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Natural Mosquito Repellents

Strategies That Work
By , About.com Guide

Aedes Aegypti Mosquito on Human Skin
Aedes Aegypti Mosquito on Human SkinUSDA
When I was pregnant, I wanted to avoid using toxic chemical insect repellents, yet the mosquitoes seemed to find me tastier than ever. My solution at that time was to wear what I called my 'DEET sheet', which was an old cotton sheet that had been sprayed with S.C. Johnson's Off! Deep Woods formula. While this was highly effective, it wasn't practical for use around kids, so I did research into safer, natural mosquito repellents. I learned that many so-called natural mosquito repellents don't repel mosquitoes (e.g., ultrasonic electronic devices), but some are backed by reputable research and really work.

Mosquitoes have complex methods of detecting hosts and different types of mosquitoes react to different stimuli. Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, but there are also mosquitoes that seek hosts during the day. You can avoid being bitten by making sure you aren't attracting mosquitoes, using attractants to lure mosquitoes elsewhere, using a repellent, and avoiding actions that diminish the effectiveness of the repellent.

Mosquito Attractants
Use this list of items and activities that attract mosquitoes as a list of things to avoid or that can be used as bait to lure mosquitoes away from you.

  • Dark Clothing
    Many mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts from a distance. Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.
  • Carbon Dioxide
    You give off more carbon dioxide when you are hot or have been exercising. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide.
  • Lactic Acid
    You release more lactic acid when you have been exercising or after eating certain foods (e.g., salty foods, high-potassium foods).
  • Floral or Fruity Fragrances
    In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral fragrance from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.
  • Skin Temperature
    The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito. Many mosquitoes are attracted to the slightly cooler temperatures of the extremities.
  • Moisture
    Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.
Source:http://chemistry.about.com/


 
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