Natural repellent products

Insect bites can cause discomfort or even allergic reactions and mosquito repellent chemicals are not recommended, especially for children. Fortunately, many plants act as a natural insect repellent and essential oils in various combinations successfully keep mosquitoes at the distance.

During the summer in particular, insects can become annoying. Flies, spiders, ants, fleas, ticks and especially mosquitoes multiply and their stings can cause both discomfort and possible allergic reactions. Holidays in nature, in the delta or at sea can turn into unpleasant moments if the insect problem is not kept under control. Fortunately, 100% natural remedies can be used to keep insects at bay.

How insect bites affect us

Beyond the annoying hum, the insects that surround us when we are in nature, can also transmit unpleasant diseases: from tick-borne borreliosis or Lyme disease, to West Nile virus or mosquito-borne meningoencephalitis. However, most of the time, insect bites are not very serious, but rather cause a little discomfort. Whether it is a mosquito, an ant or a spider, the initial contact can be a little painful and is followed by an allergic reaction to the venom stored on the skin of the insect's needle or mouth. In case of people allergic to insect venom, the sting can cause a serious reaction that requires medical attention.

The most common reactions to insect bites are local and are manifested by redness, swelling or flaking of the area where the sting occurred.

  • Mosquito bite: it is usually a round, small swelling that reddens in a short time and causes itching;
  • Ant sting: there are very poisonous red or black ants, with a painful sting that manifests as a red irritation, with small swollen pustules that miss and cause itching;
  • Flea sting: usually located in the legs, it looks like a small swelling with a reddish halo. It is often accompanied by an acute itching sensation;
  • Tick sting: the stung area may redden or swell, and a red circle appears around the sting. Sometimes the tick remains attached to the skin and needs to be removed carefully to avoid infection.

Natural repellent products

Mosquitoes are the insects we avoid the most in the hot season. Fortunately, there are a large number of plants whose odors or oils are not to the liking of insects and especially mosquitoes. If you know these plants you can use them as a natural repellent, when you spend more time outdoors.

The most effective are:
  • Plants that smell sour, such as lemon: lemon, lemongrass, rhubarb, verbena;
  • Geranium;
  • Eucalyptus;
  • Rosemary;
  • Anise;
  • Basil;
  • Plants from the mint family: mint, curly mint;
  • Marigold;
  • Catnip;
  • Sage;
  • Wormwood;
  • Cedar;
  • Pouches;
  • Clove;
  • Lavender.

To take full advantage of the properties of these plants, they can be planted in the garden, kept in fragrant bags or used in the form of essential oils.

There are several ways in which mosquitoes can be kept at a distance:
  • Planting pots with repellent plants: you can plant mint, basil, lemon or any of the above plants in pots to be placed in places of relaxation (by the pool, in the gazebo, by the grill). The leaves of the plants can be lightly crushed between the fingers from time to time, to give off the smell that keeps mosquitoes away;
  • Potpourri: the plants are dried and placed in bowls, which can be placed where there is activity. Run your fingers through them from time to time to activate the smell;
  • Scented bags: lavender or cloves are very suitable for this process. They dry and are used in cloth bags that can be hung in places where insects usually come;
  • In the washing machine: a few drops of lavender, lemon or mint essential oil poured into the washing machine, before squeezing will give the clothes a smell that will keep mosquitoes away;
  • In the fire: if you are in a tent and make a campfire, throw in some of the plants mentioned and their smell will act as a natural repellent;
  • In the aromatherapy lamp: eucalyptus, rosemary or lemon essential oils poured into the aromatherapy lamp will perfume the atmosphere and keep mosquitoes away.

Natural repellent from essential oils

Herbal essential oils can be used as a natural repellent, simple or in combination, diluted with water or other base oils.
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil: is one of the best known natural repellents, being used as an ingredient in chemicals found in stores. Make a 1:10 mixture of lemon eucalyptus oil and sunflower oil or with hamamelis water. The mixture obtained can be sprayed on the skin to keep insects away.
  • Lavender oil: lavender flowers produce a fragrant oil when crushed. This oil is very effective in removing mosquitoes and other insects, such as ticks and spiders. It can be used directly on the skin, on the areas that are usually targeted by mosquitoes: legs, arms, ankles. Due to the antiseptic properties of lavender, the oil also has a calming role for insect bites;
  • Cinnamon oil: this oil is very effective especially in removing the species of mosquito known as the Asian Tiger. Mix a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon oil with 120 milliliters of water. The mixture obtained can be sprayed on the skin, on clothes or in the atmosphere. Be careful, pure cinnamon oil can be irritating to the skin;
  • Thyme oil: this oil is just as effective when it comes to protection against mosquitoes as ticks. Mix 4 drops of thyme oil on each teaspoon of olive oil or jojoba, and the mixture obtained can be spread on the skin. For the sprayer can be prepared a solution of 5 drops of oil to about 50 milliliters of water;
  • Cat mint oil: this plant with white and pink flowers is known for the essential oil extracted from its leaves, which studies have shown can be 10 times more effective than chemical repellents;
  • Soybean oil: this oil has been tested in several laboratories and has obtained very good results in terms of removing several species of mosquitoes. It can also be used for children. For a more pleasant smell, it can be used in a mixture with lemongrass oil;
  • Citronella oil: lemongrass or citronella is often used in insect repellent products (sprays or scented candles). It offers very good protection against many species of mosquitoes, ants and spiders, but must be reapplied constantly because it evaporates quickly;
  • Tea tree oil: this very popular oil comes from Australia, where the tea tree (malaleuca) grows and is already known for its antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also effective against mosquitoes, flies and midges;
  • Neem oil: provides medium protection against mosquitoes and should be used with caution because it can irritate the skin. It is always used diluted in water or another base oil (olive or grape seed);
  • Peppermint oil: several studies have shown that this oil provides 100% protection for over two hours against the stings of certain species of mosquitoes, such as those that transmit yellow fever.

Combinations of these essential oils can be made, but they must always be diluted in water or base oils. The general rule is 3-5 drops of essential oil for every 30 milliliters of water or base oil.

The basic oils used can be olive, sunflower, almond, soy, coconut or grape seed. It is good to do a test on a piece of skin before applying it all over the body, because some essential oils can cause irritation.

These blends can also make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and should not be applied to wounds or scratches. The essential oil repellent evaporates faster than a chemical, so it must be reapplied frequently to maintain its effectiveness.

Other natural remedies against mosquitoes

In addition to plants with volatile oils that keep mosquitoes at the distance, there are others that can be eaten or used in various recipes.

  • Garlic: it is not liked by mosquitoes at all, so if you eat garlic or grind it and put it on the table, the mosquitoes will avoid you. A recipe often used by gardeners to sprinkle in garden playgrounds is a combination of hot peppers and garlic slices, soaked in mineral oil. The solution obtained is diluted with water and lemon juice and can be sprayed in the air to keep mosquitoes away;
  • Pepper: black pepper extract is effective against mosquitoes. Capsaicin, a compound found naturally in pepper, is not to the liking of insects.

Insects can therefore be kept away from plants and essential oils, which in some cases are more effective than chemicals found in stores. Plants such as lavender, geranium or citronella repel mosquitoes in particular, through the emanated scent. Mixtures of essential oils can be used on the skin and on clothes, carefully and always diluted, so as not to cause irritation.

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