Natural Ways to Prevent Mosquito Bites

Warmer weather means reveling in outdoor activities like hiking, sunbathing, and barbeques. Along with these plusses comes one tiny nuisance: mosquitos. These pesky pests, which thrive in warm weather, can put a damper on anyone’s summer fun. But there are ways to deter mosquitos, so you can enjoy the sunshine.

“DEET is a product registered by the EPA [Environmental protection Agency], and poses no unreasonable risk,” Conlon says. “If you use it judiciously there should be no problem — I mean, don’t drink it.”

But there are other ways to thwart mosquitoes if you don’t want to use a synthetic repellent. In fact, according to the survey, 36 percent of people prefer to use natural repellents.

“The results show that in the future, there won’t just be a marketplace for synthetic repellents, but for natural repellents as well,” says Immo Hansen, PhD, who worked on the survey.

When using natural repellents that are applied directly to the skin, it’s important to use EPA registered ones and always check the labels, reminds Conlon. If you have sensitive skin or known skin allergies, it’s a good idea to test your skin first by applying a small drop of essential oil on the inside of your forearm.

Here are 7 natural ways to prevent mosquito bites:

1. Lemon Eucalyptus

“It is a very good repellent,” says Conlon. “Just do not use it on kids younger than three years old; it hasn’t been approved for them.”

Bonus: Lemon eucalyptus also helps relieve the symptoms of the common cold, like congestion and coughing.

2. Catnip Oil

What most people know about catnip is its effect on cats. But it can also be used as a culinary herb or smoked like a cigarette. And research shows that it can be used to repel mosquitos, too.

Yet this does not mean that catnip oil, which is acquired from catnip by steam distillation, will make you suddenly attractive to cats, according to Stephanie Maslow-Blackman, wellness advocate and essential oils instructor.

“The difference between the oil and the plant is that when you extract the oil from the plant, the oil won’t have the side effects the plant might have. For example, if you’re allergic to trees and use cedarwood oil, you won’t be experiencing an allergic reaction,” Maslow-Blackman says.

So if you want to have more cat friends, you’ll have to find another way. But this oil is EPA-approved and will give you seven hours of protection from mosquitos, according to Conlon.

3. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a natural insecticide and a mosquito repellent, according to the American College of Healthcare Sciences, based in Portland, Oregon. You can mix this oil with other scents, like lemon, and rub them onto your skin for a minty scent. But, Maslow-Blackman stresses, “Peppermint oil is a hot oil,” which means it can cause a warm sensation when applied directly to your skin and might cause a skin rash. To prevent this, she suggests diluting the peppermint oil with a carrier oil, like canola oil.

5. IR3535

IR3535, a synthetic amino acid, is one of the most common active ingredients in insect repellents. Repellents containing IR3535 come mostly in cream form, and are available in most drugstores. The amino acid messes with the insects' sense of smell and is an excellent repellent, according to Conlon.

“It has no toxicity and gives you eight hours of protection,” he says.

6. Use a Fan

David Shetlar, an Ohio State University professor of urban landscape entomology, told that mosquitos are bad fliers. So if you’re sitting outside on a summer day, bring an electric fan with you to keep the mosquitoes away.

7. Eliminate Standing Water

Any pools or puddles around your home or yard can quickly become a mosquito breeding ground, according to the Mayo Clinic. Tips to keep the area around your home free from these insects include:

  • Unclogging roof gutters
  • Emptying any kids' pools
  • Changing the water in any bird baths weekly
  • Making sure rain is not accumulating in trash can lids
  • Storing flower pots or any other unused containers upside down
Do Natural Bug Repellents Actually Work?

Despite the itchy annoyance of bug bites and the risk of dangerous diseases that some insects carry, a lot of people don’t want to use bug repellents ...

Is It Skeeter Syndrome?

Here’s everything you need to know about allergic reactions to mosquito bites, including what to do about them.

Study: Mosquitoes Find You (and Decide to Bite) Because They Can Smell Your Breath

The new research may one day help scientists design new mosquito control options.

6 Things You Need to Know About the Asian Longhorned Tick

Expert answers on potential risks and why health officials are keeping a close eye on this foreign invader.

Read more on: beauty, skin