The Article:

Bug Off! Repel Insects Without Toxic Insecticides

By:  Andi  Jenkins  Abe's Enthusiast & Author of All Put Together  July 27th, 2013

There is only one thing that will end an outdoor BBQ faster than a thunderstorm: mosquitoes. Every summer season, these tiny insects wage war on our skin, leaving behind red, itchy bumps and send party guests running indoors for relief. The skin irritations caused by mosquito bites are actually the least serious of bite side effects. Mosquitoes can be carriers of insect-borne diseases such as encephalitis, malaria, Lyme disease and the West Nile virus, which is why everyone should take proactive steps to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.

Many feel they just have three options to protect themselves: never go outside, wear a beekeeper's suit or cover the entire body in bug spray. No one wants to be the weirdo in a beekeeper’s suit (unless of course you’re a beekeeper and then it’s totally legit) and staying indoors during the beautiful summer months is just unrealistic. Now before you reach for DEET-filled bug spray or call your local pest control company, consider trying these safe, non-toxic and proven ways to repel mosquitoes first. 

5 Ways to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally

Make Homemade Bug Spray

Most conventional bug sprays contain harmful and toxic chemicals, which are readily absorbed into the skin. The industry-standard, DEET (chemical name - N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), has been known to cause myriad side effects, including skin irritation, nausea and vomiting, headache, disorientation, numbness, clumsiness and seizures. If ingested, the chemical can even cause death.

If a toxic chemical bath doesn’t sound appealing, then consider making a natural bug spray from essential oils, such as cedarwood, rosemary, cinnamon, neem, eucalyptus or tea tree, which boast insect repelling properties. In a container, combine 25 drops of essential oil with ¼ cup of organic apple cider vinegar and then dab on the skin*. It’s that easy! Not interested in making your own spray? There are a number of natural and non-toxic bug repellents available, such as Valley Green Natural Bugger Off!Toosh Shoo Fly Shoo and Real Earth Products Organic DEET Free Bug Away insect repellent. Just remember that most natural bug sprays must be reapplied ever few hours to remain effective. 

Light a Candle
Citronella is still considered one of the most effective ways to ward off mosquitoes. The strong aroma helps mask your natural scent, making it harder for the flies to find you. When purchasing a citronella candle, keep in mind that not all are effective. There are many citronella products that are made from a synthetic form of the scent, which is completely ineffective at repelling mosquitoes. Only 100 percent, naturally derived citronella will ward of mosquitoes. 

Plant Mosquito-Repelling Plants
Before you "fog" your outdoor space with conventional insecticides, try planting mosquito-repelling plants like marigolds, catnip, lemon grass or lavender. Each of these plants is easy to grow and mosquitoes find their natural scents incredibly offensive. The superstar of the mosquito-repelling plants? Catnip. According to studies, catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes. 

Turn on a Fan
Surprisingly, one of the easiest ways to ensure a mosquito-free environment is to simply turn on a fan. According to studies, mosquitoes are attracted to two things: carbon dioxide and perspiration. The breeze created by a household fan keeps bugs at bay by dispersing and diluting the carbon dioxide exhaled into the air and it helps keep you cool so you don’t sweat. Wind can also make it harder for the mosquito to land on your skin. 

Install a Bat House
Although they may seem creepy, bats are an incredibly effective way to eliminate mosquitoes from the outside environment. Did you know that a single bat will eat approximately 600 mosquitoes an hour? To help encourage these super heroes to move in, install an inexpensive bat house in your yard. Each house is typically home to dozens of bats. Now that’s a serious mosquito eating army! 


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Andi Jenkins

Abe's Enthusiast & Author of All Put Together

Andi Jenkins Andi is a yoga practicing, gluten-free living marketing director for an international private equity firm. When she's not advising entrepreneurs she's happily repurposing vintage finds and writing for her lifestyle blog All Put Together.

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