Many people turn to store bought insect repellents to keep mosquitoes away from themselves and their dogs, but these insect repellents nearly always contain toxic pesticides that are dangerous to both human health and animal health.
Why expose yourself and your companion animals to toxic pesticides when there are so many more effective ways to keep mosquitoes away while using safe, healthy, natural ways?
The first step of course is to keep mosquitoes away so it is important to understand what attracts them. Mosquitoes like sweat, or rather, the lactic acid which is secreted through human sweat. Mosquitoes are also attracted carbon dioxide from the breath of both humans and animals, it helps mosquitoes locate their victims. Burning candles is another source of carbon dioxide, so make sure any outside candles contain citronella oil, which keeps mosquitoes away.
While the following should go without say, sometimes people are totally unaware that standing water in your yard, around your home is a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes. Just be aware to not leave open cans, cups or bowls outside where moisture could accumulate.
Natural Ways to Deter Mosquitoes
Plant Mosquito Repellent Plants
Most plants contain compounds that they use in preventing attack from phytophagous (plant eating) insects. These chemicals fall into several categories, including repellents, feeding deterrents, toxins, and growth regulators. Most can be grouped into five major chemical categories:
(1) nitrogen compounds (primarily alkaloids),
(4) proteinase inhibitors,
(5) growth regulators.
Although the primary functions of these compounds is defense against phytophagous insects, many are also effective against mosquitoes and other biting Diptera. There are a number of plants that have mosquito repellent properties – for example: thyme, citronella/geranium lavender and lemongrass are four of the most effective. Plant these in flower beds or containers around the yard and garden and keep mosquitoes away.
Bats can reportedly eat 1,000 mosquitoes per night. Attracting bats to your garden can help to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes and reduce your chances of being bitten.
While food is the dominant factor in the ability of bats to thrive in an environment, they do also require shelter. The type of shelter or nesting areas may differ by the type bats living in your area. Small insect-eating species tend to live in caves or in the hollow of a tree. Many species crowd very closely together, which can help them retain heat. Because they like to stay in enclosed spaces, many of them can be enticed to live in specially constructed bat houses.
One of the better known natural remedies for deterring mosquitoes is the use of essential oils.
You can make your own essential oil mosquito deterrents by combining any of the following oils: citronella, geranium, lemon eucalyptus, fennel, clove oil, thyme, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, and/or tea tree oil.
CAUTION: make sure you only use, pure, therapeutic/medical grade essential oils on your dog’s and your own skin.
Citronella: Essential oil of citronella contains compounds with high repellent activity, according to a research review published in 2010
Geranium: A study done by Donald R. Barnard and Rui-De Xue for the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, found that Geranium oil can repel mosquitoes for up to 3 1/2 hours and works best when combined with other oils.
Citriodora (Lemon) Eucalyptus: Several studies have shown that lemon eucalyptus based mosquito repellents are the most effective among their natural counterparts. The lemon eucalyptus oil must have a minimum of 70% cineole content (the active therapeutic ingredient) to be effective.
Fennel: A study in Seoul has shown that mosquito repellent that contained 5% fennel oil was still 85% effective after 90 minutes.
Clove Oil: Two studies have found that undiluted topical clove oil works against mosquitoes. However, it can be irritating to some so dilute before applying if you have any doubts.
Thyme: Although studies have shown that compounds (carvacrol and alpha-terpinene) contained in thyme can be more effective than DEET, it too can be “hot” or irritating some so again, may be best diluted with a carrier oil or in a blend. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3059459/
Essential oils are very complex. You see, plants are individuals and just as no two snowflakes look the same; every plant grows a little differently every time depending on the weather, soil, amount of nutrients in the soil and other natural factors. This creates subtle, but detectable variations in the chemical constituents of essential oils, so that no two oils from the same type of plant (for example – Lavender plants) are exactly alike in structure or effects. The wide variety of compounds in essential oils makes the mutation of parasites, viruses,, or bacteria extremely difficult! Just as soon as an organism tries to outsmart one of the oil’s constituents, its’s hit from the side with another, from the back with another, from the other side with another, and from the front again with another, and another. These different constituents have been found to render bacteria, viruses, microbes and even insects/parasites, defenseless.
Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest electrical/vibrational frequency of any natural substance known to man. Essential oil frequencies are several times greater than frequencies of herbs, foods and even the human body itself. Interested in learning more about the Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils that I have been using with, on and around my animals for 14 years now? Click Here
Information on this site and in the articles is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
A decision to use/not use this information is the sole responsibility of the reader.Â When one is dealing with a living, breathing organism, there are dynamics that come into play that cannot logically be covered in any one website or publication. Thus, the information provided here is for educational purposes and it is the ultimate responsibility of yourself or caretaker to make any decisions regarding the care of the person or animal.
Always consult with a health care professional or veterinarian about any serious disease or injury for yourself or your animal(s). Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe any natural substances, including essential oils, for serious health conditions that require professional attention.
A consultation is recommended before beginning on the natural health journey for your dog(s).