Monthly Archives: August 2010

Make up Natural Mosquito Repellent by Your Own Hands

Catnip natural mosquito repellentIt is generally known that mosquitoes can spread various dangerous infections like the West Nile Virus or Encephalitis. However there are some simple ways how to protect you from mosquito bites using natural materials. Here is a one of them.

According to numerous researches, there are natural repellents that can be more effective than common chemicals. For instance, the results of the latest research made by specialists from the Iowa State University Department of Entomology claim that catnip essence oil is ten times better protection from mosquitoes than DEET chemical widely used in repellents.

Regardless of DEET repellents popularity, this chemical can be dangerous for human health, especially for children. It was scientifically proved that DEET can impact the brain activity by killing cells in brain. It also can cause serious changes in behavior explained by neurological disorders that can appear after frequent DEET use during a long period of time.

The problem of finding safer way of protection from insects made scientists find answer in natural materials with less harmful side effects. And essential oils were found to be effective substitutes of chemical repellents. Catnip is one of the most useful organic matters that in right concentrations can fight mosquitoes even better than DEET-based substances.

Currently it is unknown the reason why mosquitoes are so afraid of catnip oil, but this really works. Not a long a go the use of essential catnip oil for producing natural repellents was patented by the Iowa State University Research Foundation. This means that in the near future new, efficient and safe natural repellents will appear in the market.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own catnip and make a repellent for your own needs. If you have an area for gardening, full of sunlight and fertile soil, try to plant catnip. The Latin name of this plant is Nepeta cataria, it is a close relative to ornamental catmint. Catnip is already used for medical purposes due to its useful properties, but sometimes it is planted just like an ornamental.

Catnip has beautiful small blue flowers that are usually lost in the massive grass of green-gray color. It is very soft in touch due to hairy texture of the leaves. Catnip feels itself perfectly in sunny places with well-drained soil. It can also grow on heavy clay, but it is recommended to plant them on a mounded beds.

Catnip is planted in fall, as many other herbs. It requires very little watering: once or twice during the first year after planting, in case the summer is too hot and dry. Generally it is enough natural rainfalls to nourish catnip with water and develop strong rootage that will protect the plant from exhaustion. It is naturally strong plant that doesn’t need too much care from gardener.

Dealing with catnip, it is better to prepare some compost mixture for planning soil instead of feeding the herbs after planting. Compost and native soil mixed in 1:1 proportion is ideal for catnip. Put a layer of compost (two or three inches) on the top of bed for catnip to protect roots from exposure in winter.

As opposite to many plants, it is not recommended to feed catnip even in spring. Fertilizers can cause intensive growth that influences badly on essential oil quality in future. That is why the commercial production of essential oils is too risky, as most manufacturers overfeed soil with various fertilizers. At home try to use only very mild fertilizers to eliminate the rapid catnip growth.

You can do both spritz and infused oil as a remedies against mosquitoes. Both means effective and long-term protection totally safe for your health. I have proved this by my own experience and want to share some recipes with you. They already used in my family and I hope will help you to forget about annoying insects during warm summertime.

Home-brewed Insecticide: Eucalyptus, Lemon Balm, Garlic.

Because diethyl(meta)toluamide is bad done.

I think that Nature always tries to get me. I’m a leucoderm and because of that I burn easily in the sun rays. Summer catarrh destroys my eyes and nose. And also mosquitoes love to suck my blood too much. I don’t use sun blocking cream or other types of anti-allergic medicines and such mosquito repellents like diethyl(meta)toluamide because of which my skin crawls and because of the mosquitoes my skin itches.

For me not only the smell of diethyl(meta)toluamide is nasty, but I can’t accept applying this unsafe preparation to my skin. I’ve decided to do an insecticide with my own hands to get rid of these nasty bloodsuckers.

Below there are several options for preparing home-brewed insecticides, and each of them helped me to get rid of the mosquito bites in past.

1. Eucalyptus. The majority of people don’t have a eucalyptus tree planted in their orchard, but many relative have in their medicine cabinets some type of eucalyptus oil, distilled from the leaves of the tree. Some ounces of the drastic oil, able to create a home-brewed insecticide solution can be acquired at many drugstores for price of about $5. Use a spray bot and warm water, mix with 1 ounce of oil with every six ounces of warm water. Before each spraying you must shake the mixture and to protect your eyes (just like you do with any kind of selling chemical spray). This kind of home-brewed insecticide has a medicinal scent, but this scent is not so unpleasant like a smell of a diethyl(meta)toluamide (DEET).

2. Lemon Balm. It is an another essence which is available at the pharmacy. Lemon Balm can be mixed with water in a spray bot as was described above in order to create a home-brewed insecticide, but I advise a much more concentrated solution (2 ounces of volatile oil for one ounce of water). In any case the Lemon Balm plant (Melissa officinalis) is a widespread plant in North America and if you put this fresh plant in your kitchen tear off a handful of leaves and make a decoction in hot water. You must cool the mix and then flood a spray bot with it.

NOTE: I recommend to combine eucalyptus oil and bee balm to create sweet-smelling (and very effective) home-brewed insecticide. In truth, these two volatile oils are usually combined in production of insecticides.

3. Garlic. We all know about the strong smell of garlic but it is widely used by many people as a home-brewed insecticide. There exist several advices including hacking to pieces a head of garlic and apply it directly to the skin (which is rather unpleasant) or taking two ounces of hacked garlic and mixing it into a cup of worm water to make a spray. In addition, if you keep a pre-hacked garlic in the fridge (the type of garlic you can acquire in many grocery stores), it can be mixed into a lotion without fragrance to create insecticide. Garlic is the last desirable of the above mentioned insecticides due to its odour, but at the same time it is the most accessible. And in case of emergency if your choice is very expensive or remains mosquito-free, garlic – is much better than nothing.

Flossflowers (Ageratums) – great plant to repel mosquitoes!

Ageratum natural repellentFlossflowers (Ageratums) as garden plants. They are planted for their flowers, especially the Ageratum houstonianum. Many of them are used for bordering and bedding in rock gardens.

Most widespread flossflowers, for instance “Hawaii” when full grown is very short, 6-8 inches. You can find tall flossflowers in seed catalogues, but it is difficult to find them in retail stores. They have blue flowers and height of 18 inches. There also exist a snowcapped variety of medium height, blue flowers and white top. The blue flossflowers are the most popular and common, but there exist the other colours – violet, pink and white. The colour and size of Flossflowers make them a good applicants for flower beds, containers and rock gardens.

Flossflower grows well on partial shade or sun, from early summer to first frost. They are easy to grow and all season long produce a profusion of fluffy flowers. These are the excellent plants for beginner gardeners.

Ageratum is the great plant to repel mosquitoes!

These plants produce coumarin which has the horrible scent that repulses the mosquitoes. Coumarin is widely used in commercial insecticides.

Ageratum – is a great plant for your landscape and its flowers come in pale blue and white.

Mosquito dietary habits

Female mosquitoes bite because in their organism there is a lack of protein, which is necessary for developing their eggs, and protein is present in our blood.

They use to choose their victims according to smell combination, visual cues and heat. They continue to seek their “meal” until their bellies are full. Female mosquitoes live to about a month and during that time they feed every 2 or 3 nights.

The most common time for feeding is at dawn and dusk and for few hours into dark. Anyway, there exist some particularly aggressive types which feed day and night.

Mosquitoes place blood meals with the help of their antennae to define trace quantities of carbon dioxide produced in human breathe. That carbon dioxide rises in plumes that mosquitoes can feel from hundreds of feet away.

A mosquitoes which seek his victim follows towards the source of a plume. When the victim is close enough, mosquito begins to determine other chemical smells that say about the presence of people. A skin of a man produces more than 340 of these chemical signals, including octenol, which also can be found in the exhalation of cows.

One type of people will smell better to the mosquito than the other, and nobody exactly knows why. Corpulent people and pregnant women attract mosquitoes more then other, that’s because probably they produce more CO2. Cholesterol and folic acid, perfumes, colognes, and lotions also act as attractants for mosquitoes.

The life and behaviour of mosquito also depends on its large compound eyes, created for spotting motion, in order to help guide it in. Two simple eyes of mosquito, which are called ocelli are very photosensitive so because of that mosquitoes react to the bright colours and lights.

In the end, Thermal sensors of the mosquitoes’ antennae and around its mouth determine the heat which comes from the warm-blooded bodies. That allows them to land on a skin and to find capillaries, located closer to the surface.

After that the mosquito transfixes the skin with serrate proboscis which contains two tubes. Through one tube it injects spit that numbs the area of skin and preserves the blood from clotting. Through the other tube mosquito sucks blood into its belly.

The mosquito will drink your blood until the belly is full, takes out the proboscis and fly away. More often a bitten person doesn’t feel the bite until a small allergic reaction which causes itch.

Foods that Help to Deal with Mosquitoes, Celery Seed, Garlic, Sage, Rosemary

Foods that help to fight with mosquitoesBites of mosquitoes can be very pruritic.

Deliverance from unwanted insects like mosquitoes can be very painful. Besides the many products which are sold in the shops to fight with mosquitoes, there actually exist some foods that help to fight with mosquitoes. Garlic, celery seed and many others are the foods that help to fight with mosquitoes and can be included into your everyday diet, even if these plants are growing in your orchard in order to make your house dangerous to those nasty vampires.

Celery Seed
Fresh celery seed can be immersed in hot water to make tea.
According to the research of the University of Maryland Medical Center celery seed can function as an insecticide. Celery seed can took dried, fresh or as a supplement form. In addition. The volatile oil from celery seed can be spread on the skin or clothes as an insecticide.

To make a natural insecticide you can mix garlic juice with water.
It is considered that among the foods garlic juice can naturally fight with mosquitoes. Website advices for making a natural and safe repellent to mix one cup of garlic juice with five cups of water. This mix should be kept in an empty spray bot and well shaken before each usage. This insecticide can be spread on clothing or skin and lasts between 5 and 6 hours.

Sage oil can be spread on your clothing to fight with mosquitoes.
Sage is one of the herbs that can be used to fight with mosquitoes. Sage herb can be added to food and you can plant it in places where you trying to fight with mosquitoes. advices to add sage to your wood charcoal before preparing BBQ and the smell of it fills the places in that you are cooking and eating.

Sage oil can be spread on your clothing to fight with mosquitoes. Make a test, put a small amount of sage oil on an unnoticeable area of skin and than spread it to a larger area of your skin. Qualify a several drops of sage in one cup of water. Fill a spray bottle with this mixture and shake up well before each use.

Rosemary can be spread on your clothing to fight with mosquitoes.
Rosemary is a common condiment, used in cooking, but it is also used in fighting with mosquitoes. In truth, web-site advices to add rosemary to your wood charcoal and the scent of it when burning repels insects. Moreover, if rosemary is planted in your garden it will also act as an insecticide.

Volatile oils like rosemary can also be spread on your skin or clothing to repel insects. You have always make a test, put a small amount of volatile oil on an unnoticeable area of skin before spreading it to a larger area of your skin. Qualify rosemary with few drops of volatile oil in one cup of water. Fill a spray bottle with this mixture and shake up well before each use.

Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is made of vanilla pods.

Vanilla extract can be used not only for baked goods. It is recommended to mix 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with 1 cup of filtered water and than to use this mix as a home-brewed insecticide. Mix up two in a spray bot and then spread it to pulse points of yours. If it seems that vanilla insecticide exasperates your skin, add more water to that mixture.

Read more – Mosquito deterent plant

Natural Herbal Repellents for Mosquitoes: Citronella Grass, Catnip, Wormwood, Vanilla

Natural mosquitos repellentsNature took care to give people natural herbs that can protect them from mosquitoes. Almost everywhere in the world there are such species of plants that can be used as a protection from biting insects. Spending a lot of time outdoors it is very bad for people’s health to use chemical repellents. Herbal ones is much safer alternative to them.

Many herbs contain substances that repel mosquitoes. To use them for your own needs, these substances need to be extracted from the plants and then mixed for better results. There are a few ways of extractions like infusion, boiling, crushing, squeezing, etc. The herbal extracts can be mixed with various oils or alcohol-based liquids and then sprayed or rubbed into skin, put on clothes or around the house area. Other plants can be used dried and burned for releasing smoke that contains repelling substances. It is usually has no effect when simply staying near growing plants with repelling features, all of them need to be worked up.

Here is a list of some wild and cultivated herbs that can help in repelling mosquitoes.

Citronella Grass is one of the most effective natural repellents among the cultivated plants. Its essential oil is widely used in commercial production of natural repellents that you can see on the market. It is safe for skin and can be applied during a long time without any damage to the organism. The citronella grass was found in tropic countries but no can grow almost anywhere.

Catnip is a popular garden plant, very simple in care and very effective as a mosquito repelling ingredient. It can be used in various forms. Crushed fresh leaves can be putted on skin, or the wringed out liquid can be sprayed on it. Dried leaves can be settled in olive or other oil and then used like a repelling cream.

Also there are some other herbals that can be used for making homemade repellents.

They are:

Lemon balm
Tea tree

There are also some wild herbs that have repelling facilities. For instance, Vanilla that grows in Japan and other northwestern regions is used for scaring away mosquitoes since ancient times. The locals put bunches of dried vanilla leaves around their homes to protect from mosquitoes. Also fresh grinded leaves can be used directly on skin. It is strange that vanilla likes the same places as mosquitoes: dark misty areas, with minimum sun and much moisture.

Various kinds of Wormwood are also useful in fight against mosquitoes. Their aromatic smell repels insects very effectively. In fresh grinded mixture you can use wormwood directly on skin. However there are a lot of recipes how to apply it as repellent. Wormwood likes dry sunny areas like steppes, deserts, plains and some mountain territories.

A weedy plant widespread in North America, Pineapple weed, also showed its effectiveness in fighting mosquitoes. You can find it everywhere on lawns, near the roads, etc. Fresh leaves, pressed and crushed, can serve as a ready-made repellent for applying directly on skin.

Here are some other wild plants that can be met in wild nature and used as repellents:

Nodding onion
Wild bergamot
Sweet fern

You should remember that natural repellents action lasts not more than 1 – 2 hours. So to gain good results you should re-apply them often. Also when using herbs there is a risk to mix up the species and select the incorrect plant. If you are not really sure in your own knowledge about wild plants, consult proper specialist to prevent the use of some poisonous ‘doubles’.

Some Things that Helps to Repel Mosquitoes

You can increase protection from mosquitoes by using some additional measures together with natural repellents. Mosquitoes react on increased content of carbon dioxide or other products of people’s breath out. Mosquitoes are much more attracted by people during the process of food intake, especially if eating fruits, grains and other foods rich with natural carbohydrates.

When eating such a food, your blood and body smell becomes more attractive to biting insects. You can avoid eating too much of such food in the periods when mosquitoes are too active. Also eating more onion and garlic may help to make you less attractive for mosquitoes.

In summertime you can avoid places near to standing water, with little sunlight. These places are favorite inhabitations for mosquitoes. Try to make picnics in areas with fresh air breezing, mosquitoes do not like this. At home it is also recommended to avoid standing water in buckets, trenches or any other ‘water bodies’.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: the Best Herbal Mosquito Repellent

Lemon Eucalyptus oilAs for today one of the best natural repellents against mosquito is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. According to various studies, it has shown the best effectiveness in fighting with mosquito at home.

In 2002 the New England Journal of Medicine posted a report with comparison of various synthetic and natural repellents. According to this report, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus is able to protect from mosquito for 120.1 minutes. This result is better than the same characteristics of repellents with low DEET concentration, like Off Skintastic for Kids (4.75% DEET concentration) that offers only 88.4 minutes of total protection. However Off Deep Woods that contains 23.8% of DEET is capable of protecting your skin for 301.5 minutes or more than 5 hours.

Later the US Department of Agriculture made similar research, where scientists compared 4 chemical mosquito repellents and 8 herbal ones, among which was Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. It has shown the best effectiveness, even better than repellent with 7% DEET concentration.

Repellents based on Lemon eucalyptus oil are almost identical to DEET or picaridin chemicals, but they are far safer for health that was approved by several organizations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has certified lemon eucalyptus oil repellents as safe for human health and allowed for wide use. Mosquitoes are the carriers of West Nile virus, so it is important to protect yourself from their stings.

Consumer Reports also found Repel Lemon Eucalyptus as the most efficient DEET-free repellent in its article from June 2006. The only its shortcoming is odor that one can find objectionable.