Natural mosquito repellents are gaining popularity. Read on for information about some of the most well-known natural repellents.
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Lemon eucalyptus oil – This is currently recognized as the most effective natural mosquito repellent. A 2002 study found that lemon eucalyptus provided about 2 hours of mosquito protection from just one application. A similar study by the US Department of Agriculture found that natural lemon eucalyptus repellents worked better than synthetic repellents with 7% DEET.
Geranium and Soybean oils – These are ranked second best on the list of natural repellents. One study found that a repellent with these ingredients provided about an hour and a half of protection, and a study by the US Department of Agriculture found that this product was more effective than a 7% DEET repellent.
Citronella – This popular plant oil can be found in candles, sprays, incense, and more. A recent study found that candles with 3% citronella and incense with 5% citronella were somewhat effective in preventing mosquito bites. Although citronella is not completely effective on its own, it can be helpful if combined with topical repellents.
Other natural repellents – Many natural ingredients are currently being studied for their effectiveness as insect repellents, including:
Fennel: A Korean study found that a 5% fennel oil spray was 84% effective after 90 minutes, while an 8% fennel oil cream was 70% effective after 90 minutes.
Thyme: Thyme oil’s carvacrol and alpha-terpinene compounds have been shown to repel mosquitos more effectively than repellents with DEET, but this oil irritates the skin.
Clove oil: Two recent studies have indicated that undiluted clove oil is an effective topical mosquito repellent. However, like thyme oil, it irritates the skin.
Celery extract: A study in Thailand found that this was comparable in effectiveness to a 25% DEET formula, and did not irritate the skin.
Neem oil: This tropical tree extract contains insecticidal compounds known as azadirachtins.
Vitamin B1: Supplementing with this vitamin is rumored to help repel mosquitos. However, a study from the University of Wisconsin found that this vitamin has no repellent effects.
Garlic: A study at the University of Connecticut assessed the effectiveness of consuming garlic to repel mosquitos, but the data showed no evidence of garlic’s repellent properties. However, the researchers noted that subjects only consumed garlic once during the study; more garlic consumption may have some repellent effects.
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