Why Plant Based Mosquito Repellents Are Safer To Use

As we all know, how annoying and dangerous are mosquitoes. These little insect can not only give you sleepless and itchy nights but also can cause many harmful diseases. Malaria, Dengue and West Nile Virus are the few disease that are spread due to mosquito bites. If you want to protect yourself and your family, then the easiest and the best way is to apply the best mosquito repellent. There are various types of mosquito repellents available on the market with different active ingredients, but in my opinion the most effective is mosquito repellent with DEET.

But many do not prefer DEET based repellents, they prefer natural mosquito repellents. To some extent they are also effective and give you protection from mosquito bites for about 3-4 hours. Plant based natural repellents are also safe, but if you are applying to small babies then you must be careful. Most repellents are not safe for babies as they have sensitive skins. You can check out safe mosquito repellents for babies here. Mosquito repellent plants keep annoying mosquitoes at bay. Listed below are some of the most effective mosquito repelling plants which can be grown easily at home.
mosquito problem
#1 Citronella
Citronella, a perennial clumping grass, grows to a height of about five feet. The strong distinctive citronella aroma repels mosquitoes by masking other attractants; for instance, humans. Garden centers usually sell this plant in small pots, ready for transplantation to larger plants or for planting into raised garden beds. Cybopogon nardus and Citronella winterianus are the best varieties of this plant. Like most grasses, these plants are low maintenance, and they grow well in sunny and well-drained locations.

#2 Horsemint
Horsemint, commonly known as Beebalm, is a shade-tolerant, drought-resistant, and fast growing plant. This plant grows to a height of 2 – 3 feet and does well in dry soil. Horsemint gives off a strong odor to effectively repel mosquitoes. Seeds of this plant can be sown in trays indoors for later transplantation to pots. Horsemint leaves are dried to make herbal tea. Its flowers attract butterflies and bees into gardens.

#3 Marigolds
Marigolds, grown as ornamental plants, are robust annual plants. These plants have a unique smell which is particularly offensive to mosquitoes. Marigolds contain the widely-used insect repellent Pyrethrum. These plants are inexpensive and easily available at garden centers. Potted marigolds repel mosquitoes best when positioned near open windows. These plants bear orange or yellow flowers.

#4 Ageratum
Ageratum, also known as Flossflowers, secretes coumarin which repels mosquitoes. This low-lying ornamental plant reaches heights of 8 – 18”. This plant is easily identified by its blue flowers, though there are variations with white, violet, and pink blooms. This plant thrives in full or partial sunlight, and does not need rich soil. Coumarin is an active ingredient used extensively in the production of mosquito repellents.

#5 Catnip
Catnip, a natural mosquito repellent, is many times more effective than DEET, the compound used in the manufacture of commercial insect repellents. This perennial herb is extremely easy to grow. It grows readily as a commercially cultivated plant as well as a weed. Also known as Catmint, this plant is not advisable for cat owners since it has the same effect on cats that it has on mosquitoes.

#6 Rosemary
Rosemary, an excellent mosquito repellent, is an herb that gives out a woody scent. This herb does well in hot and dry climates. It thrives in containers and is suitable for areas with winters. Since they can be pruned into diverse shapes and sizes, they make ideal decorations or borders. This herb bears blue flowers and grows up to five feet.

#7 Basil
Basil, an extremely good mosquito repellent, is an herb that emits a pungent smell. Even though all the varieties of this herb repel mosquitoes, Cinnamon basil, Lemon basil, and Peruvian basil are undoubtedly the best varieties. This herb can be grown in pots or planted in backyards. This herb needs good drainage and lots of sunlight.

#8 Lavender
Lavender, a noted mosquito repellent plant, is easy to grow and does well in sunny climate. This plant is very hardy, drought-resistant, and grows up to four feet. Lavender oil, due to its lovely fragrance, hinders a mosquito’s sense of smell. These plants are most effective when kept around seating areas.

#9 Scented Geraniums
Scented Geraniums, a renowned mosquito repelling plant, are beautiful blooms with a distinct fragrance. These plants are fast growing and do well in sunny, warm, and dry climates. In cold climate areas, they can be cultivated in planters with continuous pruning.

#10 Lemon Grass
Lemon Grass, nature’s own mosquito repellent, has a fresh lemony aroma. This plant can be grown in the landscape or in containers. They are most effective when planted around patios and outdoor living spaces. All of the plants discussed here are extremely effective natural mosquito repellents. They can be planted either indoors or in gardens outdoors. They are definitely effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay.

How to Use Mosquito Repellents Safely

Check the label to see if there are warnings about flammability. CDC recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered with the U.S. If you’re going to be in the sun, first rub in your sunscreen, let it absorb into your skin, and then apply the repellent on top. Repellents make humans unattractive to a mosquito so that it will avoid areas of the body that have been treated with the product. If so, do not use around open flames or lit cigarettes.

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing.
  • If you need to apply more sunscreen later, you don’t necessarily need to reapply bug spray, Kippel says, unless you notice that the insects are beginning to bother you.
  • Repellents do not kill mosquitoes.
  • After returning indoors, wash treated skin and clothes with soap and water.
  • Of the products registered with the EPA, those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection.
  • Pesky bugs can ruin a family picnic, hike, or trip to the park.
  • The best repellents will provide protection from bites for a long period of time from just one application.

Do not use any product on pets or other animals unless the label clearly states it is for animals. Many people are understandably concerned about the possible drawbacks of common insect repellents such as DEET. Beat the bugs and make sure your kids are safe from bug bites with kid-safe bug repellent. Repellents that are currently available are either synthetic chemicals, such as DEET, or plant derived chemicals such as Citronella. Most insect repellents do not work against lice or fleas. Insect repellents provide protection only against the pest specified on the product label. In researching our 2013 report, we spent 18 months digging into the question: What are the safest and most effective ways to prevent bug bites and the diseases they may transmit? We’ll tell you what to look for and what to avoid when choosing bug repellent and let you know how to apply the lotion or spray for the best results. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend using products that combine DEET with sunscreen.

A product that repels mosquitoes might not work for ticks or black flies. We concluded that there is no sure, completely safe way to prevent bug bites. If mosquitoes seem to love snacking on you more than ever now that you’re pregnant, it’s not just your imagination: Scientists have found that pregnant women attract twice as many mosquitoes as non-pregnant women do. Sunscreens are intended for generous and frequent use while DEET is intended for less frequent use. Some products also repel insects longer than others, depending on the ingredients.

Mosquito repellents for kids

All bug repellents have pros and cons. Experts think it could be because the pesky bugs are fond of carbon dioxide and pregnant women tend to take more frequent breaths, exhaling 21 percent more air — thereby releasing extra amounts of the gas that the pests are so drawn to. The concern is that use of a repellent that combines the two compounds may promote increased and unnecessary use of DEET. For children younger than 12 years old, do not use a DEET product on a daily basis for more than a month. But some repellents are effective and relatively low in toxicity — provided you take precautions when using them, particularly on children.

For children under 2 years of age, repellents should contain no more than 10 percent DEET. One way to protect your child from biting insects is to use insect repellents. For infants younger than 6 months old, do not use an insect repellent containing DEET. However, they may not work as well as products that contain DEET and icaridin/picaridin, and in some cases not as much is known about their safety. The chemical is absorbed through the skin and can cause harm in higher concentrations. However, it’s important that insect repellents are used safely and correctly. Instead, use a mosquito net when babies are outdoors in a crib or stroller. Also, these products may not protect against tick bites. Products containing up to 30 percent DEET are safe for children over 2 years of age. Read on for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about types of repellents, DEET, using repellents safely, and other ways to protect your child from insect bites.

For extra protection, some insect repellents are safe to use during pregnancy. Remember, just because a product is labeled “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe. The concentration of DEET varies greatly from product to product, so it is very important to read the label carefully on any repellent you purchase. But not all mosquito repellents are equal. EWG’s analysis of safety studies concluded that women should consider using DEET at seven to 30 percent strength, Picaridin at 10 to 20 percent and IR3535 at 20 percent. In some cases they may cause skin or eye irritations. There are over 60 individual repellent formulations currently registered including aerosols, creams, lotions, pump sprays, wipes, wrist bands and sticks. Picaridin may be best if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Insect repellents can be used in all ages unless the label specifically states an age limitation or precaution. Despite this diversity of products, there are only a handful of active ingredients, the most common of which are DEET (diethyltoluamide) and Picaridin.

Follow instructions carefully. As long as you read and follow label directions and take proper precautions, insect repellents with active ingredients registered by the U.S. In fact, a recent study by Consumer Reports showed that natural repellents are nearly useless against Aedes mosquitoes, the species known to transmit the Zika virus. Conventional insect repellents contain a mix of active ingredients listed on the label and inert ingredients that aren’t listed on labels. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not present health or safety concerns. Among the other diseases include several severe ones that can even cause death. Both categories can include chemicals linked to human health and/or ecosystem harm. I know some people won’t agree with me, but why would you put your little one, or even yourself in the risk of getting these awful diseases?