Natural Mosquito and Bug Repellents
Published on Fri Jun 28, 2019 - 3 min read
Don’t let those pesky party poopers ruin your patio parties this summer season by using our top natural remedies.
Mosquitos suck – but you knew that already. What you may not have known is that we’ll soon “celebrate” World Mosquito Day1 and Texas, of course, will have something extra to celebrate. In honor of World Mosquito Day, Terminix has revealed its annual top mosquito havens in the US, and for two years in a row, DFW holds the number one spot in the nation2. Our top position on this list probably has a lot to do with the amount of rain we’ve had and the fact that Texas is home to 85 of 200 mosquito species – also the most in the US3.
While mosquitos are the most significant problem, the itch doesn’t stop there as we have to watch out for biting flies, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and plenty of “no-see-ums.” Thankfully at The Sunflower Shoppe, we have expanded our arsenal of natural mosquito and bug repellants. Read on and find out our top tips and remedies to help you better fight the bite.
As they say, prevention is better than a pound of cure or even a gallon of deet. Removing all standing water in the yard is number one for mosquitos. For other bugs like chiggers, they prefer moist, shady areas with dense vegetation. It’s best to keep the grass cut short, clean up any leaf litter, and keep overgrown bushes trimmed4.
Get a bat house5! We’ve mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again that bats are an excellent non-toxic pest control option. Bats thrive on an insect-filled diet and will eat mosquitoes, flies, gnats, ants, moths, centipedes, scorpions, and many more. A single bat can eat over 8,000 mosquitos per night6. Ironically, against what Hollywood would have, you believe, bats are our best defense against bloodsuckers.
Diatomaceous Earth or “D.E.” is an excellent yard treatment for any pest that walks, crawls, or hops its way through life. D.E. is a powdered sedimentary rock mix made up of the fossilized remains of ancient aquatic creatures called diatoms7. The powder is non-toxic animals and humans, but the powder absorbs oils and moisture from the skin of bugs while its microscopic jagged edges pierce their shells, causing them to dry out and die7.
Citronella. No discussion of natural pest control is complete without mentioning Citronella. First extracted in the mid-18th century as a perfume ingredient in France, citronella users quickly realized that they weren’t bitten. By the 1900s the Indian military was using citronella to control mosquitos8. Research shows that citronella is only effective for 2 hours, so frequent respraying is a good idea.
Lemon Eucalyptus oil may be the new king of natural insect repellents matching Deet in its ability to repel mosquitos. In one experimental setup sprays with lemon eucalyptus oil effectively repelled mosquitos from 1-3 meters9. The effect was even more potent than citronella and could last up to 6 hours per application.
Neem is an Ayurvedic herb popular in India for its pesticide, fungicide, anti-bacterial, and antiviral properties. Neem is even sprayed on organic crops to control pests so it makes perfect sense mosquitos and most other bugs would stay far away from neem. In one study, neem was shown to be effective for 12 hours10! We recommend mixing 20 drops of neem oil with a ¼ cup of coconut oil and applying to exposed skin. Avoid eyes.
Essential oils, if you’ve noticed, are excellent bug repellents. That’s because plants dislike getting bitten (eaten alive) as much as we do and have developed these complex oils to repel various pests11. Effective oils are citronella, lavender, rosemary, basil, cedarwood, lemongrass, and many more. Look for repellants that have at least one of these oils12.
At the Shoppe, we have a variety of products from yard treatments, to citronella patio eggs, as well as a variety of personal repellent sprays and blends in our brand and many more. Hopefully, with our proven mosquito and bug prevention tips, the only thing on the menu this summer will be good food and good times spent with friends and family.