People frequently employ several methods for repelling, getting rid of, or attracting the annoying insects to a distant location. These techniques include using body sprays or lotions that contain DEET, burning citronella candles, storing open containers of sweet water, or employing bug zappers.

DEET

Perhaps the most widely used substance to repel mosquitoes is N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, commonly known as DEET. It has been used for decades in skin-applied commercial insect repellents and is effective for hours. Many experts recommend that the amount of DEET in the repellent should be between 10 and 30 percent as higher concentrations may cause adverse reactions. Children younger than 12 should wear only a 10 percent solution, and children younger than 2 should use repellent sparingly, if at all.

Natural Solutions & Home Remedies

"Natural" solutions for repelling mosquitoes abound as a number of common plants have shown limited effectiveness. Citronella candles and citronella oil for patio torches are a widely used method of providing outdoor lighting that may also repel mosquitoes. Studies have shown that people seated near a burning citronella candle suffer fewer bites than people not near the candle.

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Wearing citronella-based "all-natural" skin-applied repellents can be effective, but the duration of the protection is considerably shorter than that for DEET-based repellents. Repeated applications are necessary if you want to continuously repel mosquitoes. Other plants that show some repellent characteristics are cedar, lavender, garlic, cinnamon, and peppermint. Some people claim that a garlic tablet taken once daily makes the person who takes it unattractive to mosquitoes, but there is only anecdotal evidence that this works.

Some folk remedies work not by repelling mosquitoes from the skin — or more accurately, blocking the carbon dioxide emitted from the skin which in turn attracts mosquitoes — but by attracting mosquitoes to a nearby area. In this vein, some suggest that storing an open container of water will attract mosquitoes to it and away from people. Mixing that water with a variety of products from sugar to dish-washing liquid are often touted as effective, but typically, this approach isn't foolproof.

Electric Bug Zappers

Electric bug zappers can remove some of the insect population from the immediate vicinity but can't provide complete protection against all mosquitoes. There are two primary types of bug zappers — a wand or tennis racket type, or stationary ones that look a bit like lanterns and can be placed in seating areas like an outdoor patio. Some people have built bat houses to encourage bats to move in and eat mosquitoes within their range.

Home Misting Systems

A more recent pest control product is the home misting system, a series of chemical release valves that are set around a home. The valves periodically emit a mist of chemical insecticide into the air. Like automatic sprinkler systems, the misting system is on a timer and sprays on a predetermined schedule. The mist drifts with the wind, but the effects of exposure to the chemicals used aren't well-known, and the systems kill beneficial insects as well as pests. Their effects on pets and wildlife are also unknown.

Mosquito Netting

Perhaps the only truly effective way of keeping mosquitoes at bay is to completely keep them out. Enclosed patios allow for the outdoor experience without having to intermingle with life's peskier aspects. If mosquitoes are a problem while sleeping, draping mosquito fabric around the bed will help provide for a restful night's sleep.

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Discuss this Article

anon14441
Post 4

I live in Claremore, OK and the past two years I get bit by a certain mosquito that is so small that I don't even see it, but I immediately feel it, swell with a really big red rash/splotch and it becomes very hot and itches for days. I would like to know if there is a particular one that can cause such a reaction. I try to where at least 15 or more deet but sometimes they bite me before I get a chance to put any on. Please if anyone has any suggestion as to what kind is affecting me this way I really appreciate any help. Thank you

Moderator's reply: hopefully these articles may help! why do mosquitos bite some people more than others? and what is a no see um?

Dayton
Post 3

Actually, from everything that I've read, that's not a bad idea. Most mosquito repellents function based on covering up our scent, so that mosquitoes don't know that we're there--dryer sheets are a much more pleasant way of doing that than any of the other options I've heard!

anon3912
Post 2

I read recently that carrying a dryer sheet (presumably one that makes clothes soft as they're dried) in your pocket will repel mosquitos. This sounded highly unlikely to me but I wondered what you thought.

dlg21445
Post 1

Someone makes a injector that puts Cedar Oil into the water stream of the homeowners sprinkler system. 100% safe and very effective. As to the Pyrethroid products used in the misting systems, shame shame on those who use them. The substances are Estrogen Mirroring and are the number one cause of breast cancer. No where in the world except the USA can these toxins be sprayed freely among the populas. They are now banned in several states. The USDA is fighting the Bee disappearance and has proof that the Pyrethroids, natural and synthetic are the cause. Chemicals do not need to be used for insect control. Folks need to get smart while we can. Many natural oils, primarily Cedar Oil have efficacy results greater than the nastiest of the chemicals. So, why use a chemical when you don't have to. If you don't believe me on this issue, just google misting systems and pyrethrin and pyrethrums. Read a few days about the Why Not to use. Dr. Ben Oldag, a long time entomologist proclaims, if a little bit of a chemical will kill a insect, than a little more your pets, then a little more YOU Makes sense to me.

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