My toddler daughter is very tempting to mosquitos, and when she gets bit, she has an extreme reaction. One time last year, she got a bite on her temple and within twelve hours, the entire side of her face was so swollen she couldn't open her eye. Thankfully, most of her bites only result in a golf-ball sized welt and a few days of itching (followed by a few weeks of scab-picking that no Band-Aid can prevent). If you are prone to mosquito bites, you'll want to stock up on these natural mosquito repellents that work, because who has time to itch this summer?
Many natural remedies that repel mosquitos are essential oils, which are becoming more and more popular these days. If you don't have any, most likely you'll have a friend who will be happy to lend you some to try. Keep in mind that all essential oils that are used topically need to be diluted by mixing with a carrier oil, like canola oil or coconut oil. Otherwise the essential oil may be too strong and can irritate your skin.
If you usually can't sit outside without getting a bite or 10, take heed of this list of ways to keep them far, far away from you this summer.
1. Cinnamon Oil
Feel like getting to the root of the problem? WebMd wrote that "Cinnamon oil is an environmentally friendly way to kill mosquito hatchlings," according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. If they don't grow large enough to bite you, that's certainly keeping them away.
You'll want to use cinnamon essential oil to keep mosquitos from biting you, but if they do bite you, "cinnamon powder can heal the welts and bite marks caused by mosquitoes," 'according to Bed Bugs Bites. "Simply make a paste of cinnamon in a bit of water and apply it to the skin," the site further explained.
2. Tea Tree Oil
In addition to keeping mosquitos away, "tea tree can help beat the irritation from bites or stings," if the mosquitos have already found you, said the American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Thyme oil is known to be one of the most effective essential oils for repelling mosquitos, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. In addition, "research shows that crushed lemon thyme (Thymus X citriodorus) has 62 percent of the repelling activity of DEET," according to a study reported in BugOff.com.
4. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
In addition to DEET and picaridin, two chemical-based insect repellents, the Centers for Disease Control also recommended using lemon eucalyptus oil to deter mosquitos from biting. The did explain, however, that covering up all available skin is a good first step toward keeping mosquitos from nibbling on you.
5. Soybean Oil
The Mosquito Information Website said that a study by the University of Florida found that bug sprays with soybean oil can help repel mosquitos almost as well as traditional bug sprays.
Lavender might be the nicest smelling mosquito repellent in this list, although tea tree oil probably comes a close second. Do It Yourself explained that "the best results come when the plant's oil is applied topically to the skin," and can also encourage relaxation and sleep in addition to keeping mosquitos away. However, Healthline explained that crushed lavender flowers can also repel pesky mosquitos — all the more reason to get a fresh pot growing in your yard. Or, you could always try raiding that potpourri sachet sitting in your bathroom.
7. Catnip Oil
Who knew that catnip was useful for more than getting your feline friend high? Science Daily reported that "nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET." You and your cat could be very happy this summer.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
What can't apple cider vinegar do? Drink it, use it as shampoo, and even use it as mosquito repellent. The trusty The Old Farmer's Alamanac said that rubbing it on your skin can repel insects. "If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies." That might involve taking in quite a lot of apple cider vinegar, but it could be worth it!
You don't necessarily have to ingest or dab on mosquito repellents — some work just by growing in your yard. Marigolds are one such plant. USA Today reported that "the flowers' aroma not only repels mosquitos but also squash bugs and tomato worms." Neither of those insects are as annoying as mosquitos, but if you have a garden that would be an added bonus.